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Fourth Sunday After The Epiphany

Lectionary Worship Workbook
Series IV, Cycle B
Call To Worship
A central theme this week is the power and authority of God's Word.

Leader: Your word, O Lord, is a lamp unto our feet,
People: And a light unto our paths.
Leader: Your word is eternal;
People: Standing firm in your heavens.
Leader: We can depend on it always.
People: We can take our stand on it.
Leader: We can base our lives on it.
People: Your faithfulness continues in every generation.
Leader: Your promises are for each of us.
People: Always.
Leader: So we raise to you our praises.
People: We exult you above all others.
Leader: Come, let us worship God.
People: Amen.

How about one that just praises God?
Leader: Allelu!
People: Praise!
Leader: Yah!
People: God!
Leader: Allelu-yah
People: Praise God!
Leader: Let's do it, for the Lord is good.
People: Alleluia
Leader: The Lord is great!
People: Alleluia
Leader: God is great indeed.
People: Alleluia!

Psalm 111 is a marvelous psalm of praise. Begin a joyful worship by having it read dramatically by several readers.
Reader 1: Praise the Lord!
Reader 2: I will extol the Lord with all my heart.
Reader 3: I will do it in the midst of the people.
Reader 1: Great are the works of the Lord;
Reader 2: They cause wonderment in all who ponder them.
Reader 3: Glorious and majestic are God's deeds, and God's righteousness endures forever,
Reader 1: Along with his gracious compassion.
Reader 2: God provides food for those who fear him;
Reader 3: And remembers his promises forever.
Reader 1: The works of God's hands are faithful and just;
Reader 2: All his precepts are trustworthy.
Reader 3: They are steadfast forever.
Reader 1: Holy and awesome is his name.
Reader 2: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
Reader 3: All who follow his precepts have good understanding.
All 3 Readers: Let us praise God. Amen!

Prayer Of Confession
Confessions on the topic of how we respond to the Word.
Leader: Your Word is true.
People: Ours is skewed.
Leader: Your Word is love.
People: Ours is self-justifying.
Leader: Your Word builds up.
People: Ours tears down.
Leader: Your Word is always the same.
People: Ours is sometimes two-faced.
Leader: Lord, forgive us for using a most precious gift
People: To promote hatred
Leader: And division,
People: Rather than love and healing.
Leader: Help us change.
People: Help us speak as you speak.
Leader: In Jesus' name we ask. Amen.

Another approach to the Word.
Leader: For ignorance of your Word, O Lord,
People: We beg forgiveness.
Leader: For knowing more of the world than of you,
People: We are full of regrets.
Leader: For knowing more of Will and Grace than of Matthew and Mark,
People: We repent.
Leader: Father, forgive us for trying to live in your glorious creation without knowledge of you, the creator,
People: Fill our hearts with an ache
Leader: That can only be relieved by the medicine of your Word.
People: We ask it in the name of Jesus. Amen.

One last approach deals with the fact that a major reason for ignorance of the Word is busyness.
Leader: A typical "to do" list: People: Finish report for the boss;
Leader: Billy to the doctor;
People: Susie to her soccer game;
Leader: Dance lessons for Dana;
People: Aerobics class for Mom;
Leader: A big meeting at the office;
People: Committee meeting at church;
Leader: Clean the house;
People: Do the shopping;
Leader: Landscape the yard;
People: Scout meeting;
Leader: Dinner with the Smiths;
People: Lots of other stuff ...
Leader: So, the question is, "Who is running our lives?"
People: Gracious God, forgive us
Leader: For allowing the world,
People: And the things of the world
Leader: To rule us.
People: Strengthen us,
Leader: That we might break free of the inner compulsion to keep up with everyone else.
People: So that we might keep up with you instead.
Leader: We ask it in the name of Jesus Christ,
People: Our Lord. Amen.

