Sunday, February 5, 2023

The Holy Communion on the Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany, February 5, 2023, 10:30 a.m.

 The livestream may be found here.



FIRST READING: Isaiah 58 is written after the return of the Jews from exile in Babylon. The people question why God’s glory has not returned to the land as they had been promised; the prophet responds by pointing the people to their sins and urging repentance so that they can receive the blessings God wishes to give them.


SECOND READING: St Paul continues to contrast the worldly view of ‘wisdom’ as a strategy for spiritual advantage with the wisdom of Christ crucified, which seeks to serve God and others. An earthly spirituality cannot understand the cross, but by the Holy Spirit a person comprehends the paradoxical wisdom of God.


GOSPEL: Jesus calls the disciples ‘salt of the earth’ and ‘light of the world.’ Salt is both a seasoning and preservative. Jesus calls himself the light of the world in John 9, and Matthew 3 refers to the coming of Jesus as the dawn of light for God’s people.


In the Baptismal rite, a candle is given to the newly baptized (or the parent/sponsor) with the words, ‘Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.’ It is significant that the candle is lit from the Paschal candle, which represents Christ’s risen presence. Christ is the Light, and we bear that light to others.


Jesus was accused by the Pharisees of wishing to abolish the Law of Moses. He says that he comes not to abolish but to fulfill; but this does mean that his approach to the Law will be different than the approach of the Pharisees, and that his disciples’ righteousness will actually exceed the righteousness of the Pharisees. This might have seemed impossible to those listening, but Jesus’ dramatic statement may have served to make them pay closer attention to the instructions that follow.


OPENING MUSIC                                     Rise, Shine, You People - Carl Schalk

Here in This Place - James Biery 




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 718                 Here in This Place



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



Heavenly Father,

you have called your Church

to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world.

  Give us vigorous faith and a love that is genuine,

  so that all may see the works we do and give you the glory.

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

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.                           




Jesus said:

‘Do not think I have come to abolish the law or the prophets;

I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.’

  Let us hear the Word of the Lord.

Matthew 5:17


FIRST READING        Isaiah 58:1-12


1Shout out, do not hold back!
  Lift up your voice like a trumpet!
 Announce to my people their rebellion,
  to the house of Jacob their sins.
2Yet day after day they seek me
  and delight to know my ways,
 as if they were a nation that practiced righteousness
  and did not forsake the ordinance of their God;
 they ask of me righteous judgments,
  they delight to draw near to God.
3“Why do we fast, but you do not see?
  Why humble ourselves, but you do not notice?”
 Look, you serve your own interest on your fast day,
  and oppress all your workers.
4Look, you fast only to quarrel and to fight
  and to strike with a wicked fist.
 Such fasting as you do today
  will not make your voice heard on high.
5Is such the fast that I choose,
  a day to humble oneself?
 Is it to bow down the head like a bulrush,
  and to lie in sackcloth and ashes?
 Will you call this a fast,
  a day acceptable to the Lord?
6Is not this the fast that I choose:
  to loose the bonds of injustice,
  to undo the thongs of the yoke,
 to let the oppressed go free,
  and to break every yoke?
7Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
  and bring the homeless poor into your house;
 when you see the naked, to cover them,
  and not to hide yourself from your own kin?
8Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
  and your healing shall spring up quickly;
 your vindicator shall go before you,
  the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
9Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
  you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am.
 If you remove the yoke from among you,
  the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil,
10if you offer your food to the hungry
  and satisfy the needs of the afflicted,
 then your light shall rise in the darkness
  and your gloom be like the noonday.
11The Lord will guide you continually,
  and satisfy your needs in parched places,
  and make your bones strong;
 and you shall be like a watered garden,
  like a spring of water,
  whose waters never fail.

 12Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;

  you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
 you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
  the restorer of streets to live in.


the Word of the Lord.  

  Thanks be to God.


PSALM 112:1-9



1 Hallelujah! Happy are they who | fear the Lord*

                and have great delight in | his commandments!

2 Their descendants will be mighty | in the land;*

                the generation of the upright | will be blessed.

3 Wealth and riches will be | in their house,*

                and their righteousness will | last forever.

4 Light shines in the darkness | for the upright;*

                the righteous are merciful and full | of compassion.

5 It is good for them to be gener- | ous in lending*

                and to manage their af- | fairs with justice.

6 For they will nev- | er be shaken;*

                the righteous will be kept in everlast- | ing remembrance.

7 They will not be afraid of any | evil rumors;*

                their heart is right; they put their trust | in the Lord.

8 Their heart is established and | will not shrink,*

                until they see their desire up- | on their enemies.

9 They have given freely | to the poor,*

                and their righteousness stands fast forever;

                they will hold up their | head with honor.                                  



