1/27/19 3rd Sunday after Epiphany

Morning Prayer + 3rd Sunday after Epiphany

(Book of Common WOrship 2018)



The glory of the Lord is revealed in the reading of scripture. People stand at attention. People weep. People prostrate themselves in prayer. The unity of the church is another reflection of the glory of God. Most gloriously, the promises of God are fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ. Gather round. Listen up. Glimpse the glory of God.



This morning’s order of service is Morning Prayer. The Christian discipline of daily prayer goes back to the ancient Church practices, as well as the set times of prayer in Judaism. At morning prayer, we give thanks for the gift of new life in Christ and seek God’s grace for the day ahead. The Thanksgiving for Baptism highlights our common baptismal patter of daily prayer, with its rhythm of dying and rising with Christ. Also, the services of daily prayer in community may be led by any baptized member. For more on the importance of Daily Prayer and the Presbyterian understanding and practice, see the Book of Order’s Directory for Worship, W-5.0102.


Ordinarily, an offering is not received during Daily Prayer. Hence, the ushers will be in the Narthex (great entrance hall) to collect any tithes or offerings.


PRELUDE: Nicea- music by John Bacchus Dykes (1861), setting by Pepper Choplin



As a matter of hospitality, we invite everyone to fill out information in the red fellowship pad found on each pew at the center aisle and pass it down so everyone may be greeted by name during the passing of the peace. Written announcements can be found at the back of the bulletin.


Alleluia. The Spirit of the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor,

and to proclaim release to the captives. Alleluia.

Blessed Lord God, you have caused the holy scriptures to be written for the nourishment of your people. Grant that we may hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that, comforted by your promises, we may embrace and forever hold fast to the hope of eternal life, through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


*GATHERING HYMN #1    Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty!




The Lord be with you.

And also with you.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to give our thanks and praise.


We give you thanks, Eternal God,

for you nourish and sustain all living things

by the gift of water.

In the beginning of time,

your Spirit moved over the watery chaos,

calling forth order and life.


In the time of Noah,

you destroyed evil by the waters of the flood,

giving righteousness a new beginning.

You led Israel out of slavery,

through the waters of the sea,

into the freedom of the promised land.


In the waters of Jordan

Jesus was baptized by John

and anointed with your Spirit.

By the baptism of his own death and resurrection,

Christ set us free from sin and death,

and opened the way to eternal life.


We thank you, O God, for the water of baptism.

In it we were buried with Christ in his death.

From it we were raised to share in his resurrection,

Through it we were reborn by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Therefore, in joyful obedience to your Son,

we celebrate our fellowship in him in faith.


We pray that all who have passed through the water of baptism

may continue forever in the risen life

of Jesus Christ our Savior.

To him, to you, and to the Holy Spirit,

be all honor and glory, now and forever.


Friends, let us remember your baptism and be thankful.

In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit.



The peace of Christ be with you. And also with you.


*MORNING PSALM 95, HYMN #386        Come, Worship God



ALL SING # 487 These Treasured Children (verses 1 & 4)



FIRST READING: Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10

The exiles have returned and rebuilt Jerusalem. Now Ezra, the priest, reads the law of Moses to them in the public square. When they hear it, they weep for their sins and for the long years in exile, but Ezra reminds them that the joy of the Lord is their strength.


1All the people [of Israel] gathered together into the square before the Water Gate. They told the scribe Ezra to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the LORD had given to Israel. 2Accordingly, the priest Ezra brought the law before the assembly, both men and women and all who could hear with understanding. This was on the first day of the seventh month. 3He read from it facing the square before the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of the men and the women and those who could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive to the book of the law. 5And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was standing above all the people; and when he opened it, all the people stood up. 6Then Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God, and all the people answered, “Amen, Amen,” lifting up their hands. Then they bowed their heads and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground. 8So they read from the book, from the law of God, with interpretation. They gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.

9And Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the LORD your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people wept when they heard the words of the law. 10Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions of them to those for whom nothing is prepared, for this day is holy to our LORD; and do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”


The word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.


PSALM 19, HYMN #690       God’s Glory Fills the Heavens           


SECOND READING: 1 Corinthians 12:12-31a

The apostle and pastor Paul uses the metaphor of the human body to describe how intimately connected we are in the church. For this struggling congregation in Corinth, Paul delivers a vital message of unity that is a mark of the church today.


12For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

14Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15If the foot would say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16And if the ear would say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20As it is, there are many members, yet one body. 21The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23and those members of the body that we think less honorable we clothe with greater honor, and our less respectable members are treated with greater respect; 24whereas our more respectable members do not need this. But God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior member, 25that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. 26If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it.

27Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 28And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers; then deeds of power, then gifts of healing, forms of assistance, forms of leadership, various kinds of tongues. 29Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? 31aBut strive for the greater gifts.


The word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.


GOSPEL: Luke 4:14-21

Near the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry, he visits his hometown of Nazareth. In the words of Isaiah, he states and claims his identity, purpose, and mission.


14Then Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country. 15He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone.

16When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:

18“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,

because he has anointed me

to bring good news to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives

and recovery of sight to the blind,

to let the oppressed go free,

                19to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

20And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”


The Gospel of the Lord.

Praise to you, O Christ.


GOSPEL HYMN #757           Today We All Are Called to Be Disciples




What is your mission in life? What centers and directs your time and energy? Corporations, churches, and other organizations often carefully choose the words of a mission statement to articulate what orients their collective work. This particular church’s mission statement, for instance, is: “In response to the everlasting, boundless love and grace of God through Jesus Christ, Southminster Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) cares for all, and uses its diverse gifts to grow in faith and community through education, worship, music, and faithfully serves God and our neighbors throughout the world.”

Most individuals do not create a personal mission statement, but we may find ourselves drawn to certain ideas and phrases that speak to the values and hopes we seek to live out on a daily basis.


In today’s gospel, Jesus uses a passage from the prophet Isaiah to lay out the mission at the core of his ministry: he has come to release people trapped in captivity. Jesus does more than just speak these words. Throughout the Gospel of Luke, we see Jesus living them out through repeated encounters with people whose lives are transformed and set free by God’s unbounded grace. Many are trapped in others’ judgment and societal stigma. Jesus steps through such barriers and brings release. Through loving actions, he affirms the value and dignity of all people in the sight of God.


As followers of Jesus, we are called to share in his mission. In doing so we can expect to encounter Christ ourselves. As the Holy Spirit draws us together in worship, Christ comes to bring us good news and release, wherever we are bound. This freedom is given to us with a purpose: to enable us to find those in captivity around us and set them free. In the church, we are invited to ask ourselves: Who in our community is trapped by fear and hatred? Who is longing for release from stigma and judgment today? Wherever such captivity exists, we disciples of Christ are called to follow where our Lord leads so that all might experience the grace and love of God that sets us free.


*HYMN #306                         Blest Be the Tie That Binds




United as one body in Christ, let us pray for the church, the world, and all those in need.


A brief silence.


We pray for the church. Empower bishops, pastors, presbyters, deacons, teachers, evangelists, and all members of Christ’s body with your Spirit. Open our hearts to hear your word of life and respond in lives of service. Lord, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.


For the earth. For all creatures of the land, air, and water. Heal environments damaged by disaster or pollution. Make us wise stewards of all you have entrusted into our care. Lord, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.


For the nations. Liberate us from our captivity to fear and ways of violence. Free those who are unjustly imprisoned and those who are imprisoned for working for freedom. Give us vision to seek the pathways of peace. Lord, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.


For those in need. Rescue those who suffer abuse or neglect. Bring an end to hunger and greed. Accompany those who are alone or vulnerable. Comfort those who grieve and all who are ill (especially). Lord, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.


For this assembly. Bless those who proclaim your word and those who teach. Bless those whose talents are not recognized, and teach us to honor the gifts of all your people. Lord, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.


Here other intercessions may be offered.


With thanksgiving, we remember those who have gone before us in the faith. We especially commemorate this week: Lydia, Dorcas, and Phoebe; Angela Merici; John Scotus Erigena; Thomas Aquinas; Fyodor Dostoevsky; Eliphalet Nott; Mohandas Gandhi; John Bosco; Menno Simons; Marcella; Brigid of Ireland; and Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina.*Wipe away all tears and bring us with them into the joy of the resurrection. Lord, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.


Receive our prayers and fill us with the radiance of your love; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who taught us to pray:

Our Father

who art in heaven,

hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come,

thy will be done,

on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread;

and forgive us our debts,

as we forgive our debtors;

and lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom

and the power

and the glory, forever.


*SENDING HYMN # 301                  Let Us Build a House



The God of glory dwell in you richly,

name you beloved,

and shine brightly on your path;

and the blessing of almighty God,

the Father, the + Son, and the Holy Spirit,

be upon you and remain with you always.


Go in peace. Christ is your light.

Thanks be to God.


