Sunday, January 29, 2023

The Holy Communion on the Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany

  The livestream may be found here.

The Sea of Galilee near the Church of the Beatitudes, Israel



The ‘beatitudes’ begin what is called the Sermon on the Mount, one of five major blocks of Jesus’ teaching in the Gospel of Matthew. (Interestingly enough, the corresponding section in Luke has Jesus giving the Sermon on a plain!)


Jesus sits down to teach. In the ancient world and in some places still around the world, sitting, not standing, is the posture of teaching. This is why we have the word ‘cathedral.’ It is the parish church of a Roman Catholic bishop, where he has his cathedra, or ‘chair,’ from which he teaches.     


Jesus, in epigrams easily committed to memory, defines the blessed life. It is not a method for worldly success, but indeed it is antithetical to the ‘successful’ life, whether in the secular world or even the religious sphere. It is a life of total dependence upon God’s just doings, mercy and peacefulness, and a commitment to living out those Godly virtues in life. It is the life to which Jesus is called and the life that he lives for our sake.


In their own ways, the prophet Micah, the Psalmist, and St Paul also expound upon the blessed life. Micah depicts a God who desires neither animal nor human sacrifice, but the sacrifice of a life lived for him. Psalm 15 shows that the person who does rightly by the neighbor is the one who can stand in God’s presence. St Paul describes those who either demand that God do great things to prove his power or teach secret wisdom for the blessed life. The message of God crucified for all confounds them – God in Christ comes neither with worldly power or worldly wisdom, but a power and wisdom revealed only to the poor in spirit who mourn their sin and meekly wait upon his revealing in glory.


OPENING MUSIC                 O God of Mercy, God of Light - David Cherwien

                                                                                                    Rejoice in God’s Saints - J. M. Strobel 





The sign of the cross may be made by all in remembrance of their Baptism.


In the name of the Father, and of the X Son, and of the Holy Spirit.



Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you and worthily magnify your holy name, through Jesus Christ our Lord.



If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins, God who is faithful and just will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.


Silence for reflection and self-examination.


Most merciful God,

  we confess that we are in bondage to sin

  and cannot free ourselves.

  We have sinned against you

  in thought, word, and deed,

  by what we have done

  and by what we have left undone.

  We have not loved you with our whole heart;

  we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.

  For the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ, have mercy on us. Forgive us,

   renew us, and lead us, so that we may delight in your will and walk

   in your ways, to the glory of your holy name. Amen


Almighty God, in his mercy, has given his Son to die for us and, for his

sake, forgives us all our sins. As a called and ordained minister of the

Church of Christ, and by his authority, I therefore declare to you the

entire forgiveness of all your sins, in the name of the Father, and of the X

Son, and of the Holy Spirit.







I will go to the altar of God;

  the God of my joy and gladness.


WHymn             Blue WOV 689                   Rejoice in God’s Saints



The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God,

and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

  And also with you.                                                                             2 Corinthians 13:13




The Lord be with you.

  And also with you.


O God, teach us the hidden wisdom of the Gospel,

  so that we may hunger and thirst for holiness,

  work tirelessly for peace,

  and be counted among those

  who seek first the blessedness of your kingdom.

We ask this through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord,

who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.                           




The message of the cross

is foolishness to those who are perishing,

  But to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

1 Corinthians 1:18


FIRST READING        Micah 6:1-8


1Hear what the Lord says:
  Rise, plead your case before the mountains,
  and let the hills hear your voice.
2Hear, you mountains, the controversy of the Lord,
  and you enduring foundations of the earth;
 for the Lord has a controversy with his people,
  and he will contend with Israel.
3“O my people, what have I done to you?
  In what have I wearied you? Answer me!

4For I brought you up from the land of Egypt,

  and redeemed you from the house of slavery;
 and I sent before you Moses,
  Aaron, and Miriam.
5O my people, remember now what King Balak of Moab devised,
  what Balaam son of Beor answered him,
 and what happened from Shittim to Gilgal,
  that you may know the saving acts of the Lord.”
6“With what shall I come before the Lord,
  and bow myself before God on high?
 Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
  with calves a year old?
7Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
  with ten thousands of rivers of oil?
 Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,
  the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”
8He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
  and what does the Lord require of you
 but to do justice, and to love kindness,
  and to walk humbly with your God?


the Word of the Lord.  

