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Worship Resources - 17 February 2019

Worship Suggestions

Day of Prayer and Special Offering for World Conference

Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany, Ordinary Time (Proper 1)

LUKE 6:17–26

Listen to Jesus

Additional Scriptures

Jeremiah 17:5–10; Psalm 1; 1 Corinthians 15:12–20;

Alma 17:3; Doctrine and Covenants 162:1, 163:1

Discover World Conference - For information and resources to help prepare for World Conference 2019 visit www.CofChrist.org/2019-World-Conference


Prelude

Come!

Welcome

Hymn of Welcome

 “The Lord Be with You”      CCS 74

OR “All Are Welcome” (refrain only)         CCS 276

Invite the congregants to sing it through twice to learn the words and then have them continue singing it as they turn and greet one another with handshakes or clasps. Invite them to intentionally look into one another’s eyes as they express welcome to each other.

Listen!

Call to Worship

Doctrine and Covenants 162:1

Hymn of Invitation

“Called to Gather as God’s People”           CCS 79

OR “O God of Vision”           CCS 78

Invocation

Sung Congregational Response or Ministry of Music

“Jesu, Tawa Pano/Jesus, We Are Here”    CCS 71

Sing through at least twice, encouraging people to sing in a language other than their own.

Trust!

Responsive Reading

Leader:           Blessed are those who trust in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord.

Congregation: I will put my trust in you, O God.

Leader:           They shall be like a tree planted by water, sending out its roots by the stream.

Congregation: You are my stream of everflowing water.

Leader:           It shall not fear when heat comes, and its leaves shall stay green;

Congregation: Your Spirit fills me and leads me.

Leader:           in the year of drought it is not anxious, and it does not cease to bear fruit.

Congregation: I will not fear life’s challenges for your grace overflows.

—Jeremiah 17:7–8, adapted

Prayer for Peace

Light the peace candle.

Prayer

God, Creator of all life, the Source of sustenance for body, mind and spirit,

We acknowledge that we are but youths in our capacity to understand the scope and interconnectedness of all life. You ask us to hear your words and learn of you. Give us courage to put our trust in you first; in your Spirit that lives in and through all of life.

Your love whispers in our hearts and resounds through acts of justice and peace; testifying that those who put their trust in you shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day. May we steadfastly trust in the leadings of your Spirit as we seek to live our lives in mission of your love and peace. Amen.

—based on Alma 17:3

For more ideas, the Daily Prayer for Peace services offered at the Temple in Independence, Missouri, can be found on the church’s website as Calendar Events at www.CofChrist.org/daily-prayer-for-peace.

Learn!

Hymn of Preparation for the Word

“Holy Wisdom, Lamp of Learning” CCS 55

OR “Listen in the Silence” (sing at least twice)     CCS 153

OR “Blessed Is the Body and the Soul”      CCS 238

Sermon

Based on Luke 6:17–26

Respond!

Disciples’ Generous Response

DAY OF PRAYER AND SPECIAL OFFERING FOR WORLD CONFERENCE

Today we join with our brothers and sisters around the world as we uphold the 2019 World Conference in our prayers and through our offerings. 

This Sunday is set aside as a day of prayer and preparation. We shift our attention and set our intention to mindfully prepare for this worldwide gathering of people who claim Christ’s mission as their own. 

The offerings received today will help with the costs of Conference and provide online access to members and friends worldwide. 

Presiding Evangelist Jane Gardner shares this prayer of blessing with the church for the upcoming conference and for the offerings collected today.

Invite the congregation to use their Special Offering envelopes or write World Conference special offering in the memo of their check. Read the prayer of blessing as the prayer for the local and worldwide mission tithes. 

Option 2:

Generosity Statement

Generosity in response to Jesus Christ is a witness of faith and hope…it proclaims that I have confidence that God’s purposes are being fulfilled, and I want to be part of that fulfillment.

—President Steve Veazey, “Generosity and Sharing, Part II,”

Herald, February 2015, 23.

The six principles of a Disciple’s Generous Response help us grow into—and expand—our true capacity as faithful stewards who live generously:

Stewardship Principle 2: Respond Faithfully

When we faithfully respond to the ministry of Jesus Christ we become accountable to one another, God, and ourselves. Our response to God’s gifts of love and grace is to serve others and let generosity become part of our nature.

