Order of Worship
Sunday, January 31, 2021
Fourth Sunday after Epiphany
Prelude Gather Us In
Introduction to the day
In Deuteronomy God promises to raise up a prophet like Moses, who will speak for God; in Psalm 111 God shows the people the power of God’s works. For the church these are ways of pointing to the unique authority people sensed in Jesus’ actions and words. We encounter that authority in God’s word, around which we gather, the word that prevails over any lesser spirit that would claim power over us, freeing us to follow Jesus.
In the Name of the Father and + of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Hymn There Is a Balm in Gilead ELW 614
There is a balm in Gilead
to make the wounded whole;
there is a balm in Gilead
to heal the sin-sick soul.
Sometimes I feel discouraged
and think my work's in vain,
but then the Holy Spirit
revives my soul again. Refrain
If you cannot preach like Peter,
if you cannot pray like Paul,
you can tell the love of Jesus
and say, "He died for all." Refrain
Don't ever be discouraged,
for Jesus is your friend;
and if you lack for knowledge
he'll ne'er refuse to lend. Refrain
Confession and Forgiveness
Blessed be the holy Trinity, + one God, whose voice is upon the waters, and whose mercy is poured out upon all people, whose goodness cascades over all creation.
Let us confess our sin, trusting in the abundant grace of God.
Silence is kept for reflection.
you search us and know us. You are acquainted with all our ways.
We confess that our hearts are burdened by sin –
our own sins and the broken systems that bind us.
We turn inward, failing to follow your outward way of love.
We distrust those who are not like us.
We exploit the earth and its resources
and fail to consider generations to come.
Forgive us, gracious God,
for all we have done and left undone.
Even before the words are on our tongues, you know them;
receive them in your divine mercy.
How vast is God’s grace!
Through the power and promise of + Christ Jesus, our sins are washed away and we are claimed as God’s own beloved.
Indeed, we are forgiven.
In the wake of God’s forgiveness,
we are called to be the beloved community
living out Christ’s justice and the Spirit’s reconciling peace.
Prayer of the Day
Compassionate God, you gather the whole universe into your radiant presence and continually reveal your Son as our Savior. Bring wholeness to all that is broken and speak truth to us in our confusion, that all creation will see and know your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.
First Reading Deuteronomy 18:15-20
Today’s reading is part of a longer discourse in Deuteronomy, an updating of the law for the Israelite community as the people wait to enter the promised land. Here Moses assures the people that God will continue to guide them through prophets who will proclaim the divine word.
The word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. (Ps. 111:10)
Second Reading 1 Corinthians 8:1-13
Paul is concerned about the way some Corinthian Christians use their freedom in Christ as license to engage in non-Christian behavior that sets a damaging example to other, impressionable believers. Christians have a responsibility to each other that their behavior does not cause another to sin.
The word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
Gospel Mark 1:21-28
Forces that would bring death and disease have taken hold of a man, yet they recognize Jesus and know what his power means for them. Jesus commands these forces to leave and people are amazed at his authority.
The gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, O Christ.
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.
Prayers of the People
Guided by Christ made known to the nations, let us offer our prayers for the church, the world, and all people in need.
A brief silence.
For all who share the gospel and proclaim freedom in Christ throughout the world: prophets, teachers, pastors, deacons, and lay leaders; for the church and its ministries, let us pray. Have mercy, O God.
For all God’s works in creation: plants and animals, water and soil, forests and farms; and for those tasked with protecting our natural resources and all that exists, let us pray.
Have mercy, O God.
For government and leaders: cities and nations, rescue professionals and legal aid attorneys, elected officials and grassroots organizers; for all responsible for the well-being of civil society, let us pray. Have mercy, O God.
For those who suffer in mind, body, or spirit: those who are sick and hospitalized, those living with HIV/AIDS, those struggling with mental illness, those who are hungry or homeless, and all in any need, particularly Alena, Jenna, Marilyn, Jerod & Julia, Nick, Julie, Jean, Marcella, Michael, JoAnn, Sandy, Beth, Johnny, Lorry & Allen, Betty, Dione, Theresa, Tim, Henry, Mary, Ann Joyce, Greg, & Shelby, for caregivers, hospice workers, and home health aides, let us pray. Have mercy, O God.
For the concerns of this congregation: those who travel, those absent from worship, those celebrating birthdays or anniversaries; for the people of God in this place and for other needs in our community, let us pray. Have mercy, O God.
For the covenant God made with us in the waters of baptism, in thanksgiving for the baptized who have died in the Lord, let us pray. Have mercy, O God.
Merciful God, hear the prayers of your people, spoken or silent, for the sake of the one who dwells among us, your Son, Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.
Good and loving God, we rejoice in the birth of Jesus, who came among the poor to bring the riches of your grace. As you have blessed us with your gifts, let them be blessing for others. With the trees of the field, with all earth and heaven, we shout for joy at the coming of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
And may the blessing of God, who is Father, + Son and Holy Spirit be upon you beloved of the Lord, now and forever.
Postlude God Be With You Till We Meet Again
Gather Us In Text and Music: Marty Haugen (b 1950) © 1982 GIA Publications, Inc. Reprinted and/or streamed with permission under OneLicense #A-722274. All rights reserved.
There Is a Balm in Gilead Text: African American spiritual; Music: African American spiritual; Public domain.
God Be With You Till We Meet Again. Text: Jeremiah E. Rankin (1828-1904), Music: William G. Tomer (1833-1896), Public Domain