January 19, 2023

Fourth Sunday after Epiphany


Year A (January 29, 2023)

CALL TO WORSHIP   —based on John 12:32-36
We gather in the Name of Jesus, who said, “When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all people to myself.”
We will walk in the light and believe in the light, that we may be children of the light.
In our worship, may we be drawn to God by the power of his word.
And may we be lifted up by the power of the cross.

OPENING PRAYER
    We gather at the foot of your cross, Lord Jesus, to honor your Name, learn of your love, and seek strength and courage for the days ahead. Assure us, we pray, of your presence in our lives. Send your Spirit that it may dwell within and among us. And may this time that we spend together empower us to reach out to our neighbors, near and far. All this we ask in your holy Name. Amen.

PRAYER OF THE DAY
    We come into your presence to meditate on the height and depth and breadth of your love, O God. In your wisdom you brought into being that which was not. You ordered our universe and our planet, creating life and beauty. Ultimately, you made humankind in your image: assigning us the task of stewardship of your creation, and planting within us the seeds of wisdom. Yet we confused stewardship with domination and waste, wisdom with power and wealth.
    So in the fulness of time, you sent us one to return us to your path, and to show us your true image. In your Son, you taught us the lessons of service and unconditional love. And on the cross, you confounded the world’s understanding by showing us the true nature of divine wisdom.
    Through the life and death of Jesus Christ, we see that it is not the rich and powerful, but the lowly and simple-hearted who are the true heirs of your kindom. In our worship and in our daily lives, help us to learn your lessons. Though it seem as weakness and foolishness to those around us, fill us with your power and wisdom. Thus may we love more fully and serve more selflessly. All this we ask in the Name of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, God forevermore. Amen.

STEWARDSHIP
   —1 Peter 4:10
    In his first letter, the Apostle Peter said that we should serve one another with the gifts we have received from God, for God’s grace comes to us in an amazing variety of ways. Let us now offer our gifts in service to the church and the world.

THANKSGIVING
    We are grateful, O God, for all the paths of service that you have opened to us in our Savior Jesus Christ. Accept the gifts that we offer you this day. Use them to enrich our life together as a community and to help us reach out to our neighborhood and our world. We pray this in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

BENEDICTION
Go forth in the foolishness of the cross,
    for selfless love is the very wisdom of the Divine.
Go forth in the weakness of God,
    for God’s idea of power
        is stronger than human strength.
Go forth into the world
    knowing nothing but God’s grace,
        Christ crucified,
            and the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit. Amen.