POSTLUDE: Kingsfold- English tune, first compiled in English County Songs (1893), setting by P. F. Tillen (2019)


NOTES: Order of service and content is in accord with the Presbyterian Church’s Directory for Worship. Prayers are from the Sundays and Seasons (Year B) and the Presbyterian Book of Common Worship (2018). Commemoration of Saints is from the 2018 Book of Common Worship, starting on pg 1145. Today’s meditation is reprinted and adapted from Words for Worship, copyright 2018 Augsburg Fortress. Used by permission of Augsburg Fortress.


From the Presbyterian Calendar of Commemorations:


27        Lydia, Dorcas, and Phoebe (Acts 16: 14– 15; 9: 36– 43; Rom. 16: 1– 2)- These three women were friends and co-workers of St. Paul. Lydia, a prosperous cloth-merchant and a person of means, was Paul’s first European convert, and provided support for the Paul and the Christian community in Phillippi. Phoebe was the patroness of the Christian community in Corinth; she housed and provided legal cover for the local church. Dorcas (Tabitha in Aramaic), was a revered disciple in Joppa who devoted herself to good works and acts of charity.

Angela Merici (1474-1540)- Italian nun and teacher, founder of the Company of St. Ursula, in which women dedicated their lives to educating girls. From this Company sprang the monastic Order of Ursulines, an order of nuns devoted to education.

28        John (Johannes) Scotus Erigena (c. 815– 877)- Irish theologian, philosopher, and poet.

Thomas Aquinas (c. 1225– 1274)- Italian Dominican friar, Catholic priest, and Doctor of the Church, philosopher, theologian, and jurist. His influence on Western thought is considerable, and much of modern philosophy developed or opposed his ideas, particularly in the areas of ethics, natural law, metaphysics, and political theory.

Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky (1821– 1888)- Russian novelist, short story writer, essayist, journalist and philosopher. Dostoevsky’s literary works, including Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, Demons, and The Brothers Karamazov explore human psychology in the troubled political, social, and spiritual atmospheres of 19th-century Russia, and engage with a variety of philosophical and religious themes.

29        Eliphalet Nott (1773– 1866)- American Presbyterian minister, inventor, educational pioneer, and longtime president of Union College, Schenectady, New York. As a scientist he studied heat and obtaining some thirty or more patents for applications of heat to steam engines, but was best known in his day as the inventor of the first stove for anthracite coal, which was named for him.

30        Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869– 1948)- Indian activist and leader of the Indian independence movement against British rule. Employing nonviolent civil disobedience, Gandhi led India to independence and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world.

31        John Bosco (1815– 1888)- Italian Roman Catholic priest, educator, and writer. While working in Turin, where the population suffered many of the ill-effects of industrialization and urbanization, he dedicated his life to the betterment and education of street children, juvenile delinquents, and other disadvantaged youth. He developed teaching methods based on love rather than punishment, a method that became known as the Salesian Preventive System.

Menno Simons (c. 1496– 1561)- former Catholic priest from the Friesland region of the Low Countries (Netherlands) who became an influential Anabaptist religious leader. Simons was a contemporary of the Protestant Reformers; his followers became known as Mennonites.

Marcella (325-410)- saint in the Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Church; known primarily for her role in the founding of monasticism. Marcella was a wealthy and fashionable Roman woman, who, after the death of her husband, adopted a life of abstinence and influenced many other women in Rome to do the same. She was a colleague and companion of Sts. Jerome and Paula.



1          Brigid [Bridgit, Brigit] of Ireland (c. 450– c. 525)- Brigid is one of Ireland’s patron saints, along with Patrick and Columba; she was an Irish Christian nun, abbess, and foundress of several convents. Her feast day, February 1, which was originally a pagan festival called Imbolc, marking the beginning of spring.

2          The Presentation of the Lord (Luke 2: 22– 39)- also called Candlemas, it is the commemoration of the presentation of Jesus at the Temple. It is based upon the account of the presentation of Jesus in Luke’s Gospel. In accordance with Leviticus 12, a woman was to be presented for purification by sacrifice 33 days after a boy’s circumcision. On Candlemas, many Christians bring their candles to their local church, where they are blessed and then used for the rest of the year.

Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (c. 1525– 1594)- Italian Renaissance composer of sacred music and the best-known 16th-century representative of the Roman School of musical composition. He had a lasting influence on the development of church music, and his work is considered as the culmination of Renaissance polyphony, the prevailing musical style of the time. In a polyphonic piece, two or more lines of independent melody happen simultaneously, as opposed to styles of other eras in which one melody occurs with a supporting accompaniment.


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