January 15, 2017

Year A, First Sunday After the Epiphany

First Sunday after the Epiphany :: Green ::  

Isaiah 42:1-9 :: Psalm 29 :: Acts 10:34-43 :: Matthew 3:13-17

Call to Worship (Responsive)    

Adapted from Psalm 29

L: Ascribe to the LORD, O heavenly beings;

P: Ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.

L: Ascribe to the LORD the glory of God’s name,

P: Worship the LORD in holy splendor.

L: The voice of the LORD is powerful,

P: The voice of the LORD is full of majesty.

L: May the LORD give strength to the people;

P: And bless the people with peace!


Here we are again, O God, called together by you for a time of worship.  We come ready to sing your praises and offer our prayers.  Help us to know your presence in the praise and worship, in the reading and study of your word, in the times of prayer and reflection.  Meet us at your Holy Table, and guide us in your truth.  We have come, O God, because you have indeed called us here, and it is righteous to obey your call.  Make this time of worship worthy of your calling we pray in the Holy Name of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Stewardship Moment:

The First Sunday after the Epiphany is the time traditionally set aside to remember the baptism of Jesus.  It is a time when we remember that even though Jesus was without sin, he instituted baptism as an act of obedience to God.  Today we still baptize people as an outward sign of obedience to the experience of grace which has happened within.  We joyfully fill the baptistery any time someone recognizes the grace of God and wishes to claim their newfound allegiance to Christ.  Yes, it uses a lot of water.  Yes, it could even be viewed as extravagant. That is precisely one of the reason we give: to be able to extravagantly celebrate when someone comes to faith in Christ.  We will now receive the tithes and offerings which make the extravagant act of baptism possible.

Offertory Prayer: 

We bring our gifts O God before you because we believe.  We believe you are calling new faith to life.  We believe we will be blessed with the opportunity to celebrate baptism.  We believe we are called to change lives, and our gifts help make this possible. Bless these gifts and use them to help others come to know the love and joy of life in Christ our Lord.

Communion Meditation: 

When we celebrate communion, we remember our baptism.  We remember the commitment to follow Christ as Lord and Savior.  We recall that as we take the bread and cup, symbols of the body and blood of Christ, we too symbolically died with Christ and were raised in to newness of life.  As we gather around this table today, remember that you have died to sin and were raised to new life.  Remember that Christ gave his body and blood for you.  Remember?

Year A, Second Sunday After the Epiphany

Second Sunday after the Epiphany :: Green ::

 Isaiah 49:1-7 :: Psalm 40:1-11 :: 1 Corinthians 1:1-9 :: John 1:29-42


Call to Worship (Responsive)    

Adapted from Psalm 40

L: Wait patiently and the LORD will incline to us and hear our cries.

P: The LORD drew us up from the pit and set our feet upon the rock.

L: The LORD has put a song of praise in our mouths,

P: Happy are those who put their trust in the LORD.

L: You have multiplied, O God, your wondrous deeds to us,

P: Nothing can be compared to you, O God.

L: Do not withhold your mercy from us,

P: Your steadfast love and faithfulness will keep us safe forever.


We are assembled, O God of grace and mercy, gathered as your people.  We have come together because you have called us, each by name, in your own inimitable way.  We believe O God that no one is here by mistake or accident.  It is you who has called us and claimed us.  We come remembering our baptism, or hoping for it.  We come remembering your sacrifice, and hoping to reclaim it. We come remembering your blessings and answers to prayers, and hoping for more blessings.  We come because you have called us to come.  Draw ever nearer to us in this time of worship, and make us aware of the presence of your Spirit.  We pray in the name of Jesus the Christ.

Stewardship Moment:

There are things in life we cannot afford.  For some it’s a house or car or exotic vacation, for others it may be shoes or bread.  Whatever it is, we look at the money available to us and see there isn’t enough for what we want.  Sometimes it is a true lack of resources when we find ourselves in that situation.  More often, it’s a lack of planning.  Every once in a while, it is precisely because of planning.  When what I want is simply something I cannot afford YET, it is probably because I am planning for it.   Sometimes I hear about people that think they cannot afford to tithe or give to God.  That one puzzles me because I cannot afford NOT to give.  I have learned that you cannot out give God.  God has too many resources.  And every time I try, I fail.  Make this year the one you try to out give God.  I think you’ll find giving suddenly becomes something you cannot afford NOT to do.

Offertory Prayer: 

Take our gifts, O God, and use them.  Multiply their effectiveness and purpose.  We bring them out of our love for you, your church, and the mission you are calling forth.  We ask your blessing on the church’s mission, all who work for it, and all who will be touched by it.  Amen.

Communion Meditation: 

The apostle Paul greets the church at Corinth with these words:

“To those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, together with all those, who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours.”

When we come around this table we are reminded that we are called to be saints.  Not sometime in the future, but now . . . AND into the future.  We are called to be saints because Christ has made us holy through the gift of his sacrifice.  We come to remember that gift.  We come to refuel ourselves for the journey ahead.  We come to be reminded we are saints in the eyes of Christ our Lord, even when we do not feel all that saintly.  Come and remember that Christ has sanctified – that is, made a saint of – YOU!


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Scripture Quotations from the New Revised Standard Version. Online Scripture links a service of the Jean and Alexander Heard Divinity Library, of Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN. Check out all of the awesome resources there at http://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu