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GATHERING BEFORE GOD
January 25, 2015
Third Sunday of Epiphany

PRELUDE

GREETING AND PREPARATION

Leader: The Lord be with you. 
People: And also with you!

CALL TO WORSHIP

Leader: Come, let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker.
People: For He is the Lord, our God, and we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand.

Leader: Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness; let the whole earth stand in awe of Him.
People: For He comes to judge the world; he will judge the world in righteousness, and the peoples in His truth.

 - From Psalm 95 & 96

PRAYER OF INVOCATION


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COME THOU FOUNT

Come, thou Fount of every blessing,
tune my heart to sing Thy grace.
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise His mount! I'm fixed upon it,
mount of Thy redeeming love.

Here I raise mine Ebenezer;
hither by Thy help I'm come;
and I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
interposed His precious blood.

O to grace how great a debtor,
daily I'm constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
prone to leave the God I love;
Here's my heart, O take and seal it,
seal it for Thy courts above.


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AMAZING GRACE (MY CHAINS ARE GONE)

Amazing grace
How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now I'm found
Was blind, but now I see

'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed

CHORUS
My chains are gone
I've been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy reigns
Unending love, amazing grace


The Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures

CHORUS (x2)

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow
The sun forbear to shine
But God, Who called me here below,
Will be forever mine.
Will be forever mine.
You are forever mine.


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CALL TO CONFESSION

Leader: God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.

- John 3:16, NRSV

PRAYER OF CONFESSION

People: Almighty Father, you have called us to be your people and have made us one body, yet we do not live as such. We do not love each other as we should. Jealousy grips us and we fail to look out for others interests above our own. Conceit grips us and we fail to associate and care for those different from ourselves. Forgive us our offenses, Father, and subdue everything in us that is contrary to your purpose. By the power of your Spirit make us a community that reveals the acceptance, kindness and love found only in you. Amen.

SILENT CONFESSION

WORDS OF PARDON

Leader: The Lord God said: A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. Hear the good news: Through Christ, our minds and hearts are cleansed, healed, and renewed!

- Ezekiel 36:26 NRSV

SONG OF RESPONSE - GLORIA PATRI  

Glory be to the Father, Glory be to the Son
Glory be to the Spirit Three in One
As it was in the beginning it will be forever. Amen. 
Amen. Amen.
(REPEAT)

PASSING THE PEACE


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BAPTISM 

PRESENTATION AND VOWS     
Alden Dunleavy

Minister: You stand before us having brought your child to receive the sacrament of baptism. I ask you, therefore, before God and Christ’s church, to reject evil, to profess your faith in Jesus Christ, and to confess the faith of the church. Do you renounce sine and the power of evil in your life and in the world?
Parent: I renounce them.

Minister: Who is your Lord and Savior?
Parent: Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior.

Minister: Do you promise to instruct Alden in the truth of God’s word, in the way of salvation through Jesus Christ; to pray for him, to teach him to pray, and to train him in Christ’s way by example, through worship, and in the nurture of the church?
Parent: I do, and I ask God to help me.

LIBERTI CHURCH

Minister: Do you promise to love, encourage, and support this family by teaching the gospel of God’s love, by being an example of Christian faith and character, and by giving the strong support of God’s family in fellowship, prayer, and service?
People: We do. 


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CONFESSION OF FAITH — THE APOSTLES’ CREED
 
Minister: Let us affirm our faith together in the words of the Apostles’ creed: Do you believe in God the Father?
People: We believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth.

Minister: Do you believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God?
People: We believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried. He descended into hell. The third day He rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven, and is seated on the right hand of God the Father almighty. From there He will come to judge the living and the dead.

Minister: Do you believe in God the Holy Spirit?
People: We believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
 
PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING    

Minister: The Lord be with you.
People: And also with you.

Minister: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
People: It is right to give our thanks and praise.

BAPTISM

PASSING THE PEACE


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THE WORD OF GOD

SCRIPTURE READING    

Matthew 5:1-20 NRSV  
 
1When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. 2Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:

3"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 6Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 7Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. 8Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 10Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
 
13“You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot. 14You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. 15No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.

17“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. 18For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. 19Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Minister: This is the gospel of the Lord. 
People: Praise to you O Christ!  

PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION  

SERMON


Blessed are the sat upon, spat upon, ratted on.
— Simon and Garfunkel, from “Blessed,”
on the album Sounds of Silence

 

Jesus confirms all the beatitudes he speaks in the Gospel, and he justifies his teaching through his own example. “Blessed are the meek” is what he says of himself. “Learn of me, for I am  meek.”  “Blessed are the peacemakers.” Who is a peacemaker like my Lord Jesus, who is our peace, who made enmity to cease and destroyed it in his flesh? “Blessed are they who suffer for righteousness’ sake.” No one more than the Lord Jesus, who was crucified for our sins, endured persecution for righteousness’ sake. The Lord, then, displays all the beatitudes as being realized in himself. Conforming to that which he said, “Blessed are those who weep,” he himself wept over Jerusalem, to lay the foundation of this beatitude also.

— Origen of Alexandria


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 THE LORD’S TABLE

THE GREAT THANKSGIVING  

The Lord be with you. 
And also with you.

Lift up your hearts now!  
We lift them to the Lord. 

Let us give thanks to the Lord our saving God.
It is right and good, always and everywhere.
To give thanks, to the Lord. 

Minister: With joy we praise you, gracious God, for you have created heaven and earth, made us in your image, and kept covenant with us — even when we fell into sin. We give you thanks for Jesus Christ, our Lord, who came among us as the Word made flesh to show us your glory, full of grace and truth. Therefore we join our voices with all the saints and angels and the whole creation to proclaim the glory of your name, saying:

Holy, holy, holy, God of power and might.
The whole earth is full of Your glory,
hosanna in the highest! 
Holy, holy, holy, God of power and might.
The whole earth is full of Your glory,
hosanna in the highest! 

Minister: You are holy, O God of majesty, and blessed is Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord. Born in humility, he came to rule over all. Helpless as an infant, he showed the power of your love. Poor in things of the world, he brought the wealth of your grace. Rejected by many, he welcomed all who sought him. In his dying and rising, you gave birth to your church, delivered us from slavery  to sin and death, and made with us a new covenant by water and the Spirit. 


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Minister: Remembering your gracious acts in Jesus Christ, we take from your creation this bread  and wine and joyfully celebrate his dying and rising as we await the day of his coming. With thanksgiving we offer our very selves to you to be a living and holy sacrifice, dedicated to your service. Together we proclaim the mystery of the faith. 

Your death, O Christ, we proclaim.
        Your rising celebrate!
Your coming Lord we await, to make all things new.
(REPEAT)

Minister: Lord, our God, send your Holy Spirit so that this bread and cup may be for us the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. May we and all your saints be united with Christ and remain faithful in hope and love. Gather your whole church, O Lord, into the glory of your kingdom.

 Praise to the Father,
praise to the Son, 
praise to the Spirit, 
Our God the Three in One.  

WORDS OF INSTITUTION

Minister: Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.         
People: Therefore, let us keep the feast. 

HOLY COMMUNION        

Minister: The gifts of God for the people of God.     

Gluten-free communion wafers are available at the welcome table in the front lobby of the church. Please pick one up prior to coming forward to take communion. 

Holy Communion, also called the Lord’s Supper or the Eucharist, is the family meal of Christians. We invite all committed followers of Jesus Christ to partake of this sacrament: those who are baptized members of a congregation that proclaims the Gospel, who are at peace with God and their neighbor, and who seek strength to live more faithfully for Christ.


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PRAYERS FOR REFLECTION

If you are not a Christian, or if you are not prepared to share in this meal, we encourage you to spend this time in prayer. We hope that this time is helpful to you as you consider your relationship with Jesus Christ and with his people, the church. If you are unable to receive Communion, we invite you to meditate on one of the following prayers: 

PRAYER FOR THOSE SEARCHING FOR TRUTH: Lord Jesus, you claim to be the way, the truth, and the life. Grant that I might be undaunted by the cost of following you as I consider the reasons for doing so. If what you claim is true, please guide me, teach me, and open to me the reality of who you are. Give me an understanding of you that is coherent, convincing, and that leads to the life that you promise. Amen.

PRAYER OF BELIEF: Lord Jesus, I admit that I am weaker and more sinful than I ever before believed, but through you I am more loved and accepted than I ever dared hope. I thank you for paying my debt, bearing my punishment on the cross, and offering forgiveness and new life. Knowing that you have been raised from the dead, I turn from my sins and receive you as Savior and Lord. Amen.

PRAYER OF COMMITMENT: Lord Jesus, you have called us to follow you in baptism and in a life of committed discipleship in your church. Grant that I may take the necessary steps to be one with your people, and live in the fullness of your Spirit. Amen.


