Fifth Sunday After the Epiphany 2018 — Order of Worship

Rise Up! Focus



All lights on, candles pre-lit. Choir or singing ensemble enters the worship space in procession, or surrounds the worship space, to lead the singing.

“Lift Every Voice and Sing”                                                   UMH 519                              
“All the Poor and Powerless”                                               CCLI #5881130

Prayer for Illumination


BOW = United Methodist Book of Worship

CCLI = Christian Copyright Licensing International, SongSelect

TFWS = The Faith We Sing (2000)

UMH = United Methodist Hymnal

W&S = Worship & Song (2011)

SOZ = Songs of Zion

Deacon or Worship Leader
How we long for that day
when all creation will join the song,
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
We thank you and praise you
for your presence with us, here, now,
to strengthen us for our walk
and our work
with you and one another.

But we are so easily distracted
from your goodness,
the greatness of your power,
and the depth of your love.

So speak to us now through your word
proclaimed among us,
and focus our hearts
on you.


Spotlight or center stage or center aisle, a speaker performs the spoken word.

Spoken Word written by B. Kevin Smalls

The Speaker
Somewhere in my past
the locusts have destroyed
so much of what I know
it's hard to FOCUS
on just us as we travel
through these barren lands.

It's easier to focus on poverty
you see it is real, deep
and depressing no need
in suppressing the grief
that goes with it...

I get it.  Focus.
On not just us...
but on our longing
for days gone by
when life was on a high
when peace and politics
were best friends
and every conflict found
an amends...

Being in an oppressive cave
for so long it's hard to trust
freedom...and then some.

It’s hard to trust new beginnings...
that may turn sour.

It's hard to trust new opportunities
they could collapse in an hour.

Scripture                                         Isaiah 40:21-31 (NRSV, alt.)      

The readers of the voice of The Prophet and The Lord are unseen. Consider voicing these roles “against stereotype,” perhaps with a child for the prophet and an accented or female voice for The Lord, and recording both. If you have a screen, consider displaying visuals — without any words — to accompany the reading.

The Prophet:
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? 

It is the One 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;
who brings princes to naught,
            and makes the rulers of the earth as nothing.

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.

The Holy One says to you...

The Lord
To whom then will you compare me,
            or who is my equal?

The Prophet
Lift up your eyes on high and see:
            Who created these?
It is the Holy One who brings out their host and numbers them,
            calling them all by name;
for our God is great in strength, mighty in power,
            not one is missing.

So 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"?

The Speaker
Then, the Voice emerges again.
We have been delivered...
how we quiver with the good news.
We have been rescued
no miscued message this time.  

We have been heard...
our walk will no longer be disturbed
with fear...our running will no longer
be short circuited due to poor gear...

The Prophet
Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
            the Creator of the ends of the earth,
who does not faint or grow weary;
            whose understanding is unsearchable.

The Holy One gives power to the faint,
            and strengthens the powerless.

Even youths will faint and be weary,
            and the young will fall exhausted;

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.

The Speaker
It's time to FOCUS...NOT on any POTUS
Not on past locust damage...
but FOCUS on Jesus' FOCUS...
GOD God self...the one and only
Liberator of broken community. 

Come now, we've been heard,
come out of exile now...

FOCUS...FOLKS God loves US.
FOCUS...God SPOKE us into being
FOCUS...God woke us up into dreaming
FOCUS...will you...can you...GO THUS
and know...this race is designed FOR US!


Sermon                                 “Focus”

Sung Affirmation of Faith

"Our God” (with Apostles Creed during Instrumental)     CCLI #5677416
“We Believe in One True God”                                          UMH 85


Invitation to the Table                                             

Deacon or Pastor:

Christ our Lord invites to his table all who love him,

who earnestly repent of their sin

and seek to live in peace with one another.

Therefore, let us confess our sin to God.


Confession and Pardon

Deacon or Pastor leads all to pray:
Most merciful God,
we confess that we have sinned against you,
against one another,
and against the world and the creatures you have called us to tend.
We have broken our covenants.
We have lost our passion for your mission.
We have ignored the needs of others.
We have failed to love you
            and our neighbors in your creation
            as we have loved ourselves.
Forgive us, we pray.
Free us for joyful obedience.
Give us the wisdom to focus on you
and the courage to abide in your freedom,
through Christ our Lord. Amen.


If we confess our sin, God is faithful and just and cleanses us from all unrighteousness. In the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven.

In the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven.

Glory to God!

The peace of Christ be always with you.

And also with you. 

The people may exchange the peace of Christ. The offering may be collected.

