Revealed to Us Prayers for the Second Sunday after Epiphany - January 15, 2012

January 15, 2012

1 Samuel 3: 1-1-, (11-20)    Psalm 139: 1-6, 13-18    1 Corinthians 6: 12-20,    John 1: 43-51

In each of these moments of epiphany, we find that no one is able to see themselves as God sees them. Nathanael was merely hanging out under a fig tree. Samuel was just lying on the temple floor. Only God sees what greater things will come with these servants. Indeed, God searches us and knows us better than we know ourselves.

Call to Worship (inspired by 1 Samuel 3:1-10)
Prepare list of 20-25 names that are familiar to your church community including prophets of old, community leaders and church members. Intersperse the names on the list so that Prophets, Leaders, Members are all mixed together.  (For example: Samuel, Nathanael, Martin, Malcolm, Philip, Andrew, Peter, Sue, Chelsea, Barbara, Jim, Joe, Coretta, Rosa, Maria, Amos, Paul, Howard, Micah, Grace, Charlie, Maggie, Mike, Ben.) After the prelude, enter into a time of silence. Dim the lights to evoke the feeling of night that Samuel experienced. Into the silence, have one miked person unseen by the congregation read these names to allow for each worshiper to wonder if she or he will be called. The reader may increase or decrease volume during the reading of these names. Conclude with a brief silence before the invocation.

Invocation
    Something made the hairs stand up on our necks. Was it you, O God?
    Was it you that we saw blowing over the water?
    Was it you that we heard moving through those feet?
    Was it you that we felt in the beating of our own hearts?
    Was it you that called our names?
    Come, O God. Come to search us. Come to know us again.
    We were knit in your womb. We have tried to count your works.
    Come, O God, so that we can hear you calling our names.
    Here and now.
   
Prayer of Confession
    Holy One, you have called us by name.
    You will not let us lounge in bed.
    You wake us up in the middle of the night to remember…
    (Invite the congregation to remember God's works.)  

    You will not let us hide under the tree.
    You summon us from the shade to be changed…
    (Invite the congregation to pray for those things that need to be changed.)  

    You will not let us bury our secrets within the earth.
    You unearth our fears and speak them aloud…
    (Invite the congregation to name their fears.)  
      Forgive us, O God, when we cannot speak.
    Reveal the words we need most.
    In Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.

Words of Assurance (inspired by Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18)
    Our God knows you by name.
    Our God knows what you fear.
    For you are fearfully and wonderfully made.
    In your name, God’s works are revealed again to us. Amen.

Freedom Songs
We hear the power of the civil rights movement revealed to us in song. Create a time for special music today where you can experience God’s works in the music of the movement. Some songs include:
•    We Shall Overcome (TNCH 570)
•    Lift Every Voice and Sing (TNCH 593)
•    Steal Away (TNCH 599)
•    I Want to Be Ready (TNCH 599)

Call for the Offering
God knows you by name.
God knows all that you can do.
God appears in your works for justice.
God is revealed in our hope for change.
Let us carry this spirit into our giving.
    Let us praise God with our gifts of tithes and offerings.

Dedication of the Offering
O God, you offer us wonderful gifts.
In these offerings, may we make for change that doesn't yet exist.
May we give it a name. May we move through our fears.
May we dare to call this hope wonderful, in the hope of Christ Jesus, we pray. Amen.

Benediction
    Send us, O God.
    Send us to search for your name.
    Send us to count your works.
    Send us to feel you calling our name.
    Send us, O God, into your dream.

Let Our Service Begin
The last thing in many church worship bulletins reminds us that "Our Worship has ended -- Now our Service begins." In that spirit, organize your congregation to continue their worship service through acts of community engagement. Use this website for ideas and tools:  http://mlkday.gov/.



Revealed to Us: Prayers for the Second Sunday after Epiphany was written by the Rev. Elsa A. Peters, an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, presently serving as Pastor and Teacher of the First Congregational UCC in South Portland, ME, an Open and Affirming congregation where God is still speaking. She wonders about ministry and liturgy at: http://impossiblethingswithgod.blogspot.com/.

Copyright 2012 Local Church Ministries, Congregational Vitality and Discipleship Ministry Team, United Church of Christ, 700 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, OH  44115-1100.  Permission granted to reproduce or adapt this material for use in services of worship or church education.  All publishing rights reserved. 

 Revealed to Us--Epiphany 2--January 15.rtf

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CONTACT INFO

Rev. Susan A. Blain
Minister for Worship, Liturgy and Spiritual Formation
700 Prospect Ave.
Cleveland, Ohio 44115
216-736-3869
blains@ucc.org