February 7, 2021


Fifth Sunday after Epiphany
February 7, 2021
11 Old York Road ~ Ringoes, NJ 08551
Mary “JJ” Simpson-Keelan, Pastor
Shannen Hemmel, Musician
Sonia Delgado, Lector
Terry Welsh, Videographer and Editor
In this time of world-wide crisis, Living Waters Lutheran Church respects the guidance of our Bishop and government agencies and therefore calls the faithful together for a time of prayer, praise, and thanksgiving through on-line venues. Because we love God and neighbor during a time of rising COVID cases and increasing spread, we choose to behave cautiously. To help tend the public health during this pandemic: (1) Maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet. (2) Wear a face covering. (3) Wash your hands, and regularly clean surfaces. (4) Reduce exposure time to areas with potentially high aerosol concentration, (5) Limit group encounters. (6) Encourage everyone who feels sick or uncomfortable/vulnerable in group settings to please stay home and consult a healthcare provider. The church is all God’s baptized people. Those who worship, pray, study, and connect for fellowship and service from their homes are very much “the church”. The Good News of God’s reign continues to be fully proclaimed with power and authority on-line in this new time.
In Isaiah the one God who sits above the earth and numbers the stars also strengthens the powerless. So in Jesus’ healing work we see the hand of the creator God, lifting up the sick woman to health and service (diakonia). Like Simon’s mother-in-law, we are lifted up and healed to serve. Following Jesus, we strengthen the powerless; like Jesus, we seek to renew our own strength in quiet times of prayer.             
P: Blessed be the Holy Trinity + one God,
whose voice is upon the waters,
whose mercy is poured out upon all people,
whose goodness cascades over all creation.
C: Amen.
P: Let us confess our sin, trusting in the abundant grace of God.
Silence is kept for reflection.
Holy God,
C: you search us and know us.
You are acquainted with all our ways.
We confess that our hearts are burdened by sin—
our own sins and the broken systems that bind us.
We turn inward, failing to follow
your outward way of love.
We distrust those who are not like us.
We exploit the earth and its resources
and fail to consider generations to come.
Forgive us, gracious God,
for all we have done and left undone.
Even before the words are on our tongues,
you know them;
receive them in your divine mercy.
P: How vast is God’s grace!
Through the power and promise of ? Christ Jesus,
our sins are washed away
and we are claimed as God’s own beloved.
Indeed, we are forgiven.
In the wake of God’s forgiveness,
we are called to be the beloved community
living out Christ’s justice
and the Spirit’s reconciling peace.
C: Amen.
P: The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.
C: The light shines in the darkness, the darkness has not overcome it.
P: Those who lived in the land of deep darkness, on them has light shined.
C: We have seen Christ’s glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father.
P: For to us a child is born, to us a Son is given.
C: In Him was life, and the life was the light of all people.
P:        Everlasting God, you give strength to the weak and power to the faint. Make us agents of your healing and wholeness, that your good news may be made known to the ends of your creation, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.
C:         Amen
HYMN OF PRAISE: ELW 532 "Gather us in"
1          Here in this place the new light is streaming,
            now is the darkness vanished away;
            see in this space our fears and our dreamings
            brought here to you in the light of this day.
            Gather us in, the lost and forsaken,
            gather us in, the blind and the lame;
            call to us now, and we shall awaken,
            we shall arise at the sound of our name.
2          We are the young, our lives are a myst'ry,
            we are the old who yearn for your face;
            we have been sung throughout all of hist'ry,
            called to be light to the whole human race.
            Gather us in, the rich and the haughty,
            gather us in, the proud and the strong;
            give us a heart, so meek and so lowly,
            give us the courage to enter the song.
Text: Marty Haugen, b. 1950 Text © 1982 GIA Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.
First Reading: Isaiah 40:21-31
The Judeans in exile have a good reason to be hopeful: the one who will bring them to freedom is the God who created the world, the God who subdues the rulers of the earth and gives strength to those who are weary.
21Have 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?
22It is he 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;
23who brings princes to naught,
  and makes the rulers of the earth as nothing.

