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St. Ansgar Lutheran Church, Outline for Worship (with sermon)
Sunday, January 23, 2022 Ė Third Sunday after Epiphany
ELW Holy Communion Setting 4

P: Blessed be the holy Trinity, ☩ one God,
who creates us, redeems us, and calls us by name.
C: Amen.
P: Let us confess our sin in the presence of God and of one another.
P: Most merciful God,
C: we confess that we have sinned against you
and your beloved children.
We have turned our faces away from your glory
when it did not appear as we expected.
We have rejected your word when it made us confront ourselves.
We have failed to show hospitality to those you called us to welcome.
Accept our repentance for the things we have done
and the things we have left undone.
For the sake of Jesus Christ, have mercy on us.
Forgive us and lead us, that we may bathe in the glory of your Son born
among us, and reflect your love for all creation.
P: Rejoice in this good news:
In ☩ Christ Jesus, your sins are forgiven.
You are descendants of the Most High,
adopted into the household of Christ, and inheritors of eternal life.
Live as freed and forgiven children of God.
C: Amen.

P: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion
of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
C: And also with you

A: In peace, let us pray to the Lord.
C: Lord, have mercy.
A: For the peace from above, and for our salvation, let us pray to the Lord.
C: Lord, have mercy.
A: For the peace of the whole world, for the well-being of the Church of God,
and for the unity of all, let us pray to the Lord.
C: Lord, have mercy.
A: For this holy house, and for all who offer here their worship and praise,
let us pray to the Lord.
C: Lord, have mercy.
A: Help, save, comfort, and defend us, gracious Lord.
C: Amen.

P: Let us pray.
P Blessed Lord God, you have caused the holy scriptures to be written for
the nourishment of your people. Grant that we may hear them, read, mark,
learn, and inwardly digest them, that, comforted by your promises, we may
embrace and forever hold fast to the hope of eternal life, through your Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord.
C: Amen.


FIRST READING: Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10
Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10
1 all the people gathered together into the square before the Water Gate.
They told the scribe Ezra to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the
LORD had given to Israel. 2 Accordingly, the priest Ezra brought the law before
the assembly, both men and women and all who could hear with understanding.
This was on the first day of the seventh month. 3 He read from it facing the
square before the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence
of the men and the women and those who could understand; and the ears
of all the people were attentive to the book of the law.
5 And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was standing
above all the people; and when he opened it, all the people stood up.
6 Then Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God, and all the people answered,
"Amen, Amen," lifting up their hands. Then they bowed their heads and
worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground.
8 So they read from the book, from the law of God, with interpretation. They gave
the sense, so that the people understood the reading. 9 And Nehemiah, who was
the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the
people said to all the people, "This day is holy to the LORD your God; do not
mourn or weep." For all the people wept when they heard the words of the law.
10 Then he said to them, "Go your way, eat the fat and drink sweet wine and
send portions of them to those for whom nothing is prepared, for this day is holy
to our LORD; and do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength."
A: The word of the Lord.
C: Thanks be to God.

1 The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky proclaims its makerís handiwork.
2 One day tells its tale to another,
and one night imparts knowledge to another.
3 Although they have no words or language,
and their voices are not heard,
4 their sound has gone out into all lands, and their message to the ends
of the world,
where God has pitched a tent for the sun.
5 It comes forth like a bridegroom out of his chamber;
it rejoices like a champion to run its course.
6 It goes forth from the uttermost edge of the heavens and runs about
to the end of it again;
nothing is hidden from its burning heat.
7 The teaching of the Lord is perfect and revives the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure and gives wisdom to the simple.
8 The statutes of the Lord are just and rejoice the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is clear and gives light to the eyes.
9 The fear of the Lord is clean and endures forever;
the judgements of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold, more than much fine gold,
sweeter far than honey, than honey in the comb.
11 By them also is your servant enlightened,
and in keeping them there is great reward.
12 Who can detect oneís own offenses?
Cleanse me from my secret faults.
13 Above all, keep your servant from presumptuous sins;
let them not get dominion over me;
then shall I be whole and sound, and innocent of a great offense.
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable
in your sight,
O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.