  Thanks be to God.





1 Lord, who may dwell in your | tabernacle?*

                Who may abide upon your | holy hill?

2 Whoever leads a blameless life and does | what is right,*

                who speaks the truth | from his heart,

3 there is no guile upon his tongue; he does no evil | to his friend;*

                he does not heap contempt up- | on his neighbor.

4 In his sight the wicked | is rejected,*

                but he honors those who | fear the Lord.

5 He has sworn to | do no wrong*

                and does not take | back his word.

6 He does not give his money in | hope of gain,*

                nor does he take a bribe a- | gainst the innocent.

7 Whoever | does these things*

shall never be | overthrown.        




SECOND READING                     1 Corinthians 1:18-31


18The message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written,
 “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
  and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”
20Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?

21For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe. 22For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, 23but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.
26Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, 29so that no one might boast in the presence of God. 30He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31in order that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”


the Word of the Lord.                                                                                                  

  Thanks be to God.



VERSE Luke 4:18                                                     Setting by David Schack

Alleluia. the spirit of the Lord is upon me; he has anointed me to preach good news. Alleluia.


Gospel             Matthew 5:1-12

The Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew.         

  Glory to you, O Lord.


1When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. 2Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
3“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
6“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they

       will be filled.
7“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
8“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
9“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
10“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for

         theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and

         utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.

       12Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the

       same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”


The Gospel of the Lord.                                               

  Praise to you, O Christ.







Green LBW 425              O God of Mercy, God of Light

1      O God of mercy, God of light,

        in love and mercy infinite,

        teach us, as ever in your sight,

        to live our lives in you.


2      You sent your Son to die for all,

        that our lost world might hear your call;

        oh, hear us lest we stray and fall!

        We rest our hope in you.


3      Teach us the lesson Jesus taught:

        to feel for those his blood has bought,

        that ev’ry deed and word and thought

        may work a work for you.


4     For all are kindred, far and wide,

        since Jesus Christ for all has died;

        grant us the will, and grace provide

        to love them all in you.


5      In sickness, sorrow, want, or care,

        each other’s burdens help us share;

        may we, where help is needed, there

        give help as though to you.


6      And may your Holy Spirit move

        all those who live to live in love,

        till you receive in heav’n above

        those who have lived to you.


Text: Godfrey Thring, 1823-1903, alt.

CONFESSION OF FAITH                                                         Apostles’ Creed


I believe in God, the Father almighty,

                creator of heaven and earth.


I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.

                He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit

                                and born of the virgin Mary.

                He suffered under Pontius Pilate,

                                was crucified, died, and was buried.

                He descended into hell.

                On the third day he rose again.

                He ascended into heaven,

                                and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

                He will come again 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




Called as disciples to prayer and praise, let us pray in the Spirit to the Father.


Silence is kept.


Holy God, let your Church proclaim the message of the cross. Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


Make us hunger and thirst for your kingdom of mercy and peace. Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


Hear us as we pray for our Bishop, Dan; for those who preach and teach in the whole Church, and for all who suffer for the sake of the Gospel. Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


Give wisdom to those who govern; the Congress, our President, Joseph, and his administration, the Courts, and all state and local legislators, governors and magistrates. Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.

Holy God, hear us as we pray for all in need and for those who have asked for our prayers.


The People may intercede for others aloud or in silence.


Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


We give you thanks for those who have walked in faith and live in eternal blessedness. Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


Holy God, gracious Father, receive these prayers and petitions through Jesus Christ, our Lord.




The peace of the Lord be with you always.             And also with you.


The People exchange a sign of peace with the simple words, Peace be with you.



The Lord’s Table is prepared.




Psalm 31:16, 19                                                       Setting by Henry V. Gerike 

Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your steadfast love! Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have laid up for those who fear you, and wrought for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of all people. 



Father, look upon the face of Jesus Christ your Son,

who gave up his life to set all people free.

  From the rising of the sun to its setting,

  may your name be great among the nations,

  and in every place a pure sacrifice of praise be offered to your glory.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.



