After Epiphany 5B – February 4
February 4, 2024
The Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany
Call to Worship
To whom can we compare you, O Holy One?
We lift up our eyes,
We wait upon the Eternal our God.
How good it is to sing praises to our God.
A song of praise is fitting!
Let us worship God together.
—from Psalm 147: 1-11, 20c and Isaiah 40: 21-31
*This Call to Worship could be structured antiphonally (back and forth between a leader and congregation. It could be shared between two sides of a worship space, such as the side of a pulpit and the side of a lectern, if the pews and chancel are divided. Or it could be voiced as a round, with three groups alternating the three lines of each stanza, and one beginning before the other has not quite finished, to create an echo of praise. The voices could be further divided by generation: the voices of elders, the voices of in-betweeners, the voices of young people.
Everlasting God, Creator of the ends of the earth, you who spread the heavens like a curtain, and make us a tend to live in, gather us in the shelter of your love, and renew our strength, that with wings as eagles we might not grow weary as we walk with you. We pray in the power of your Holy Spirit. Amen.
Prayer for Transformation and New Life
One/Presider: God invites us to come to worship as our whole selves: God offers us a new beginning day by day and week by week. Trusting in God, we pray for transformation and new life:
All: Holy One, we hope in your steadfast love, bringing our broken hearts and our wounded spirits. Make us aware of the hearts we break, the spirits we wound, of those we treat as outcasts, of those we tread down. Renew us in your grace, renew us in your strength. Amen.
Words of Grace
One: Have you not known? Have you not heard? God does not grow weary with us, but loves, forgives, and renews us. Go with renewed strength in your walk of faith.
All: Alleluia! Amen!
*In her book The Worshipping Body: The Art of Leading Worship, Rev. Kimberly Bracken Long, PhD (Presbyterian Church USA), encourages us to preside or preach not just from a pulpit or the center of the aisle or center of the chapel, but near the baptismal font and behind the eucharistic table. This allows us to use more of the worship space and it visually ties the pulpit to the font to the table—visibly joining word and sacrament. If you church is celebrating Holy Communion on the first Sunday of the month, consider leading the Prayer for Transformation and New Life and the Words of Grace from behind the table. You need not explain why with a long explanation: your movements and your presence can speak for themselves.
Invitation to Generosity
One: Our scripture this morning teaches that God builds up, lifts up, binds up, heals, covers, and shelters us. May the gifts that we bring and share extend these ministries.
Prayer of Thanksgiving and Dedication
Let us pray: Holy One, we bring our gifts and pray that they may be for the building up and lifting up of your people, for the binding of wounds and the healing of hearts, for shelter and for covering and clothing for those in need. With these gifts we offer our songs of praise as we hope in your steadfast love. Amen.
*This prayer can be offered by a pastor/presider; a congregational leader; a young person or elder, or in unison by the whole congregation.
May Holy One, Creator of the End of the earth,
Lift up your spirit, bind up your soul,
And renew your strength.
Go with hope in the steadfast love of God.
The Lifting: Service Prayers for the Fifth Sunday after Epiphany Year B was written by The Rev. Stephanie Perdew, PhD, Director, The Damascus Project, Shared Theological Education Ministry of the Wisconsin & Minnesota Conferences of the United Church of Christ.