24Scarcely 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.

25To whom then will you compare me,
  or who is my equal? says the Holy One.
26Lift up your eyes on high and see:
  Who created these?
 He who brings out their host and numbers them,
  calling them all by name;
 because he is great in strength,
  mighty in power,
  not one is missing.

27Why do you say, O Jacob,
  and speak, O Israel,
 “My way is hidden from the Lord,
  and my right is disregarded by my God”?
28Have you not known? Have you not heard?
 The Lord is the everlasting God,
  the Creator of the ends of the earth.
 He does not faint or grow weary;
  his understanding is unsearchable.
29He gives power to the faint,
  and strengthens the powerless.
30Even youths will faint and be weary,
  and the young will fall exhausted;
31but 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.
Word of God, word of life.
Thanks be to God.
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 9:16-23
God entrusted Paul with the responsibility of bringing the gospel to diverse people. Hence the focus of Paul’s ministry is not his own rights or privileges as an apostle but the privilege of serving God by freely sharing the good news of Christ with others.
16If I proclaim the gospel, this gives me no ground for boasting, for an obligation is laid on me, and woe to me if I do not proclaim the gospel! 17For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward; but if not of my own will, I am entrusted with a commission. 18What then is my reward? Just this: that in my proclamation I may make the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my rights in the gospel.
19For though I am free with respect to all, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I might win more of them. 20To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though I myself am not under the law) so that I might win those under the law. 21To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law) so that I might win those outside the law. 22To the weak I became weak, so that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that I might by all means save some. 23I do it all for the sake of the gospel, so that I may share in its blessings.
Word of God, word of life.
Thanks be to God.
VIDEO PASTOR           
Gospel Acclamation
C: Alleluia. A voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” Alleluia. (Matt. 3:17)
Gospel: Mark 1:29-39
Everywhere Jesus goes, many people expect him to set them free from oppression. Everywhere he goes, he heals people and sets them free. Disease, devils, and death are running for their lives. The forces that diminish human life are rendered powerless by Jesus.
29As soon as [Jesus and the disciples] left the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. 30Now Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told him about her at once. 31He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up. Then the fever left her, and she began to serve them.
32That evening, at sunset, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons. 33And the whole city was gathered around the door. 34And he cured many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.
35In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. 36And Simon and his companions hunted for him. 37When they found him, they said to him, “Everyone is searching for you.” 38He answered, “Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do.” 39And he went throughout Galilee, proclaiming the message in their synagogues and casting out demons.
The gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, O Christ.         
HYMN OF THE DAY     ELW 787 "On Eagles Wings"
1          You who dwell in the shelter of the Lord,
            who abide in this shadow for life,
            say to the Lord: "My refuge,
            my rock in whom I trust!"
            And he will raise you up on eagle's wings,
            bear you on the breath of dawn,
            make you to shine like the sun,
            and hold you in the palm of his hand.
2          The snare of the fowler will never capture you,
            and famine will bring you no fear;
            under God's wings your refuge,
            with faithfulness your shield.
Final refrain
            And he will raise you up on eagle's wings,
            bear you on the breath of dawn,
            make you to shine like the sun,
            and hold you in the palm of his hand;
            and hold you, hold you in the palm of his hand.
Text: Michael Joncas, b. 1957 Text © 1979 OCP Publications,
P: People of God, what do you believe?
C: We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty
maker and owner of all things
seen and unseen-known and still undiscovered.
P: People of God, what do you believe?
C: We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God.
Through him all things were made.
P: People of God, what do you believe?
C: We believe that Jesus came for us
and for our salvation.
He became human.
He suffered death and was buried.
P: People of God, what do you believe?
C: On the third day he rose again,
He ascended into heaven.
We believe that he will come again
and his kingdom will have no end.
P: People of God, what do you believe?
C: We believe in the Holy Spirit, the giver of life,