Faithfulness

As we respond faithfully, God calls us to follow Jesus Christ steadfastly in our love for God, self, and neighbors. Our actions and behaviors must display God’s grace and generosity. “Grace, as an expression of God’s freedom, cannot be found in rigid formulas. Anything that draws one toward God is grace, and every human response to God is a graced response” ([Chvala-Smith,] Understanding the Way, 53). As we learn to love like God, we grow in our capacity to express God’s grace and generosity in our relationships with others.

Disciples want to become generous as God is generous. Such generosity increases our giving beyond what the world defines as charitable.… Our generosity reflects who we are as disciples. Faithfulness and generosity are companions on the road to discipleship.

—excerpted from Stassi Cramm, ed., Choose Generosity,

(Herald Publishing House, forthcoming).

As you share financially through Mission Tithes, or if you give regularly through eTithing, please use this time to consider your commitment and how you will tithe to your true capacity of time, talent, and testimony.

Blessing and Receiving of Local and Worldwide Mission Tithes

For additional ideas, see Disciples’ Generous Response Tools at www.CofChrist.org/disciples-generous-response-tools.

Hymn of Sending Forth

“Christ’s Word to Us”          CCS 632

OR “Lord, Speak to Me”      CCS 179

OR “Oh, How Blessed Are the Poor in Spirit”       CCS 378

Benediction

Sending Forth

Doctrine and Covenants 163:1

Postlude

Sermon Helps

Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany Ordinary Time (Proper 1)

LUKE 6:17–26

Exploring the Scripture

Before this passage, in verses 12–16, we read of Jesus going up a mountain to pray followed by his calling of 12 disciples, who are named. Now Jesus comes down from the mountain to a “level place” (v. 17) or plain. With him are his disciples and a great multitude who have come from various places, some from great distances. Jesus had obviously gained a reputation for him to attract so many interested people. They come for two purposes: to hear Jesus and to be healed by him. Verses 18 and 19 indicate their hopes for healing were fulfilled. Not just a few, but all were healed.

Those who came to hear were not disappointed either. Verse 20 begins Jesus’ Sermon on the Plain. This has parallels to the more commonly referred to Sermon on the Mount described in Matthew chapters 5 through 7. Although some themes are common to both versions, and some of the text parallels Matthew, there are important differences in the final verses. In verse 20, Jesus pronounces, “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.” The “you who” construction sets the tone for the next two statements. The significant difference between the Luke and Matthew versions is the latter’s addition of “in spirit” to the poor. Some commentators see this as watering down the direct and provocative reference to the poor.

The next two declarations (v. 21) refer to those who are hungry and those who weep. They are strong examples of Jesus’ message of reversal. Here Jesus promises the hungry  will be filled and the weeping will laugh. This is similar to his “the last shall be first” (Matthew 20:16) understanding of God’s kingdom, where the greatest shall be least and the least greatest. Verse 22 continues in this tone by saying those who are hated and excluded will rejoice and leap with joy.

Verses 24 to 26 continue the pattern of reversal by declaring woe to those who benefit now from wealth and power for they will see a time when all that is taken from them.

These teachings of Jesus are scandalous, especially to those who benefit from the status quo. But here Jesus describes God’s kingdom, not the ways of the world. He declares good news to the poor (see Luke 4:18). He is saying to all who are victimized by the power systems of society that God’s ways are coming and those who oppress others will no longer have their way.

Jesus’ words of blessing are to all people. But it is the less powerful or those without power who see hope in his words. While Jesus teaches that God loves everyone, he makes it clear God will not allow any to oppress others. In this sense, God is seen to side with the poor, hungry, and oppressed. It is said that societies, including religious institutions, will be judged by how they treated the least among them. Wealth is of no significance unless all share it. Those who hoard for themselves will lose; what they have will be taken from them. This message is as important today as it was in Jesus’ day. We are called to generously share what we have with others. That is the essence of God’s will for all.

Central Ideas

  1.       Jesus’ ministry focuses on teaching and healing.
  2.       God’s kingdom offers blessing to those who are outside the power structures of society.
  3.       Those who take pride in place and possessions will be humbled.
  4.       Jesus’ disciples today are called to share generously what they have with those in need.

Questions to Consider

  1.       In what parts of your life have you experienced healing? How were you changed?
  2.       What do you learn from Jesus’ declarations found in Luke 6:20–26?
  3.       When have you experienced economic instability? How did it affect you?
  4.     In what ways does your congregation sense God’s call to live in the spirit of generosity?

Small-group Worship Suggestions

Sixth Sunday after Epiphany

Luke 6:17–26 NRSV

The Facilitator Notes provide an overview of Sacred Space and how to use the resource to best meet ministry needs. This is a must read for first-time users.