SECOND READING: 1 Corinthians 12:12-31a
1 Corinthians 12:12-31a
12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members
of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in the one
Spirit we were all baptized into one body--Jews or Greeks, slaves or free--and we
were all made to drink of one Spirit. 14 Indeed, the body does not consist of one
member but of many. 15 If the foot would say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not
belong to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if
the ear would say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," that
would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye,
where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the
sense of smell be? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each
one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body
be? 20 As it is, there are many members, yet one body. 21 The eye cannot say to
the hand, "I have no need of you," nor again the head to the feet, "I have no need
of you." 22 On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are
indispensable, 23 and those members of the body that we think less honourable
we clothe with greater honour, and our less respectable members are treated
with greater respect; 24 whereas our more respectable members do not need
this. But God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honour to the inferior
member, 25 that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members
may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer
together with it; if one member is honoured, all rejoice together with it. 27 Now
you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 28 And God has
appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers; then
deeds of power, then gifts of healing, forms of assistance, forms of leadership,
various kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers?
Do all work miracles? 30 Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak in
tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But strive for the greater gifts.

A: The word of the Lord.
C: Thanks be to God.

C: Alleluia. Lord, to whom shall we go?
You have the words of eternal life.

P: The Holy Gospel according to Luke 4:14-21
C: Glory to you, O Lord.
Luke 4:14-21
14 Then Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a
report about him spread through all the surrounding country. 15 He began to
teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone. 16 When he came to
Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the
sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the
prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place
where it was written: 18 "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has
anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim
release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed
go free, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favour." 20 And he rolled up the
scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the
synagogue were fixed on him. 21 Then he began to say to them, "Today this
scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."
P: The Gospel of the Lord.
C: Praise to you, O Christ.

Luke 4:14-21
While Pastor David is away for his Continuing Education time in Pittsburgh this
Sunday and next Sunday, we are using sermons available from other pastors.
Todayís sermon was prepared by Pastor Tim Zingale when he was pastor of
St. Olaf Lutheran Church (ELCA) in Fort Dodge, Iowa.

Good News to the Poor
Grace and peace to you from our Lord and Saviour, Jesus who is the Christ.

