January 26, 2020

January 26, 2020

Worship Resources for
the Center for Faith and Giving

Third Sunday after Epiphany

Isaiah 9:1-4

Psalm 27:1, 4-9

1 Corinthians 1:10-18

Matthew 4:12-23

Call to Worship  
(from Isaiah 9:1-4)

One:  Isaiah calls out:  “The people who walked in darkness have seen a
great light!”
Many:  Here!  Now!
We’ll keep our eyes peeled for the glory which is coming!
One:  Together, let’s bid “adieu” to burdens and oppression.
Many:  All who live in a land of deep darkness – on US has light shined!
One:  No longer will there be gloom!
Many:  We come together to rejoice.

Opening Prayer

God of Light, Love and Life,
even when we struggle in our individual lives, and our communities seem
mired in darkness, we turn to you and to your desire for all your creation.
As we offer you our praise this morning, renew in us the confidence that your Light is here, working in us through your Holy Spirit.  Accept our praise as you call us again to live fully immersed in you.

Moment for Stewardship 

For those who follow the cycle of scripture readings we know as the lectionary, we start in Advent, re-telling the story of Jesus.  Remember last December?  Anticipation, birth, baptism, and today we read of the beginning of Jesus’ ministry in Galilee.

From this early scripture in Matthew 5, we hear Jesus calling people to follow him.  Do you recognize that call?  Many of us have responded to Jesus’ invitation:  “Come, and I will make you fish for people”.

Like every group to which someone is invited, there are expectations for all who claim the name “disciple”.
Most of us do not have a sash to which we sew merit badges, as Scouts do.  Most of us do not have visible signs of our office, as Elks do.

But all of us have the expectation we will respond to Jesus’ call.
“Such as I have, I give…willingly” is one sung response.
Today, I invite you to live into Jesus’ expectation that we, his followers, will share our lives with gifts of time, talent and treasure.

Stepping into the Jesus story, let us present our morning offering.

Prayer of Thanksgiving (in response to Matthew 4:12-23)

God, we’ve announced the birth of our Savior. We’ve remembered Christ’s baptism and our own. We’ve acknowledged the light that came into the world though Christ.  Now we hear Jesus’ call to repent and to follow.

Receive these gifts as a sign of our intention to turn away from all that distracts us and turn toward the Way of Christ.  Use us, and use this offering, to share the Good News of your Light and Love.   Amen
(adapted from https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/worship-planning)

Invitation to Communion  (from 1 Corinthians 1)

In I Corinthians, Paul writes to the church members in Corinth who reportedly have been quarreling with one another.

(tell your own story, or use this one)

In some homes, the dinner table was one place where quarrels or expressions of anger were not allowed.  Children may have shared the same bench.  Adults sat next to one another, and were expected to be polite.  If arguments broke out, someone would step in to say “not at the table!”

Perhaps this is what happened in the Corinthian congregation.  We hear much more in I Corinthians 11, including strong rebukes for those who bring their divisions to the table.

There definitely is a time and place for working out disagreements, but it’s NOT at this table.

Instead, I invite you to take a deep breath.  (breathe in, breathe out…perhaps more than once)  Set aside all quarrels and disagreements.

Come, be willing to share one bread and one body as we meet our Lord in these gifts.  (CH 393, One Bread, One Body would be an appropriate hymn).