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PSALM 126

Our mouths, they were filled, filled with laughter.
Our tongues, they were loosed, loosed with joy.
Restore us, O Lord! Restore us, O Lord!

CHORUS
Although we are weeping,
Lord, help us keep sowing
The seeds of Your Kingdom
For the day You will reap them!
Your sheaves we will carry;
Lord, please do not tarry!
All those who sow weeping
Will go out with songs of joy!


The nations will say “He has done great things!”
The nations will sing songs of joy.
Restore us, O Lord! Restore us, O Lord!

CHORUS x2


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COMMUNION PRAYER
    
People: God of grace, you renew us at your table with the bread of life. May this food strengthen us in love and help us to serve you in each other. We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord. Amen.

THE LORD’S PRAYER

Minister: Let us pray as our Lord Jesus has taught us:     
People: Our Father in heaven,
              hallowed be your name,
              your kingdom come,
              your will be done,
              on earth as it is in heaven.         
              Give us today our daily bread.
              Forgive us our sins
              as we forgive those who sin
              against us.
              Save us from the time of trial,
              and deliver us from evil.
              For the kingdom, the power,
              and the glory are yours, now
              and forever. Amen.


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SENDING INTO GOD’S WORLD

OFFERING

ON JORDAN’S STORMY BANKS

On Jordan’s stormy banks I stand,
And cast a wishful eye
To Canaan’s fair and happy land,
Where my possessions lie.

All o’er those wide extended plains,
Shines one eternal day;
There God the Son forever reigns,
And scatters night away.

CHORUS
I am bound (I am bound)
I am bound (I am bound)
I am bound for promised land,
I am bound (I am bound)
I am bound (I am bound)
I am bound for promised land.


No chilling winds nor poisonous breath
Can reach that healthful shore;
Sickness, sorrow, pain and death,
Are felt and feared no more.

CHORUS

When shall I reach that happy place,
And be forever blessed?
When shall I see my Father’s face,
And in His bosom rest?

CHORUS


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BENEDICTION

Minister: May you be strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully give thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.

- Adapted from Colossians 1:11-12

People: Amen.

DISMISSAL

Minister: Go in peace to love and serve the Lord! 
People: Thanks be to God!


HOME GROUPS HAVE RESUMED!
Liberti’s home groups have resumed for the semester! If you aren't connected to a group yet, now is a great time to check one out! For a full list of groups and their schedules, head to libertichurch.org/homegroups.

LIBERTI NETWORK COMBINED SERVICE - TONIGHT!
Each year, we gather with the other churches in the Liberti Network to worship, pray, and celebrate together. Join us tonight at 6:00 PM, here at the First Baptist Church Building for our annual combined service. Free parking will be available in the Liberty Place garage.  
 
COLLEGE STUDENT GATHERING
Immediately following the Liberti Network combined service tonight, there will be a meeting for all Liberti college students in the downstairs boardroom. Mingle and get to know students and campus ministers from all the Liberti churches, and hear about upcoming mission opportunities.
 
SPRING BREAK WEEKEND
This spring, Liberti is partnering with the Aquinas Center to host and urban immersion spring break weekend. Students that are interested in and experience that is multicultural, service focused, and ecumenical are encouraged to attend. The trip will take place from 2/27 - 3/1 in Philadelphia, and costs $99. For more info, email Vito Baldini at vito@liberti.org.  
 
FOR THE CITY MEETING
Mark your calendar and plan to join us at 6:00 PM on 2/15, at Liberti’s Center City building! We’ll be updating progress on the For the City initiative, and providing project information, next steps, project timelines, and more! Coffee and refreshments, and free parking, will be provided.
 
SPRING CLEANING DAY
Join us at 9:00 AM on Saturday, 2/21 here at the First Baptist Building, as we begin cleaning out spaces and preparing for renovation! We’ll also be doing some other light maintenance work. Lunch and free parking will be provided. Email administrator@liberti.org to sign up.

PRAYER REQUESTS
This week, please pray alongside us...

Our Church — For the mission of the church - to live, speak, serve as the very presence of Christ to the neighborhoods of Center City and Main Line Philadelphia.

Our City — For those who are facing hardship as a result of unemployment.

Our World — For Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia. Give thanks for The testimony of St Augustine and other theologians of the early church. Pray for an end to armed attacks and clashes in Libya and those who risk their lives to cross the sea for entry into Europe.

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