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GATHERING BEFORE GOD
February 1, 2015
Fourth Sunday of Epiphany

PRELUDE

GREETING AND PREPARATION

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

CALL TO WORSHIP

Leader: How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
People: How long will you hide your face from me?

Leader: How long must I take counsel in my soul, and have sorrow in my heart all the day?People: How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?

Leader: Consider and answer me, O Lord my God; light up my eyes lest I sleep the sleep of death.
People: and my enemy say, ‘I have prevailed over him,‘ lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.

Leader: But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
People: I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me. 

— Psalm 13

PRAYER OF INVOCATION


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FOR THE BEAUTY OF THE EARTH

For the beauty of the earth,
For the glory of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies.
Lord of all to Thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.


For the wonder of each hour
of the day and of the night,
hill and vale, and tree and flower,
sun and moon, and stars of light;

Lord of all to Thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.

For the joy of human love,
Brother, sister, parent, child,
Friends on earth and friends above,
For all gentle thoughts and mild.
Lord of all to Thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.

For the church, that evermore
Lifteth holy hands above,
Offering up on every shore
Her pure sacrifice of love.
Lord of all to Thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.

For Thyself, best Gift Divine.
To our race so freely given,
For that great, great love of Thine,
Peace on earth and joy in Heaven.
Lord of all to Thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.


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OUR GREAT GOD

Eternal God, unchanging, mysterious and unknown.
Your boundless love unfailing, in grace and mercy shown.
Bright seraphim in endless flight around your glorious throne.
They raise their voices day and night in praise to you alone.

CHORUS
Hallelujah! Glory be to our great God!
Hallelujah! Glory be to our great God!

Lord, we are weak and frail, helpless in the storm.
Surround us with your angels, hold us in your arms.
Our cold and ruthless enemy, his pleasure is our harm.
Rise up, oh Lord, and he will flee before our Sovereign God.


CHORUS

Let every creature in the sea and every flying bird;
Let every mountain, every field and valley of the earth;
Let all the moons and all the stars in all the universe
Sing praises to the living God, who rules them by His word.

CHORUS


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GOD BE MERCIFUL TO ME

God, be merciful to me, on Thy grace I rest my plea;
Plenteous in compassion Thou, blot out my transgressions now;
Wash me, make me pure within, cleanse, O cleanse me from my sin. 

My transgressions I confess, grief and guilt my soul oppress;
I have sinned against Thy grace and provoked Thee to Thy face;
I confess Thy judgment just, speechless, I Thy mercy trust. 

I am evil, born in sin; Thou desirest truth within.
Thou alone my Savior art, teach Thy wisdom to my heart;
Make me pure, Thy grace bestow, wash me whiter than the snow.

Broken, humbled to the dust, by Thy wrath and judgment just,
Let my contrite heart rejoice, and in gladness hear Thy voice;
From my sins O hide Thy face, blot them out in boundless grace. 

Gracious God, my heart renew, make my spirit right and true;
Cast me not away from Thee, let Thy Spirit dwell in me;
Thy salvation’s joy impart, steadfast make my willing heart. 

Sinners then shall learn from me and return, O God, to Thee;
Savior, all my guilt remove, and my tongue shall sing Thy love;
Touch my silent lips, O Lord, and my mouth shall praise accord.


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CALL TO CONFESSION

Leader: Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my thoughts. See if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. 

—Psalm 139:23-24, NRSV

PRAYER OF CONFESSION

People: Almighty God, in raising Jesus from the grave, you shattered the power of sin.  We  confess that we remain captive to doubt and fear. While placing our trust in relationships and things which cannot give life we have been bound by the ways that lead to death. Forgive us, God of mercy. Help us to trust the power of the resurrection to change our lives and make us new, that we may know the joy of life abundant given in Jesus Christ, the risen Lord. Amen.

SILENT CONFESSION

WORDS OF PARDON

Leader: You did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.  

