ZION UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST
22 Gettysburg Street Box 538
Fifth Sunday after Epiphany
February 7, 2021
Live stream link: Zion UCC Sunday Service Livestream – February 7 2021
Welcome to Zion and a special welcome to our visitors in these days of adjusting to a new normal in worship. Because of the continuing concerns for the spread of the covid-19 virus, we have chosen to live stream our worship services, suspending in- person worship until we gain a clearer picture of how to gather together in the sanctuary to worship safely. These are difficult times and even with the hope for a vaccine in the near future, it will be some time before enough people have the vaccine in order to effectively control covid-19. We ask for your patience and understanding and your faithful support of the church in these days of a new normal for all of us. Let us continue to pray and to remain faithful, knowing that our God continues to reach out and to embrace us. We sometimes need to be reminded that our God promises to be near to us in the most difficult days as well as the days when life seems easy for us.
As you follow along in the bulletin during live stream worship, please participate quietly when you come to the bold print.
“Psalm XX” (Homage to Benedetto Marcollo), Gordon Young, ©1983 The Sacred Music Press
Isabelle S., organist
TIME OF SHARING
CALL TO WORSHIP
I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the desolate pit, out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD.
PRAYER OF INVOCATION
Sometimes, Lord, we feel so crowded by the world around us:
so many responsibilities demanding our time;
so many voices vying for our attention;
so many ideologies competing for our allegiance.
It’s good to come aside for awhile,
to rejuvenate, to refresh, to restore,
to rest in the knowledge of your grace.
GATHERING HYMN “Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise”
Printed with permission under license CCLI #1149146
Immortal, invisible, God only wise,
In light inaccessible hid from our eyes,
Most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,
Almighty, victorious, thy great name we praise.
Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light,
Nor wanting, nor wasting, thou rulest in might:
Thy justice like mountains high soaring above;
Thy clouds, which are fountains of goodness and love.
To all, life thou givest, to both great and small.
In all life thou livest, the true life of all.
We blossom and flourish like leaves on the tree,
Then wither and perish; but naught changeth thee.
Thou reignest in glory; thou dwellest in light.
Thine angels adore thee, all veiling their sight.
All praise we would render; O help us to see
‘Tis only the splendor of light hideth thee!
TIME OF CONFESSION
Come away from your pretensions to examine your relationship with God.
Break away from your illusions of independence
to realize your responsibility in the Church.
Claim your unity in Christ with all God’s children.
Then realize how much you need to confess brokenness and seek healing.
Holy God, who calls us to be your loyal followers,
forgive us if we have served you only when it was convenient,
only among those with whom we were comfortable,
only in matters that were not controversial,
and only in situations that were entirely safe.
Help us to be instruments of your peace and purpose,
regardless of the cost, following the example of Jesus Christ.
And now let us confess in silence those fears that keep us from loving as Christ has loved us.
“There is a Balm in Gilead”, traditional spiritual, public domain
ASSURANCE OF FORGIVENESS
Every community of faith is known to God, whose understanding is unlimited.
The One who knows our hearts is eager to forgive the truly penitent
and to empower those who have grown weary.
Your strength is being renewed in these moments.
You will mount up with wings like eagles.
You will run and not be weary.
You will walk and not faint.
Thanks be to God for this magnificent gift of love.
THE GIVING OF OURSELVES AND OUR OFFERINGS
Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much.
(For the time being we would ask you to mail your offering to Zion United Church of Christ, PO Box 538, Arendtsville, Pennsylvania 17303, or to use the Electronic Funds Transfer option which is available by contacting the church office. Your ongoing support of the church is deeply appreciated in these days.)
PRAYER OF DEDICATION
We intend, Lord, for these tithes and offerings
to be a symbol of our overall faithfulness to you,
for they represent just a small part of our total commitment
of body, soul, mind, time, and talents.
Fred M., soloist
OLD TESTAMENT LESSON FOR THE MORNING
Isaiah 40: 21-31
40:21 Have you not known? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?
40:22 It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to live in;
40:23 who brings princes to naught, and makes the rulers of the earth as nothing.
40:24 Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown, scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth, when he blows upon them, and they wither, and the tempest carries them off like stubble.
40:25 To whom then will you compare me, or who is my equal? says the Holy One.
40:26 Lift up your eyes on high and see: Who created these? He who brings out their host and numbers them, calling them all by name; because he is great in strength, mighty in power, not one is missing.