who works as one with the Father and Son.
We believe the Holy Spirit is at work
in the Old Testament and the New.
We believe the Spirit of God is constantly at work
in and through the church.
Children of God, rejoice. Mend your ways, encourage one another, agree with one another, live in peace with God and one another. The peace of the Lord be with you always.
We share with joy and thanksgiving what you have first given us: ourselves, our time, and our possessions. Living Waters is a generous people offering ourselves to God and neighbor, and with the Church through all the ages, giving thanks for the saving love in Jesus.
P: O God,
receive these gifts as you receive us:
like a mother receives her child, with arms open wide.
Nourish us anew in your tender care,
and empower us in faithful service
to tend to others with this same love,
through Jesus Christ, our saving grace.
P Trusting in God’s power to heal, let us offer our prayers for all who are in need, responding to each petition with words from today’s psalm, “We await your steadfast love.”
A brief silence.
P We pray for the church’s many ministries of healing; for hospital, hospice, and military chaplains; for those serving in prisons, camps, and institutions; and for bishops and pastors facing illness of which we are unaware. We pray to you, saving God:
C: We await your steadfast love.
P We pray for the health of the earth; for its myriad animals and their habitats; and for all created life that has been harmed by human misuse. We pray to you, provident God:
C: We await your steadfast love.
P We pray for the health of people around the globe, especially for the people of Ethiopia and India; for international health organizations; for local and national medical services; and for school officials and teachers facing the pandemic. We pray to you, benevolent God:
C: We await your steadfast love.
P We pray for wholeness in our nation; for the safety of our nation’s elected leaders; for an end to domestic violence; for an end to prejudice; and for an end to civic terrorism. We pray to you, sovereign God:
C: We await your steadfast love.
P We pray for a halt to the pandemic; for all who have contracted Covid-19; for health workers; for the prompt distribution of vaccines; and for all who today will die from the virus. We pray to you, compassionate God:
C: We await your steadfast love.
P We pray for all who are sick and suffering; for those with chronic pain; for those experiencing despair; for infants born impaired and for the aged in decline; and for all whom we name here: . .
Tee, Robert, Pat, Brad, Lynn, Sergio, Peter, Vera, Martje, Eric Sr and Suzanne, Cathy, Louise, Linda, Lisa, Cecelia, Diane, Izzie, Kallan, Mary Anne, Brand, Betty
We pray to you, consoling God:.
C: We await your steadfast love.
P We pray finally for ourselves; for steady trust in your power; and for health in our weakness. We pray to you, loving God:
C: We await your steadfast love.
P We praise you for the faithful departed and for their lives of service to others; and we pray that despite sickness and death, at our end we join with them to find our wholeness in you. We pray to you, eternal God:
C: We await your steadfast love.
P Merciful God, hear the prayers of your people, spoken or silent, for the sake of the one who dwells among us, your Son, Jesus Christ our Savior.
C: Amen.
P:         Let us pray with confidence in the words our Savior gave us:
C:         Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as 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.
P:        God the creator strengthen you.
Jesus the beloved fill you.
And the Holy Spirit the comforter + keep you in peace,
C:        Amen
P:         Go in peace. Be the light of Christ
C:         Thanks be to God
VIDEO SENDING SONG                                                                                                                   
SENDING SONG ELW 661 "I love to tell the story"
1              I love to tell the story
                of unseen things above,
                of Jesus and his glory,
                of Jesus and his love.
                I love to tell the story,
                because I know it's true;
                it satisfies my longings
                as nothing else would do.
                I love to tell the story;
                'twill be my theme in glory
                to tell the old, old story
                of Jesus and his love.
2              I love to tell the story:
                how pleasant to repeat
                what seems, each time I tell it,
                more wonderfully sweet!
                I love to tell the story,
                for some have never heard
                the message of salvation
                from God's own holy word. Refrain
Text: Katherine Hankey, 1834-1911
VIDEO ANNOUNCEMENTS                                                                                                              
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1ST Sunday: Confirmation
2nd Sunday: “Can I Get a Witness” (Highs/Lows in a Hope-Filled Future)
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4th Sunday: Virtual Fellowship Hall
5th Sunday: “Live and Remote” Worship



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