Epiphany 2 – Year B, January 17, 2021

Revealed to Us
Prayers for the Second Sunday after Epiphany
January 17, 2021

Since Congregations are returning to “in-person” services at different paces, Worship Ways for will be edited for online use.  “Rubrics” for virtual services will be noted in red;  take and adapt as you need!

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.) Enter into a time of silence. Evoke the feeling of night that Samuel experienced. Into the silence, have one person 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

Leader should speak the lines of the people, along with the Leader’s lines
Something made the hairs stand up on our necks. Was it you, O God?
  People:         Out loud, but muted
Was it you that we saw blowing over the water?

Was it you that we heard in those steps?
  People:         Out loud, but muted
Was it you that we felt in the beating of our own hearts?

Was it you that called our names?
  People:         Out loud, but muted
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.
  People:         Out loud, but muted
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.

Scripture, Sermon, Prayers of the People
Notes for the worship planners in 2021:
Consider a 
simple message or even an  interactive Bible Study that engages people with the Scriptures for today.

  •  For the Prayers of the People, you might use a bidding prayer (“God, we pray today for those who are sick, including ….”) and encourage folk to type in their prayers using Zoom chat or Facebook Live; allow for more time in silence for those prayers to be typed and read. Consider a collective response at the end of each bidding prayer.
  • A caution regarding prayers of the People online: Folks gathered in-person often recount a lot of detail in their prayers concerning other members or family (“Elderly Name, living alone, experiencing isolation…”  In  a private, in-person gathering, this information may be safe, but online, it can expose vulnerable people to harm, since we can’t control who will join the gathering or access it later online.  Invite people to be prudent in offering prayers:  “For First name only, in need of healing”; “For First name only, comfort in grief”  etc. 

Encourage people to contact the pastor directly with news of those needed extra pastoral care.

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.

Revealed to Us: Prayers for the Second Sunday after Epiphany was written by the Rev. Elsa A. Cook, an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, a budding spiritual director and wandering interim minister. She writes liturgies and shares her thoughts on cookingwithelsa.org.

Copyright 2020 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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