Jesus read a passage of scripture in the synagogue on the Sabbath.
It read in part, "he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor."
This was not such a strange passage of scripture; the people knew it came from
Isaiah. This passage from Isaiah, chapter 61, verse 2, was a passage of hope,
a passage of deliverance, a passage that reminded the Jews that God was
indeed still with them, still caring for them. This was a great passage to read,
because it was one of the favourite passages from their ancient traditions.
And it was not even strange that Jesus read a passage of scripture in the
synagogue. The synagogue was a place for teaching and reading. The temple
in Jerusalem was the place for the priests to offer sacrifice to God, but in the
synagogue, men came to learn. Another difference between the synagogue
and the temple was that in the temple the priests were in charge, but in the
synagogue there was no priest and there was no preacher. Each man had
an opportunity to participate in the time of reading and learning. A man would
volunteer to read a passage from the scrolls of the Old Testament, and then
afterwards, he would sit down and explain what that passage he read meant
to him.
But what was strange, unique and different was when Jesus sat down
he said, "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."
Jesus said that the scripture about deliverance, about salvation, about
God being with the nation of Israel was fulfilled in him. Jesus was salvation.
A strange and unique concept.
Jesus is dropping a bomb shell on this congregation. He is shaking them up.
He is telling them that he is Godís salvation in the world. Through him Godís
deliverance, Godís promise of hope, Godís promise of freedom has come to
his people. Jesus is revealing something about himself; he is making clear his
mission, his calling, his task as he goes about his ministry on this earth. Jesus
is setting the scope, the limits, the horizons of his ministry.
Jesus is telling them that he is the Word of God incarnate in the world. Jesus
is telling them that as Godís word in the world, Jesus is the bringer of hope
and salvation to all people.
Jesus is like the king in the following story;
"Long ago, there ruled in Persia a wise and good king. He loved his people.
He wanted to know how they lived. He wanted to know about their hardships.
Often he dressed in the clothes of a working man or a beggar, and went to the
homes of the poor. No one whom he visited thought that he was their ruler.
One time he visited a very poor man who lived in a cellar. He ate the coarse
food the poor man ate. He spoke cheerful, kind words to him. Then he left.
Later he visited the poor man again and disclosed his identity by saying,
"I am your king!" The king thought the man would surely ask for some gift
or favour, but he didnít.
Instead he said, "You left your palace and your glory to visit me in this dark,
dreary place. You ate the coarse food I ate. You brought gladness to my heart!
To others you have given your rich gifts. To me you have given yourself!"
To me you have given yourself! This is what Jesus is saying to those in the
synagogue that day. Today, I am giving myself for the salvation of the world.
Today, Godís grace has come through me. Today, the captive have been set
free. Today, I am preaching good news to the poor. Today, salvation has
Someone once said the best sermon is not one which is preached, but one
that is lived. In these words of Jesus at the synagogue, he is saying just that.
Today, Godís grace is fulfilled through a person, Jesus Christ.
Jesus is putting Godís word into practice.
Jesus is putting Godís word of salvation into practice in our world, too.
This is a passage of hope and salvation for us.
Jesus is reminding us that no matter what we experience in this world he
is there for us. Jesus is Godís incarnate word in this world of brokenness.
Jesus is talking about Godís plan of salvation for the whole earth, instead
of just the nation of Israel. Jesus is saying that through him, God would
bring salvation to all people. Jesus is saying that through him salvation
would come even to us today. Salvation is here for us because Jesus has
fulfilled this passage.
This salvation is seen very clearly in this passage. Jesus says that part
of his salvation is to preach the good news. The good news is that God
is with us, God cares about us. There is forgiveness, there is hope, there
is renewal. Jesus knew that in a world where people find only the bad news,
where sin, death and the devil are alive and well, we need some good news.
We need to know that God has not abandoned us.
Jesus wants us to cling to that hope. Jesus wants us to cling to the good
news of His salvation. But some donít.
It is like the bees in the following story:
As I finished washing the dishes, I glanced out of the window and saw my
8-year-old brother dangling a long pole in the swimming pool. His tangled
brown hair hung in his eyes, and his clothes were splashed with water.
He always managed to avoid helping with the chores, and today was no
different. I watched as he carefully steadied the pole in the water, lifted it,
and tapped it on the concrete deck.
"Whatís he doing?" I wondered. I decided to go outside and see what
time-wasting activity had kept him from helping me.
"What are you doing Ben?" I asked as I walked over to where he stood.
"Saving bees," he replied. I could see now that each time he steadied the
pole, it was beneath a bee. He then lifted the bee out of the water and placed
it on the warm concrete to let the bee dry its wings and fly away.
"But some of them wonít hold on." He continued, "I try to save them, but they
just keep trying to swim and wonít grab the pole."
"Great," I thought. "One less bee to sting me." I began walking back toward
the house, determined to waste no more of my time.
Then Ben spoke again. "Itís like Jesus," he said.
I stopped and walked back to my little brother. "What do you mean?" I asked,
confused by that comparison.
"I try to save the bees from drowning, but they have to choose to grab the pole.
I canít force them," he explained. "And thatís like Jesus and us. He wants to
save us, but we have to choose to accept him and what he has done for us.
He canít force us." And with that simple analogy, Ben went back to saving
the bees.
As I thought about what he said, I realized how much I was like one of the
drowning bees. When I faced a struggle in my life, I was prone to battle it out
alone, convinced I was strong enough to make it. Trusting the Saviour enough
to stop ítreading waterí was difficult. But as I watched Ben patiently pull each
bee out of the water, I began to understand how willing the Saviour is to help
Jesus is telling us not to ítread waterí but to turn to him for salvation.
This gospel lesson is a picture of the salvation of Jesus for his time and ours.
Jesus came not just for the nation of Israel, but for all humankind. He came
for you and me. He came to bring salvation into this time and place. He came
to bring salvation now and for the future.
A closing story sums up what it means to live in grace.
When I was about twelve years old, my dad took a friend and me to the carnival.
We purchased an armband and entered the gates. We were awestruck
at all of the blinking lights, the throng of people, the voices disappearing into
the night air, and, most of all, the numerous rides.
We heard the shrieks of joy from those who were riding on the various rides
in the carnival that night. Their faces were lit up much like the bright lights and
you could see grins so wide that it seemed their faces would split open from
their excitement.
As I watched them, I could imagine the feeling of lightness in their stomachs
as they were rocked to and fro. I could almost feel the breath being suddenly
thrust out of their lungs as they lurched from side to side. It looked like so
much fun!
We walked on. Everyone that we approached seemed to be enjoying
themselves greatly. Each ride that we came to looked more exciting than the
previous one. The people aboard seemed to be having the time of their lives.
The whole scene looked so inviting!
And, yet, we had no money. My dad had paid for the armbands and told us
we were on our own. Without any money, we were left to watch everyone else
enjoy themselves. The more we saw everyone else having a great time, the
more we wished we were able to purchase tickets in order that we might ride
the rides.
We were standing around, miserable, wishing my father would come and get
us out of that place, when we heard him say to us, "Hey, you two. What are
you doing?"
"We are just watching these people on the rides," I replied.
"Why arenít you riding any of them," my father asked.
"We donít have any money to buy tickets," I continued.
"Son, donít you know that the rides are included in the price that I already paid.
Your armband gets you access to all of the rides."
We were stunned. We had no idea that we could have been enjoying the
carnival to its fullest extent by just taking advantage of what my father had
given us.
Sadly, there are many Christians just like my friend and I at the carnival.
They walk around miserable, seeing others at peace, seeing others filled with
joy, seeing others content and free. They are miserable as they watch others
full of assurance and victory and blessing. Oh, it all looks so inviting, but they
just donít see how they can pay for it. They stand around wishing their Father
would come and get them out of this place.
And, then, maybe, they hear his voice. "What are you doing?" he calls.
"Watching these people enjoy themselves," they reply.
"Why arenít you enjoying yourself?" the Father asks.
"We canít afford the tickets," they continue.
"Son, daughter," God calls. "Donít you know that they are included in the price
that I already paid? Jesus did more than just save you, He gave you a life of
blessing. He did more than just reserve you a place in Heaven, He gave you
a wonderful, anointed life here on earth. Donít you know that itís included
in the price he paid?"
Many Christians walk around with a brightly colored spiritual armband on,
never realizing that it gives them access to all of the blessings that Jesus
Christ offers.
Theyíre at the carnival...but theyíre not riding any rides.
Friends, Jesus died to give you life...abundant life. He promises you peace,
joy, contentment, assurance, victory and confidence.
Donít be satisfied to simply wear your armband...get on the ride!
Have a wonderful day in Christ.
Jesus says: "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, Godís only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.*

