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January 30, 2005 – 4th Sunday after Epiphany

                                                 RC/Pres: 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time

        Revised Common Lectionary Readings

        Micah 6:1-8

        Psalm 15

        1 Corinthians 1:18-31

        Matthew 5:1-12

Rejoice and Be Glad

*Call to Worship

Blessed, blessed are we!

The sound of this gift sings down the centuries

toward the humble people of the earth.

Blessed, blessed are we!

The Christ has gone up the mountain of life

and looks down upon us with grace,

loving us all in our ordinary efforts,

and hovering over our life in warmth.

Blessed, blessed are we!

This is our God

who showers us with encouragement.

Let us sing to the God of our salvation.

*Prayer of Invocation        

Come, loving Jesus, come and look upon us.

Join our lives here in ways that we can know.

Stand in our midst

with outspread arms of blessing

and move our hearts to hope,

that we may reach out and touch

the life of your Holy Spirit. Amen.

*Prayer of Confession       

We come before you as your church today,

O God.

We gather here in confession

as your witnesses in this place.

Forgive us if we have failed

to bring your blessing to the world,

leaving the people without the level of grace,

which we ourselves have received.

Silent reflection.

Forgive us, O God.

Do not hold your blessing from us

this day.

Forgive us if we have tried to make people earn

your blessing, Christ Jesus,

when you have given it so freely to us

while we were yet sinners.

Forgive us if the world sees us

as those who judge and condemn,

rather than those

who are saved only by your grace.

Silent reflection.

Forgive us, O God.

Do not hold your blessing from us

this day.

Forgive us if we have turned away

from your blessing,

holding our failings to us

as though your love

is less than Jesus showed to us

in costly life and death.

Silent reflection.

Forgive us, O God.

Do not hold your blessing from us

this day.

This we pray in faith. Amen.

*Words of Assurance       

We may fail in grace,

but God never does.

Nothing can separate us from the love of God,

except our own choice.

We are forgiven now.

Receive the blessing of Jesus Christ. Amen.

*Prayer of Thanksgiving   

Blessed be God forever,

for we are not condemned.

We are seen as part of the hope of God,

embraced in God’s future for the world.

Blessed be God forever,

for life is more promising than we have seen.

There will be joy ahead for ordinary people,

more than we could have dreamed.

For God is the loving parent and savior of us all.

Thanks be to God. Amen.

*Stewardship Thought      

I wonder whether most of us in the church rejoice and are glad when we hear the Beatitudes? I am sure that those who heard them first were filled with wonder and joy because what they heard was that they were blessed by God, that good things waited for them. How often have we used the Beatitudes as a sort of threat – this is the way you should live if you are to be blessed? Especially in the Matthean form, the Beatitudes are filled with good things for humble, struggling people, or even for those who have one attribute that is mentioned. We are assured of the gracious and comprehensive blessing of Christ who looked out on humble, struggling humankind and reminded it that our ordinary efforts are blessed of God. What good news for us all!

*Offertory Sentence                           

The giving of our gifts to God

is a sharing in the blessing of the world.

Let us bring our offering now.

*Offertory Prayer                                

Add your blessing to 

our offerings, O God.

Enhance all that we do with your goodness

and give to us a sense of returning your kindness as we serve others. Amen.

*Prayer of Intercession      

Into the center of the pain of the world,

pour your gracious blessing, Jesus Christ.

Where people are crushed

by the domination of others,

may they know their infinite worth to you.

Where they are starved

for all that life should bring,

fill them with your abundant life.

If they are bowed down under injustice,

lift up their heads in their every struggle.

When they are torn apart in war,

in violence or abuse,

make them whole

and bless them with peace in our time.

If they wait with longing

for forgiveness from old sins,

hold them in grace upon grace.

When the future is filled

with fear and confusion,

surround them with the assurance

of your faithfulness, O God.

For those we name before you this day,

we ask your special blessing.

The people pray.

We believe that, in you

there is all that the world needs for its salvation.

We believe,

even though our faith sometimes falters,

that you will never leave us alone

or condemn our small efforts

to be your people.

Receive our prayers this day,

O God. Amen.


Go in peace to bless

the humble people of the world in Christ’s name,

never doubting that this is the will of God.


And may the blessing of God rest on our heads,

the love of God flow deep into our souls,

and the truth of God set us free forever.


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