United Church of Christ

Epiphany 4 - February 2

Teaching Wisdom
Service Prayers for the Fourth Sunday after Epiphany
February 2, 2020

Micah 6:1-8   Psalm 15    1 Corinthians 1:18-31    Matthew 5:1-12

Leader:Jesus, Teacher, your teaching surprises us!
People:Not the world’s wisdom, but God’s.

You move us with sorrow for the sorrow of the world
And make us strong through our tears.

You offer us humility to admit our failures
And plant seeds of hope in the ashes.

You make us hungry for justice
And give us food that lasts.

You invite us to practice what we preach
And offer joy in that challenge.

You support us in standing firm for truth, even when it costs
And promise the truth will make us free.

Opening Prayer

God of our lives,
to your Beloved Child:
you are always turning the world upside down,
calling us to follow you
into new ventures, new challenges, new ways to care,
new ways to touch the hearts of all.
When we get tired, or feel disappointed,
remind us that you can bring change and hope
out of the most difficult situations,
so that we may do justice, love kindness
and walk humbly with you always.

Amen.

Prayer of Confession

Leader:The world’s wisdom surrounds us:

Left side:
Look after number one…
Right side:Get them before they get you…
Better be safe than sorry…
What’s someone else’s problems got to do with me…?
Only the strong survive…
Money makes the world go ‘round…
Revenge is sweet…
Avoid pain at all costs…

May God forgive us when we, as Christ’s own people,
believe these words to be life-giving when Jesus has shown us a better way.

Assurance of Pardon

Blessed are those who recognize the wisdom of God,
and strive to shape their lives around its truth.
In Christ God forgives us and restores us to the way of trust and mercy.

Thanks be to God.

Call to Offering

God has led us to this place to heal and inspire us, to gently redirect us,
until we see the world as God does and love it with God’s love.
With our gifts, we affirm that God’s generosity
can make us all into a new creation by the way we give of ourselves.

Offertory Prayer

Liberator Christ, you went to the top of a mountain,
and taught a sacred word about the meek and the grief stricken,
about the lost and the lonely.
Come to this place now,
and by these gifts help us to see the world not as it is, but as it could be,
that we may become good news to all. Amen.

Benediction
As you have learned wisdom—go and teach!
As you have been fed, go to feed the hungry.
As you have been set free, go to set free the imprisoned.
As you have heard – proclaim.
And the blessing which you have received
from the Creator, Christ, and Holy Spirit
be always with you. Amen.

Teaching Wisdom: Service prayers for the Fourth Sunday after Epiphany were written by the Rev. Susan A. Blain, Minister for Worship and Gospel Arts, UCC.

Copyright 2020 Justice Local Church Ministries, Faith INFO 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.

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