The Hands of Love

The Celebration of the Gospel
February 4, 2018 — Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany

   ________We Gather as the Body of Christ______

GREETING

PRELUDE   What a Friend    Charles C. Converse, arr: Brian Buda

[As we listen to the music we quiet our minds and bodies,
listen for our hearts’ deepest desires,
and become present to the Holy One who is lovingly present for us.
]

* CALL TO WORSHIP (adapted from Isaiah 40: 21-31)
[The writer wants to let the people of God in captivity in Babylon know that God loves them and saves them.]

Leader:  They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.
All:  Lord, we wait patiently in your presence.
God gives power to the faint and strength to those without power.
Lord, lift us up.
Make us strong.
Lord, help us walk.
You reach your healing hand to us,
that we might reach our hands to heal others in your name.
We who wait upon the Lord shall be renewed in strength.
Thanks be to God.

* SONG     Standing on the Promises   Blue hymnal # 374

____________We Attend to the Word__________

*OPENING PRAYER
Holy One, here we stand with the whole city gathered at our door. We know that there are many communities outside these walls longing for healing, health and hope. Remove the blinders on our hearts so that we might love and feel and ache with our neighbors. Let your loving compassion flow through our hands as we minister to others in your name.

(10:30) CHILDREN’S TIME

(10:30) THE WORD IN SONG      Zion’s Walls   arr: Mark Hayes

* PSALTER      Psalm 147:1-11
[The frequent use of the phrase “Praise the Lord” leaves little room to doubt there is good news that God will care for, restore, and renew God’s people.]

Clap your hands, all you peoples;
shout to God with loud songs of joy.
For Yahweh, the Most High, is awesome,
the great Ruler over all the earth.
God subdued peoples under us,
and nations under our feet.
God chose our heritage for us,
the pride of Leah, Rachel and Jacob, whom God loves.
God has ascended to the throne with a shout,
with the sound of a trumpet.
Sing praises to God, sing praises;
sing praises to our Sovereign, sing praises.
For God rules over all the earth;
sing praises with a psalm.
God rules over the nations;
God sits on the throne of holiness.
Leaders of the world gather
as do the people of Sarah and Abraham’s God.
For all then powers of the earth belong to God;
God is highly exalted.
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NEW TESTAMENT READING     1 Corinthians 9:16-23
[ Paul argues that his responsibility to preach the Gospel is not his boasting. In bringing the Gospel to all people, it is his integrity in Christ that allows him to “become all things to all people.”]

If I proclaim the gospel, this gives me no ground for boasting, for an obligation is laid on me, and woe to me if I do not proclaim the gospel! For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward; but if not of my own will, I am entrusted with a commission. What then is my reward? Just this: that in my proclamation I may make the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my rights in the gospel.

For though I am free with respect to all, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though I myself am not under the law) so that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law) so that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, so that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that I might by all means save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, so that I may share in its blessings.
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GOSPEL        Mark 1:29-39
[Like the angels who minister to Jesus in the wilderness, Peter’s newly healed mother-in-law ministers to Jesus within her home.  Her ministry to him sends him to heal those waiting outside the door – the sick, the lost, the lonely and the least of society.]

As soon as they left the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told him about her at once. He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up. Then the fever left her, and she began to serve them.

That evening, at sundown, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons. And the whole city was gathered around the door. And he cured many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him. In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. And Simon and his companions hunted for him. When they found him, they said to him, “Everyone is searching for you.” He answered, “Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do.” And he went throughout Galilee, proclaiming the message in their synagogues and casting out demons.
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SERMON     [Dr. Elizabeth Windsor, Director of Faith Formation]

SONG      Jesu, Jesu    Blue Hymnal #432

THE PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE
[Anyone who wishes may share a prayer concern at the microphone.]
THE PRAYER OF JESUS
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name.
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

SHARING THE PEACE OF CHRIST

______We Are Sent in Ministry to the World_____

OFFERING OUR GIFTS    Be Thou Near Me   J. S. Bach
                                                                                                                                                    
*  OFFERING SONG   Doxology   Blue hymnal  # 94

*  PRAYER
Gracious God, we give you our lives, symbolized in these gifts.  Receive them with love, bless them with grace and use them according to your will.  You heal us by your grace; now send us out to heal, in the name of Christ and the grace and power of your Spirit. Amen.

THE LIFE OF THE CHURCH IN THE WORLD

*SONG    Wounded World that Cries for Healing   Black Hymnal #2177
*  THE BLESSING AND SENDING FORTH
RESPONSE    We stand and sing to our neighbors:
May the grace and peace of Christ be with you my friends.
Go and share the love of God, love that never ends.

POSTLUDE   A Mighty Fortress    arr: J. David Hart

[During the postlude there are people ready to pray with you at the candles in the corners.]

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