Liturgy: January 20, 2019

The Greater Northwest Area of the United Methodist Church is currently celebrating a “Crossover Year” in preparation of and response to General Conference 2019. As a part of that Crossover Year, churches and fellowship groups throughout the three conferences are joining in learning circles, reading Brian McClaren’s We Make the Road by Walking: A Year-Long Quest for Spiritual Formation, Reorientation, and Activation. I have decided to join some of my colleagues in preaching from the lectionary in this book over the course of the next year.

Call To Worship:

L: The Lord has come, proclaiming God’s good news: “Now is the time! Here comes God’s kingdom! Change your hearts and lives, and trust this good news!”
P: What would you have to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?

L: The Lord has heard you and has answered, “Come, follow me.”
P: Have you come to destroy us?

L: The Lord has revealed his reasons for coming: To bring relief to the suffering, to raise up the dead, to set free the possessed. The Lord has come to build up God’s kingdom.
P: I know who you are.

L: The Lord speaks with authority and power. There is hope and life in his words. Even the broken and the fallen hear his message.
P: You are the holy one from God.
All: Praise the Lord Jesus Christ!

Inspired by Mark 1:21-28

Confession and Assurance

Almighty God, like a nervous hostess we whisper to you in secret spaces, “We don’t have enough.” Our souls stand as empty as the vessels at the Wedding of Cana. We’ve used up all we have, all we can find, to make ourselves clean and presentable. But now we are empty and we know that we, alone, do not have enough. In this moment of silence, we confess our emptiness to you.

Moment of silent confession.

Like a nervous servant, who has searched every corner for something we haven’t used up, we are desparate. “Don’t send us out emptyhanded,” we beg. In this moment of silence, we confess our fears and apprehensions to you.

Moment of silent confession.

Like a skeptical headwaiter, we sip tentatively at what you offer. Could this extraordinary thing have been drawn from something as ordinary as a water jug? In this moment of silence, we marvel at the way you have filled the empty vessels of our souls.

Moment of silent confession.

In the most ordinary of places, Jesus Christ used the most ordinary of objects to bring forth an extraordinary miracle and revealed to the world that the best was yet to come. Likewise, Jesus Christ is bringing forth out of you the promise of forgiveness and the hope of salvation. Rejoice! The best is yet to come! You are forgiven! Amen!

Inspired by John 2:1-12

Prayer of Thanksgiving:

Like the guests at the Wedding of Cana, we have relished in the wonderful gifts you have offered us, God. We have rejoiced at your extravagant generosity. But the best is yet to come. These gifts we bring to your altar with open hearts just as you have drawn us in with your open arms. Inspire us, guide us, teach us, God, so that we might live in the fullness of your grace and glory. Amen.

Inspired by John 2:1-12

Blessing:

The doors to the celebration were thrown wide open, but the celebration does not end here. Let us throw our church doors wide open and go into the world praising the name of God our Creator, God our Savior, God our Spirit-guide. Amen.

Inspired by John 2:1-12

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