For Sunday January 18, 2015
Year B, Second Sunday after Epiphany
Call to Worship (Responsive)
Adapted from Psalm 139 (See also Psalter 765 – Chalice Hymnal)
L: O God, you have searched me and known me;
P: You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away.
L: Even before a word is on my tongue, O LORD, you know it completely.
P: Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; I cannot attain it.
L: We praise you, O God;
P: Wonderful are your works.
Invocation: (From I Samuel)
Almighty and Everlasting God, even in times when it seems you are silent and visions are rare, you call us by name. How sad it is to know how often we do not answer, or misunderstand the source of the call. Draw nearer to us, O LORD, during this time of worship. Attune our hearts to your voice and allow us the privilege of responding, “Here I am, LORD.
First Corinthians 6:20 says “for you were bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your bodies.” Paul is speaking out aggressively against prostitution in the passages before and the importance for Christians to fight against such practices. One of our partners in Global Ministries is Sister Denisse Pichardo of Cominante Ministries in the Dominican Republic. I want to briefly tell her story:
In 1994, Denisse Pichardo was asked to study sexual tourism and children working in the streets in the municipality of Boca Chica, Dominican Republic. Denisse was moved to action by what she saw: foreign tourists coming and going with local children, especially young girls, and extremely poor families driven to give or sell their children to these tourists. Her work on this project inspired her to establish Caminante Proyecto Educativo (Caminante Educational Project), an organization dedicated to empowering the most vulnerable youth in the emblematic sex tourism center of Boca Chica, Dominican Republic, with impact in neighboring Haiti and beyond. To date, Denisse and her organization have changed the lives of over 12,900 youth affected by sex tourism. She has prevented the sexual exploitation of countless children, reducing the violence in the community, while also rescuing and healing youth affected by prostitution and other violence. ( http://globalministries.org/news/lac/denisse-pichardo.html )
When we bring our tithes and offerings for local and global ministries, we support ministries like Caminante around the world. We will now receive the gifts which make these ministries possible.
Everlasting God, we bring these gifts before you with hope and thanksgiving for the ministries they will empower. Guide their use and bless those who have brought them, that your world will become a place of peace and wholeness, even for the “least of these”. We offer these gifts and this prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord.
In John’s Gospel, we receive the story of Philip sharing the news of having encountered Jesus, the Messiah, to his friend Nathaniel, and Jesus calling of Nathaniel. In this encounter, Philip utters the famous quote “Come and See” with regard to Jesus. It is such a simple invitation. Not unlike the invitation our Lord offered for the repentance of sin. “Come, take, eat and drink.” As we invite you to receive the gifts of the Lord, I invite you today to reflect upon who in your life needs to “come and see”.
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