Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
We gather as people loved by God, as people called to pass on the love we have received. The love God has given the world will never fail, but will last as long as humanity lasts.
+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
God of salvation, in Jesus Christ, you announce freedom and summon us to new life in him. As we marvel at the grace and power of your word, enlighten us to see the beauty of the gospel and strengthen us to put it into practice. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever.
Hymn: “Love divine all loves excelling” (Keswick Praise version)
A Reading from the Old Testament: Jeremiah 1:4-5, 17-19 (NLT)
[Jeremiah is called and assured that nothing will defeat him.]
The Lord gave me this message: “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.”
“Get up and prepare for action. Go out and tell them everything I tell you to say. Do not be afraid of them, or I will make you look foolish in front of them. For see, today I have made you strong like a fortified city that cannot be captured, like an iron pillar or a bronze wall. You will stand against the whole land—the kings, officials, priests, and people of Judah. They will fight you, but they will fail. For I am with you, and I will take care of you. I, the Lord, have spoken!”
A Reading from Psalms: Psalm 71:1-6, 15-17 (NLT)
O Lord, I have come to you for protection; don’t let me be disgraced. Save me and rescue me, for you do what is right. Turn your ear to listen to me, and set me free. Be my rock of safety where I can always hide. Give the order to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress. My God, rescue me from the power of the wicked, from the clutches of cruel oppressors.
O Lord, you alone are my hope. I’ve trusted you, O Lord, from childhood. Yes, you have been with me from birth; from my mother’s womb you have cared for me. No wonder I am always praising you!
I will tell everyone about your righteousness. All day long I will proclaim your saving power, though I am not skilled with words. I will praise your mighty deeds, O Sovereign Lord. I will tell everyone that you alone are just.
O God, you have taught me from my earliest childhood, and I constantly tell others about the wonderful things you do.
“I Trust In You” – Regi Stone
A Reading from the Letters: 1 Corinthians 13:4-13 (NLT)
[An explanation of practical love.]
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless.
When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.
Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.
A Reading from the Gospels: Luke 4:21-30 (NLT)
[Jesus is rejected by his own – the perfect beginning for Luke’s Gospel, which was written mainly for the Gentiles.]
Then he began to speak to them. “The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!”
Everyone spoke well of him and was amazed by the gracious words that came from his lips. “How can this be?” they asked. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?”
Then he said, “You will undoubtedly quote me this proverb: ‘Physician, heal yourself’—meaning, ‘Do miracles here in your hometown like those you did in Capernaum.’ But I tell you the truth, no prophet is accepted in his own hometown.
“Certainly there were many needy widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the heavens were closed for three and a half years, and a severe famine devastated the land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them. He was sent instead to a foreigner—a widow of Zarephath in the land of Sidon. And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, but the only one healed was Naaman, a Syrian.”
When they heard this, the people in the synagogue were furious. Jumping up, they mobbed him and forced him to the edge of the hill on which the town was built. They intended to push him over the cliff, but he passed right through the crowd and went on his way.
Hymn: “My Hope Is Jesus” – Hillsong
God is our hope, our salvation – we are welcome to present all our needs to him.
+ For the Church and everyone who is part of it – that all Christians may grow in love…. Lord, hear us.
+ For those called to be prophets – that they may faithfully preach God’s word, no matter what happens…. Lord, hear us.
+ For people of every religion – that all may work for peace and justice…. Lord, hear us.
+ For Christian Schools around the world – that they may be places of forgiveness, mercy and peace…. Lord, hear us.
+ For all believers who gather for worship today – that our faith may be seen in lives of love…. Lord, hear us.
+ For the people around us in any kind of difficulty – that they may receive the help they need…. Lord, hear us.
+ For those who have died in Christ – that they may know perfect love in heaven…. Lord, hear us.
Lord our God, you are a rock where we can take refuge: hear our prayers and grant us your sustaining grace, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Hymn: “Jesus Lover of My Soul” – Darlene Zschech
Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word. (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17)
+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen