January 22, 2012

First Sunday after Epiphany :: Green :: Jonah 3:1-5, 10 :: Psalm 62:5-12 ::

I Corinthians 7:29-31 :: Mark 1:14-20

Call to Worship (Responsive)
Adapted from Psalm 62
L: For God alone my soul waits in silence, for my hope is from God.
P: God alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
L: On God rests our deliverance and our honor;
P: Our refuge is in God.
L: Trust in God at all times, O people; pour out your hearts before God;
P: God is our refuge and our strength. Amen.

O God of might and glory, we come before you seeking to know your will. Like Nineveh of Old, we accept our sinfulness, confess it before and seek to repent. Send us your blessing, O God, instead of calamity. Guide us in our efforts to turn from evil, and help us as we seek to Worship you in word and deed.

Stewardship Moment:
During the 2011 General Assembly the Christian Church Foundation offered a workshop on Planned Giving and Estate Planning on the same day that Craig Wiseman, Disciple Song Writer who penned “Live Like You Were Dying”, offered a concert. A friend quipped during the concert, they should have called their workshop “GIVE like you were dying.”
While we can all laugh, sometimes nervously at the idea, the Gospel presents an urgency that the present world is passing away, and we should be living as though it is true. What ministry, program, or charity would you support aggressively if you knew the end was coming? In this year, perhaps beginning today, I invite you to give, like you were dying.

Offertory Prayer:
Everlasting God, who lives in eternity. We bring our gifts before you in the here and now. Forgive us for being creatures of time and place, and living in that way. Help us to be constant seekers of your reign as our first priority. Bless these, our gifts, and use them, we pray that others may hear the Good News. We offer these gifts and this prayer in the name of Christ, by Christ’s grace, and for Christ’s sake. Amen.

Communion Meditation:
In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus not only declares “the kingdom of God has come near”, but also begins to call the Disciples. “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” I sometimes wonder if Communion Tables should look less like Sacrifice Altars, and more like fishing boats. Perhaps to remind us that this table, which calls us to remember the sacrifice of Jesus is table which is meant to be shared. If this was only a family table, which served just us until the last of us died, it quickly would become pointless. As we remember the sacrifice of our Lord, let us also remember the call and commission of the Lord. And may this meal, nourish our souls, that we can go and fish for people. 

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