Music During the Offering
Total Praise                                                                       Africana Hymnal 4021 (CCLI #2110330)

The Great Thanksgiving

Chord progressions from “God of Wonders” (W&S 3034, CCLI #3118757) may play in the background as the Great Thanksgiving begins.

Our Lord Jesus Christ is with us.
Yes he is. Hallelujah!

The Holy Spirit is in this place!
Ignite our hearts!

Raise your hands! Lift your voices!
Father, we are yours!

We are yours, all yours, blessed Triune God,
all our lives, all our thanks, all our praise,
all our hesitations, all our grumbling, all our fears,
we give it all to you, with all our bodies, and minds, and voices.
Yours, all yours!

Yours the blessing, yours the praise,
from the unimaginable silence before the big bang,
beyond the farthest reaches of time and space our instruments may ever find,
from infinity to infinity, everlasting to everlasting,
you are God, boundless in love and power.
We stand in awe, trembling in the light of your glory!

What are we that you should notice us?
What are we that you should love us?
What are we that you should call us into covenant with you,
a covenant we continually broke,
and you continuously sustained.
Mercy! How full of mercy!

How can we but praise you,
joining our voices with the song of angels and saints,
with seraphim and martyrs,
with the elders in heaven and all creatures on the earth, under the earth,
and in the rivers, oceans, streams, and skies,
with strangers and family in every generation, singing:

All sing the refrain to “God of Wonders” (W&S 3034, CCLI #3118757) followed by these words to the same tune:

Jesus Christ who comes in our God's name,
you are worthy, worthy!

Lamb of God for all creation slain,
you are worthy, worthy!
Hosanna to our King!
Hosanna to our King!

You are holy, O God!

You are worthy, O Christ!

Worthy in your birth! Worthy in your living!
Worthy in your loving!
Worthy in your serving!
Worthy when you preached good news
that God's kingdom has drawn near
and gathered disciples, then and now, to learn and show the world
what life in God's reign means:
healing for the sick.
new life for the dead,
cleansing for the lepers,
deliverance for the oppressed,
freedom for the possessed,
beauty for the lilies,
care for the sparrows,
new birth, new life, new creation breaking in for all.
Worthy! Worthy! Worthy above all!

Worthy too, the night we betrayed you,
when you took the bread, blessed it and broke it,
and gave it to your disciples.
Worthy when you told them,
"This is my body broken for you. Remember me."
We remember.

Worthy when you took the cup,
praised God and shared it,
and worthy when you said,
"This is my blood of the new covenant for you.
Remember me."
We remember.

We remember, and we praise you with our lives
and these gifts of bread and wine,
proclaiming with one voice the mystery of faith:
Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.

Come upon us, Holy Spirit.
Come upon us, Holy Spirit.

Come upon these gifts.
Come upon these gifts.

Make them be for us Christ's body, Christ's blood.
Make us one body in Christ enlivened by his blood.

One in heart, one in mind, one in you, Holy Spirit,
as you move us to pray for the church and the world:
That we may proclaim the gospel boldly:
Hear us, Lord.

That we may offer your healing for all who are sick, and people who are torn and weary:
Hear us, Lord.

That we may be channels of your mercy over all your works, in earth, and sky and sea:
Hear us, Lord.

That many dead and left for dead may be raised, and death itself vanquished:
Hear us, Lord.

That all who are unclean may receive your cleansing grace:
Hear us, Lord.

That all who are possessed, oppressed, distressed, depressed and downcast may be set free at last.
Hear us, Lord.

Even so, come and fill this feast, Holy Spirit,
this day, and every day until that day
when we eat it new at the marriage supper of the Lamb!

All blessing and glory,
thanksgiving and power,
wisdom and honor and might,
be yours, Holy Triune God,
now and forever.


Music During Communion
Bless His Holy Name                                             TFWS 2015/ CCLI #17566
I Love the Lord                                                       W&S 3142
Bless That Wonderful Name                                  Africana Hymnal 4008

Thanksgiving after Communion

Deacon or Pastor leads all to pray:
Thank you, God, for uniting us with Jesus in this holy mystery.
We are no longer our own, but yours.
So send us, and put us
to leading and serving in your mission
wherever we go. Amen.


Deacon and/or Spoken Word Leader
Come now, we've been heard,
come out of exile now...

FOCUS...FOLKS God loves US.
FOCUS...God SPOKE us into being
FOCUS...God woke us up into dreaming can...we will...GO THUS
and know...this race is designed FOR US!


Marching to Zion                                                UMH 733