—Romans 8:15-17, 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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THE WORD OF GOD

SCRIPTURE READING     

Matthew 6:25-34, NRSV 

25“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? 28And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, 29yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. 30But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34“So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

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

PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION  

SERMON

Sermon series: The One: The Story of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew
Sermon title: The Worry-Free Life
Speaker: Jared Ayers


Worrying has become such a part and parcel of our daily life that a life without worries seems not only impossible, but even undesirable.  We have a suspicion that to be carefree is unrealistic and worse — dangerous. Our worries motivate us to work hard, to prepare ourselves for the future, and to arm ourselves against impending threats...Jesus does not respond to our worry-filled way of living by saying that we should not be so busy with worldly affairs. He does not try to pull us away from the many events, activities, and people that make up our lives. He does not tell us that what we do is unimportant, valueless, or useless...It is important for us to realize that Jesus in no way wants us to leave our many-faceted world.  Rather, he wants us to live in it, but firmly rooted in the center of all things. Jesus does not speak about a change of activities, a change in contacts, or even a change of pace. He speaks about a change of heart. This change of heart makes everything different, even while everything appears to remain the same...To set our hearts on the kingdom therefore means to make the life of the Spirit within and among us the center of all we think, say, or do.  

 — Henri Nouwen, from Making All Things New


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NICENE CREED 

Minister: Let us say what we believe.

People: We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven, was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became truly human. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. 

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father [and the Son], who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets. 

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.


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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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HOW DEEP THE FATHER’S LOVE FOR US

How deep the Father’s love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
And make a wretch His treasure.
How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away.
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory.


Behold the Man upon the cross
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers.
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished.
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished.


I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom.
But I will boast in Jesus Christ,
His death and resurrection.
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer.
But this I know with all my heart,
His wounds have paid my ransom.


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COMMUNION PRAYER
    
People: God, our Father, we thank you for permitting us to take part in your holy mysteries; through the working of your Spirit, may the life of Christ turn our fears to freedom and help us to live for others. May the strength of Christ lead us in our living through whatever of joy or sorrow awaits us. To Father, Son, and Holy Spirit be glory and praise for ever. 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  

ALL MUST BE WELL  

Through the love of God our Savior, all will be well;
Free and changeless is His favor; all is well.
Precious is the blood that healed us;
Perfect is the grace that sealed us;
Strong the hand stretched out to shield us;
All must be well.

Though we pass through tribulation, all will be well;
Ours is such a full salvation; all is well.
Happy still in God confiding,
Fruitful, if in Christ abiding,
Holy through the Spirit’s guiding,
All must be well.

We expect a bright tomorrow; all will be well;
Faith can sing through days of sorrow, all is well.
On our Father’s love relying,
Jesus every need supplying,
Yes in living, or in dying,
All must be well.


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BENEDICTION

Minister: May Jesus Christ, the sun of righteousness, who comes with healing in his wings, fill you with the joy and peace that passes all understanding. The blessing of God almighty, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, be upon you and remain with you always.

People: Amen.

DISMISSAL

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


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 at the First Baptist Building (17th & Sansom), 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. Just click here to sign up!

EASTER OUTREACH 2015
We’re excited to launch our annual Easter Outreach tonight! This year, we’re partnering with over 15 other churches throughout the region to distribute 3,000 Easter dinners to neighbors and build three wells in South Sudan. To do this, we’ll need hundreds of volunteers to help pack meals during the week leading up to delivery day on April 4. We’ll also need your financial partnership as we hope to reach our fundraising goal of $75,000. For more information on serving, giving, and more, please visit easteroutreach.org.

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

Our Church — For the Easter Outreach ministry to reach thousands of hungry families in the greater Philadelphia area this year.

Our City — For our partners at CHOC as they minister to the homeless individuals of Montgomery county.

Our World — For the ecumenical and spiritual renewal movements that bring new intensity and depth to the Christian faith in the countries of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.

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