Assurance Of Pardon
Leader: We seek forgiveness all the time.
People: And God grants it like a rich father who spoils his children.
Leader: God is to be praised for this mercy.
People: Yes, God is greatly to be praised.
Leader: But let us not stop with thanks, let's also change.
People: Yes, let's change,
Leader: To better conform to the image of God in each of us.
People: And let's begin the change
Leader: By better acquainting ourselves with God's Word.
People: Amen.

Prayer For Illumination
You could simply use the reading from Mark today to lead into a prayer of illumination.
Introduction to the prayer:

Mark tells us in Mark 1:21-22: "Jesus and the disciples went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law."

Let us pray: Jesus, teach now with the same power and authority that smote the hearts of those in Capernaum 2,000 years ago. Smite our hearts. Give us the same sense that we are hearing the deep truths of the cosmos being spoken as the words of scripture are read and preached to us this morning. Amen.

Another creative option might be to use the Amy Grant song "Thy Word" to sing your way into the reading of scripture. The chorus can be found in many hymnals today. It is based on Psalm 119, and the chorus consists of a single line: Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. Just have someone lead the congregation in singing it five or six times as a prayer.

Pastoral Prayer
Let us pray: Lord, if there were one gift I could give my sisters and brothers in Christ, it would be a love for and respect of your Word. As the Word set fire to the hearts of the disciples walking along the road to Emmaus, I pray that we become so hungry for it that we cannot but read, and that in our reading our hearts be set ablaze as theirs were. A daily dose of your Word not only lights the way but adjusts the attitude; not only provides nuggets of truth but gives proper perspective; not only draws us close to you, but increases the abundance of the spirit out of which we live. May your Word minister to us each this week in the very places in which we find ourselves.

We ask in the name of the one who is the Word of God incarnate, Jesus Christ. Amen.

God's Word is life indeed. May we store it up within ourselves, that we will overflow with truth not so much in our speaking, as in our living. Amen.


A Glory Guilds The Sacred Page

According To Thy Gracious Word

Bible Stands, The

Break Thou The Bread Of Life

Christ In His Word Draws Near

Come, Divine Interpreter

Faith In The Word Of God

Fed Upon The Finest Of The Wheat

God's Word Is Like A Flaming Sword

His Words Are True

Holy Bible, Book Divine

How Firm A Foundation

Lamp Of Our Feet

Lord, Speak To Me

O Word Of God Incarnate

O How I Love Thy Holy Word

Standing On The Promises

Thy Word

Thy Word Sheds Light Upon My Path

Wonderful Words Of Life

Contemporary Choruses

I Will Call Upon The Lord, Michael O'Shields

More Precious Than Silver, Lynn DeShazo

Potter's Hand, The, Darlene Zschech

Other Music

Take You at Your Word, Avalon
In this song we are challenged to take God at his word.

Thy Word, Amy Grant
You might have someone sing this whole song based on Psalm 119.

In addition to the lectionary resources there are thousands of non-lectionary, scripture based resources...
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Epiphany 2 (OT 2)
28 – Sermons
110+ – Illustrations / Stories
32 – Children's Sermons / Resources
25 – Worship Resources
31 – Commentary / Exegesis
4 – Pastor's Devotions
and more...
Epiphany 3 (OT 3)
20 – Sermons
110+ – Illustrations / Stories
26 – Children's Sermons / Resources
21 – Worship Resources
33 – Commentary / Exegesis
4 – Pastor's Devotions
and more...
Epiphany 4 (OT 4)
34 – Sermons
120+ – Illustrations / Stories
35 – Children's Sermons / Resources
23 – Worship Resources
29 – Commentary / Exegesis
4 – Pastor's Devotions
and more...
Epiphany 5 (OT 5)
34 – Sermons
100+ – Illustrations / Stories
30 – Children's Sermons / Resources
26 – Worship Resources
27 – Commentary / Exegesis
4 – Pastor's Devotions
and more...
Plus thousands of non-lectionary, scripture based resources...
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