On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I 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.

A: The Spirit of the Lord is poured out upon us in abundance; so we are
bold to pray for the church, the world, and all that God has made.
A: God of our church, send forth your Spirit as we pray for our National Bishop
Susan. Empower her with your wisdom to lead the church. We also pray for
our Synod Bishop Michael Pryse and all the Support Staff and people of our
Eastern Synod. God of grace,
C: hear our prayer.
A: You reveal yourself to us in the reading of scripture. Fulfill your word through
the faithful witness of your church. Send us out to bring your liberating good
news to all people. God of grace,
C: hear our prayer.
A: All creation proclaims your handiwork. Teach us to love the intricate and
beautiful bodies that you have created. Bless tiny insects, enormous whales,
and every creature in between. Sustain species at risk of extinction.
God of grace,
C: hear our prayer.
A: You desire that there be no dissension among us. Where we are divided
in our society, nation, or world, come quickly to reunite us into one body.
Ease conflict, dispel violence, and bring an end to war. God of grace,
C: hear our prayer.
A: Anoint with your Spirit all who seek your favour. Grant provision and justice
for people living in poverty, people living with disability, those living with pain,
or those living under oppression. God of grace,
C: hear our prayer.
A: Build up the body of Christ in this place. Bless the variety of ministries
in this congregation. Empower us to freely welcome and deeply value each
person who enters into worship and ministry among us. God of grace,
C: hear our prayer.
[Here you may include other intercessions.]
A: In thanksgiving we lift before you the saints for whom the promise of salvation
has now been fulfilled. Tend to those who mourn. Bring us together in your
everlasting glory. God of grace,
C: hear our prayer.
A: Since we have such great hope in your promises, O God, we lift these and all
of our prayers to you in confidence and faith; through Jesus Christ our Saviour.
C: Amen.

P: The peace of Christ be with you always.
C: And also with you.

A: Blessed are you, O God, Sovereign of the universe.
You offer us new beginnings and guide us on our journey.
Lead us to your table, nourish us with this heavenly food,
and prepare us to carry your love to a hungry world,
in the name of Christ our light.
C: Amen.

P: Lord, remember us in your kingdom and teach us to pray.
C: 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 trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass 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 and ever. Amen.


P: God, who leads you in pathways of righteousness,
who rejoices over you, and who calls you by name,
☩ bless your going out and your coming in, today and forever.
C: Amen.

A: Go with Christ into a weary world.
Share the good news.
C: Thanks be to God.

Go now in peace, never be afraid.
God will go with you each hour of every day.
Go now in faith, steadfast, strong and true.
Know He will guide you in all you do.
Go now in love, and show you believe.
Reach out to others, so all the world can see.
God will be there, watching from above.
Go now in peace, in faith, and in love.

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