Sunday January 7, 2018
Year B, First Sunday after Epiphany
First Sunday after Epiphany :: Green ::
NOTE: Following the First Sunday after Epiphany, I have included resources if you are celebrating Epiphany Sunday on this day.
Call to Worship (Responsive)
Adapted from Psalm 29 (See also Psalter 737 – Chalice Hymnal)
L: Ascribe to the LORD the glory of God’s name;
P: Worship the LORD in holy splendor.
L: The voice of the LORD shakes the wilderness;
P: and all in God’s temple say, “Glory!”
L: May the LORD give strength to the people!
P: and bless the people with peace!
Invocation: (From Genesis)
O God of all creation, you have made the heavens and the earth, and formed them from the void. You have spoken the light into existence, and called it good. As we come to worship your power and majesty, as we come to proclaim your mighty acts, receive our worship, O God, and call it “good”.
Sometimes I wonder if the act of baptism is something we spend too little time talking about. In Paul’s encounter with the people of Ephesus, he asks what kind of baptism they had received. They replied “John’s baptism”. Paul goes on to point out that “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, in Jesus.” Then Paul proceeds to baptize in Jesus’ name, and offers a prayer for the Holy Spirit. The story goes on to say they spoke in tongues and prophesied. Yet those are not the only gifts of the Spirit: and one of the gifts we all receive is the burning need to give back to God that which God has given us. What baptism were you baptized into? Was it in the name of Christ? Or was it in the cause of repentance? Let us now receive the gifts of the church as ones who have received the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Almighty God, who sends the spirit in such mysterious ways, we bring these gifts as signs of hope. Bless them and use them, we pray that the Gospel may become known from our doorsteps to the ends of the earth.
Mark’s Gospel begins with the story of John the Baptist and a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. In the Acts of the Apostles, Paul expands John’s theology of baptism in Ephesus to include the gift of the Holy Spirit, something the Ephesians had not yet heard about. The table of the LORD not ONLY reminds us of the gift of forgiveness, but the promise of life in the Spirit. As we come, eat, drink, and remember, let us also rejoin and reclaim the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Call to Worship (Responsive)
Adapted from Psalm 72
L: Give the King your justice, O God and your righteousness to a king’s son.
P: May he judge your people with righteousness, and your poor with justice.
L: May the mountains yield prosperity for the people, and the hills in righteousness.
P: May he defend the cause of the poor of the people;
L: And give deliverance to the needy.
P: May he live while the sun endures, and as long as the moon;
L: Throughout all generations.
P: Praise the King of kings!
We have gathered through these twelve days of Christmas, O God, and sung our praises to the Newborn Christ. Today as we celebrate the Epiphany, O God, make us mindful of Christ as King of kings. Help us to know the importance of the kings who bow before him. Help us to see the majesty which earth has recognized. You have called us together to worship the King. Let us do so in beauty and truth, guided by your Spirit, and faithful to your word. Help us O God to know your presence in our worship, and to offer you our best in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and King.
Did you make a New Year’s Resolution? Did you make a plan to exercise more, or lose weight? Did you plan to get to work earlier, or stay later? Did you plan to spend more time with family, or less? What about the Spiritual elements of your life? Have you considered making a Spiritual Resolution? Perhaps you could resolve to read more scripture, or worship more often. Or you could resolve to spend more time in prayer or service to others. Perhaps this could be the year to choose to begin tithing. Whatever it may be, the church stands ready to help you succeed in your Spiritual New Year’s Resolution. We will now receive the tithes and offerings which make these Spiritual Growth supporting ministries possible.
We have turned our calendars to a new year, and turned out to celebrate that newness in your Sanctuary. Now we have also brought our tithes and offerings. Bless these gifts, O God, and use them to empower spiritual growth. Make our ministries ever more meaningful and full as we seek to help others grow in you.
Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh: the gifts of the kings before the Christ child. What do we make of that message today? How do we deal with the extravagance these gifts represent? These gifts make more sense around this table. They make more sense because we can see their significance through the shadow of the cross. Here at the table, we too bring gifts: we bring bread and the fruit of the vine. We present them before Christ, who uses them to remind us that he too has given us the gift of grace. Come to Christ’s table and celebrate the gifts of our Lord, our Savior, and our King.
All material copyright 2017-2018 The Jubilee Fund, Inc., and appears on this site via partnership agreement with the Center for Faith and Giving. Permission granted to reproduce and use any of the above for Churches and Congregations to the glory of God without requirement of compensation or notification.
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