40:27 Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, “My way is hidden from the LORD, and my right is disregarded by my God”?
40:28 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.
40:29 He gives power to the faint and strengthens the powerless.
40:30 Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted;
40:31 but those who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.
EPISTLE LESSON FOR THE MORNING
I Corinthians 9: 16-23
9:16 If I proclaim the gospel, this gives me no ground for boasting, for an obligation is laid on me, and woe to me if I do not proclaim the gospel!
9:17 For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward; but if not of my own will, I am entrusted with a commission.
9:18 What then is my reward? Just this: that in my proclamation I may make the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my rights in the gospel.
9:19 For though I am free with respect to all, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I might win more of them.
9:20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though I myself am not under the law) so that I might win those under the law.
9:21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law) so that I might win those outside the law.
9:22 To the weak I became weak, so that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that I might by all means save some.
9:23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, so that I may share in its blessings.
GOSPEL READING FOR THE MORNING
St. Mark 1: 29-39
1:29 As soon as they left the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John.
1:30 Now Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told him about her at once.
1:31 He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up. Then the fever left her, and she began to serve them.
1:32 That evening, at sundown, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons.
1:33 And the whole city was gathered around the door.
1:34 And he cured many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.
1:35 In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed.
1:36 And Simon and his companions hunted for him.
1:37 When they found him, they said to him, “Everyone is searching for you.”
1:38 He answered, “Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do.”
1:39 And he went throughout Galilee, proclaiming the message in their synagogues and casting out demons.
SILENT PRAYER AND PREPARATION
“Break Now the Bread of Life”, public domain
THE MESSAGE FOR THE MORNING
PASTORAL PRAYER AND THE LORD’S PRAYER
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 sins
As we forgive those who sin against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom,
And the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.
CLOSING HYMN “Called as Partners in Christ’s Service”
Printed with permission under license CCLI #1149146
Called as partners in Christ’s service, called to ministries of grace,
We respond with deep commitment fresh new lines of faith to trace.
May we learn the art of sharing, side by side and friend with friend,
Equal partners in our caring to fulfill God’s chosen end.
Christ’s example, Christ’s inspiring, Christ’s clear call to work and worth,
Let us follow, never faltering, reconciling folk on earth.
Men and women, richer, poorer, all God’s people young and old,
Blending human skills together gracious gifts from God unfold.
Thus new patterns for Christ’s mission, in a small or global sense,
Help us bear each other’s burdens, breaking down each wall or fence.
Words of comfort, words of vision, words of challenge, said with care,
Bring new power and strength for action, make us colleagues free and fair.
So God grant us for tomorrow ways to order human life
That surround each person’s sorrow with a calm that conquers strife.
Make us partners in our living, our compassion to increase,
Messengers of faith, thus giving hope and confidence and peace.
COMMISSION AND BENEDICTION
As you leave this house of worship and continue your journey, may you find shelter from life’s storms, refreshment in life’s meadows, contentment amid life’s providences, challenge at life’s opportunities, and the peace of God at all times and places.
“Holy, Holy, Holy”, public domain
Isabelle S., organist
“Postlude on ‘Italian Hymn’, E. Broughton, F. de Giardini, ©2013, Lorenz Publishing Company
Office hours are limited; please call the office before stopping by.
Coming Up This Week:
Feb. 7 Live stream Worship 9:00 a.m.
Sunday School Zoom 10:30 a.m.
Feb. 14 Live stream Worship 9:00 a.m.
Sunday School Zoom 10:30 a.m.
Feb. 17 Live stream Ash Wednesday service 7:00 p.m.
Happy Birthday to Connie M. who celebrates her 75th birthday on February 8th! And Happy Birthday to Kitty M. who celebrates her 90th birthday on February 9th!
Pastoral Care: If you would like a visit from George, please contact him and let him know a convenient time.
Prayer Requests: Don’t forget to send your prayer requests via email to the church office by Friday evening to have them included in the Sunday service.
Summer Camping Opportunity This Summer: The Penn Central Conference is partnering with the LCC (Lutheran Camping Corporation) and the Lower Susquehanna Synod of the Lutheran Church to offer summer camp opportunities close to home at Camp Nawakwa. If you have fond memories of camps at The Hartman Center, you may be interested. There is an open house at Nawakwa on March 21 or April 11. Please see this link for more information: Summer Camp Open House at Kirchenwald & Nawakwa; March 21 & April 11; 2-4:30 p.m.