SECOND READING                     1 Corinthians 2:1-12


1When I came to you, brothers and sisters, I did not come proclaiming the mystery of God to you in lofty words or wisdom. 2For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified. 3And I came to you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling. 4My speech and my proclamation were not with plausible words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God.
6Yet among the mature we do speak wisdom, though it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to perish. 7But we speak God’s wisdom, secret and hidden, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. 8None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

 9But, as it is written,
 “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
  nor the human heart conceived,
 what God has prepared for those who love him”—
10these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11For what human being knows what is truly human except the human spirit that is within? So also no one comprehends what is truly God’s except the Spirit of God. 12Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the gifts bestowed on us by God.


the Word of the Lord.                                                                                                  

  Thanks be to God.



VERSE     John 8:12                                                 Setting by David Schack

Alleluia. Jesus said: I am the Light of the world; those who follow me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. Alleluia.



Gospel             Matthew 5:13-20

The Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew.         

  Glory to you, O Lord.


[Jesus said:] 13“You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.

14“You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. 15No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.
17“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. 18For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. 19Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”


The Gospel of the Lord.                                               

  Praise to you, O Christ.







Green LBW 393              Rise, Shine, You People


 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.


God of grace, your Church bears the message of Christ. We pray for the mission of the Church.


Silence is kept.


Lord, have mercy.

  Lord, have mercy.


You have brought us together as a congregation to live out the call to discipleship. We pray for the renewal of our faith family.


Silence is kept.


Lord, have mercy.

  Lord, have mercy.




You have given us a good land as our heritage and called us to act as responsible citizens. We pray for the well-being of our nation.  


Silence is kept.


Lord, have mercy.

  Lord, have mercy.


You created humanity to be one family, and desire that all people should live together in peace and harmony.  We pray for the peace of the world.


Silence is kept.


Lord, have mercy.

  Lord, have mercy.


You promise relief to all who suffer and comfort to those who mourn. We pray for the healing and strengthening of those in need.


The People may intercede for others aloud or in silence.


Lord, have mercy.

  Lord, have mercy.


The faithful who have died have gone before us into the kingdom of heaven. We give thanks for the witness of the saints.


Silence is kept.


Lord, we give thanks.

  Lord, we give thanks.


Holy God, gracious Father, receive our 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.







Matthew 5:3, 5-6                                                           Setting by Barry L. Bobb

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.




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 called us to be salt of the earth and light of the world; and by his Spirit has revealed to us the things you have prepared for those who love you. 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


God gives food to those who fear him;

   He is ever mindful of his covenant.                                                Psalm 112:5


We adore Christ, present in bread and wine.




Choir                                We Are Marching in the Light of God 

            Text and Music/ South African


Siyahamb’ ekukhanyen' ’kwenkhos….

We are marching in the light of God….

     We are praying in the light of God….

        We are singing in the light of God….


(The song is a South African protest song, used by Christians as they walked to gatherings in the movement to eliminate apartheid in their country. Their journeys were often many, many miles in length.)

 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 405 Forth in Thy Name, O Lord, I Go

1      Forth in thy name, O Lord, I go,

        my daily labor to pursue;

        thee, only thee, resolved to know

        in all I think or speak or do.


2      The task thy wisdom has assigned,

        oh, let me cheerfully fulfill;

        in all my works thy presence find,

        and prove thy good and perfect will.


3      Thee may I set at my right hand,

        whose eyes my inmost substance see,

        and labor on at thy command,

        and offer all my works to thee.


4     Give me to bear thine easy yoke,

        and ev’ry moment watch and pray,

        and still to things eternal look,

        and hasten to thy glorious day;


5      For thee delightfully employ

        whate’er thy bounteous grace has giv’n,

        and run my course with even joy,

        and closely walk with thee to heav’n.


Text: Charles Wesley, 1707-1788



Go in peace. Serve the Lord.                                                 

  Thanks be to God!

Lutheran Book of Worship Daily Scripture Readings


Monday, February 6: Isaiah 57:14-21; Galatians 6:11-18; Mark 9:30-41

Tuesday, February 7: Isaiah 58:1-12; 2 Timothy 1:1-14; Mark 9:42-50

Wednesday, February 8: Isaiah 59:1-21; 2 Timothy 1:15-2:13; Mark 10:1-16

Thursday, February 9: Isaiah 60:1-22; 2 Timothy 2:14-26; Mark 10:17-31

Friday, February 10: Isaiah 61:1-9; 2 Timothy 3:1-17; Mark 10:32-45

Saturday, February 11: Isaiah 61:10-62:5; 2 Timothy 4:1-8; Mark 10:46-52

Sunday, February 12: Isaiah 62:6-12; 1 John 2:3-11; John 8:12-19



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.

Moyers, Mike. Shine, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. [retrieved January 30, 2023]. Original source: Mike Moyers,

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