The weekly outline and handouts provide everything needed to plan and facilitate a scripture-focused Sacred Space gathering and includes additional options such as Thoughts for Children.


Gathering

Welcome

Prayer for Peace

Ring a bell or chime three times slowly.
Light the peace candle.

God, Creator of all life, the Source of sustenance for body, mind, and spirit,

We acknowledge that we are but youths in our capacity to understand the scope and interconnectedness of all life. You ask us to hear your words and learn of you. Give us courage to put our trust in you first; in your Spirit that lives in and through all of life.

Your love whispers in our hearts and resounds through acts of justice and peace; testifying that those who put their trust in you shall be supported in their trials, troubles, and afflictions and shall be lifted up at the last day. May we steadfastly trust in the leadings of your Spirit as we seek to live our lives in mission of your love and peace.

Amen.

Spiritual Practice

Dwelling in the Word/Lectio Divina

I will read a scripture aloud. As you hear the scripture breathe deeply. Calmly enter a state of silent listening. Try not to focus on the details. Simply listen and allow the words to wash over you. After a brief moment of silence I will read the scripture again. As you listen a second time, note any insights or impressions that come to you.

Read Luke 6:20–23 NRSV.

Then he looked up at his disciples and said:

“Blessed are you who are poor,
    for yours is the kingdom of God.
“Blessed are you who are hungry now,
    for you will be filled.
“Blessed are you who weep now,
    for you will laugh.
“Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets.

Pause and allow a brief period of silence.

Say: As you listen a second time, note any insights or impressions that come to you.

Read Luke 6:20–23 a second time.

Pause and allow a brief period of silence.

Read the following questions aloud and invite the group members to share their responses and reflections: How did it feel to let go of visually seeing the scripture and just listen, allowing the words to wash over you? What insights and impressions did you receive about this scripture? About blessedness?

Close with a brief prayer of gratitude for all that has been shared.

Sharing Around the Table

Luke 6:17–26 NRSV

He came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea, Jerusalem, and the coast of Tyre and Sidon. They had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. And all in the crowd were trying to touch him, for power came out from him and healed all of them.

Then he looked up at his disciples and said:

“Blessed are you who are poor,
    for yours is the kingdom of God.
“Blessed are you who are hungry now,
    for you will be filled.
“Blessed are you who weep now,
    for you will laugh.
“Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets.
“But woe to you who are rich,
    for you have received your consolation.
“Woe to you who are full now,
    for you will be hungry.
“Woe to you who are laughing now,
    for you will mourn and weep.
“Woe to you when all speak well of you, for that is what their ancestors did to the false prophets.

Today’s reading sometimes is referred to as the Sermon on the Plain. Jesus declares that those who are poor, hungry, grieving, and rejected are blessed and beloved in the kingdom of God. He condemns the rich and the comfortable. It is the sixth Sunday after Epiphany. As Jesus continues in ministry he becomes bolder in declaring God’s peaceable kingdom.

Jesus compares the crowd members, who are rejected by society for their low status, to Hebrew prophets. In doing so, Jesus names the crowd as a prophetic people. The difficult circumstances of their lives challenge the traditional ideas of the ruling class. These people do not suffer because of their own sins; they suffer because they have been exploited and sinned against. Jesus compares the rich and comfortable with false prophets who bring false ideas.

Jesus continually asks his listeners to consider that the peaceable kingdom of God favors those without power in society. This reading calls us to name the powerless in our own society as loved by God and to seek to relieve them of suffering and oppression. This reading also calls us to hear and see what the powerless can tell us about our society and where the problems are.

Questions

  1. In our own communities, whose voices, situations, or circumstances speak to uncomfortable truths?
  2. How can we model Christ-like compassion in responding to these voices?

Sending

Generosity Statement

“Faithful disciples respond to an increasing awareness of the abundant generosity of God by sharing according to the desires of their hearts; not by commandment or constraint” (Doctrine and Covenants 163:9). The offering basket is available if you would like to support ongoing small-group ministries as part of your generous response.

The offering prayer for Epiphany is adapted from A Disciple’s Generous Response:

Revealing God, May we always be generous. You have gifted each of us with boundless grace and unending love. May our response to that love and grace be humble service to others, and may generosity be part of our nature. Amen.

Invitation to Next Meeting

Closing Hymn

CCS 378, “Oh, How Blessed Are the Poor in Spirit”

Closing Prayer

Optional Additions Depending on Group

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