It is indeed right and salutary that we should at all times and in all places offer thanks and praise to you, O Lord, holy Father, through Christ our Lord. He calls them blessed who wait upon God’s justice and mercy, and the message of his cross reaches to the ends of the earth; he walked humbly with his God so that God’s people might share in his humility, and so at last with the saints come to the revealing of his glory. And so with the Church on earth and the hosts of heaven, we praise your name and join their unending hymn:

The pastor leads the people in praying the Eucharistic canon:


You are indeed holy, almighty and merciful God;

                you are most holy, and great is the majesty of your glory.

You so loved the world that you gave your only Son,

                that whoever believes in him

may not perish but have eternal life.

Having come into the world, he fulfilled for us your holy will

                and accomplished our salvation.


In the night in which he was betrayed,

                our Lord Jesus took bread, and gave thanks;

                broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying:

                Take and eat; this is my body, given for you.

Do this for the remembrance of me.


Again, after supper, he took the cup, gave thanks,

                and gave it for all to drink, saying:

                This cup is the new covenant in my blood,

                shed for you and for all people

for the forgiveness of sin.

Do this for the remembrance of me.


Remembering, therefore, his salutary command,

                his life-giving Passion and death,

                his glorious resurrection and ascension,

and his promise to come again,

                we give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty,

                not as we ought, but as we are able;

                and we implore you mercifully

to accept our praise and thanksgiving,

                and, with your Word and Holy Spirit,

to bless us, your servants,

                and these your own gifts of bread and wine;

                that we and all who share

in the body and blood of your Son

                may be filled with heavenly peace and joy,

                and, receiving the forgiveness of sin,

may be sanctified in soul and body,

                and have our portion with all your saints.


All honor and glory are yours, O God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,

in your holy Church, now and forever.


In the presence of Christ, we pray to his Father using the words he gave us.


Christ is in our midst.

                By the power of the Spirit,

                we pray to his Father, saying:



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                                  

Matthew 6:9-15


Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,

  for they shall be filled.                                                                      Matthew 5:6


We adore Christ, present in bread and wine.







Choir                                Oh, Praise the Gracious Power

Text/ Thomas H. Troeger

Music/ Carol Doran


Please follow text at Blue WOV  750 as the choir sings.


 When all have received, the People stand at the direction of the pastor.


The body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ strengthen you and keep you in his grace.    




Almighty God,

you gave your Son both as a sacrifice for sin

and a model of the godly life. 

Enable us to receive him always with thanksgiving,

and to conform our lives to his;

through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.







Silence for meditation.



The Lord bless you and keep you.

The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you.

The Lord look upon you with favor X and give you peace.




Green LBW 316               Jesus, the Very Thought of You



Go in peace. Serve the Lord.                                                 

  Thanks be to God!

 Lutheran Book of Worship Daily Scripture Readings


Monday, January 23: Isaiah 48:1-11; Galatians 1:1-17; Mark 5:21-43

Tuesday, January 24: Isaiah 48:12-22; Galatians 1:18-2:10; Mark 6:1-13

Wednesday, January 25: Isaiah 49:1-12; Galatians 2:11-21; Mark 6:13-29

Thursday, January 26: Isaiah 49:13-26; Galatians 3:1-14; Mark 6:30-46

Friday, January 27: Isaiah 50:1-11; Galatians 3:15-22; Mark 6:47-56

Saturday, January 28: Isaiah 51:1-8; Galatians 3:23-29; Mark 7:1-23

Sunday, January 29: Isaiah 51:9-16; Hebrews 11:8-16; John 7:14-31




From Sundays and Copyright 2023 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.

Reprinted by permission under Augsburg Fortress Liturgies Annual License #20540.

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Common Worship: Times and Seasons, material from which is included in this

service, is copyright © The Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England, 2006.

Prayer of the Day from Opening Prayers: Collects in Contemporary Language,

copyright 1997 International Commission on English in the Liturgy. All rights reserved.

Peter Koenig, St. Peter and St. Andrew.

Agnus Day appears with the permission of



St Stephen Lutheran Church

55 Forsythe Road

Pittsburgh PA 15220

(412) 279-5868


Saturday Evening Worship – 6:30 pm

Sunday Morning Worship – 10:30 am