January 22, 2023

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  

One:  As we come together to worship God, we remember
Many: “the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light,
One: and for those who sat in the shadow of death, light has dawned.”
Many:  In the light, our joy is increased!
One:  The weight of our burdens is relieved, 
Many:  and we offer thanks to the Lord, our God!

Opening Prayer  

Mighty God, we rejoice today like those who celebrate an abundant harvest!  Your actions lift us up.  As the days grow longer and we’re drawn closer to you, we eagerly anticipate seeing signs of your Realm, the kin-dom of heaven, coming near.  Cue in us the joy of our salvation.  Renew our desire to repent – to turn once more toward your love, made visible in the light of Jesus.  AMEN

Moment for Stewardship  

Sometimes I wish the Gospel writers would have described the call of Jesus’ disciples in more detail.  It’s difficult to comprehend how these followers were able to hear Jesus’ invitation and respond in such a radical way.  Did they “count the cost” of leaving their homes, families and businesses?  What made it worth giving themselves so completely to following this wandering teacher?  Jesus did not offer them an expense account, a time-share, or any indication how he would help meet their basic needs.  Yet these people “left the boat and their father, and followed (Jesus).”

In comparison, for most of us, the call to follow Jesus demands much less.  

And yet…when we take seriously the call to become a disciple, we cannot know all the ways that will affect our life.  

Today, I invite you to take a deep breath and imagine what it could mean for you in 2023 to be a full-time disciple of Jesus.  

Might it mean sharing more of your time?  Your talents?  Your treasure?  Might it mean inviting your family, your friends, your neighbors, your co-workers, to join you in following the Way?

As we offer our tithes, offerings and financial gifts today, may we channel our inner Simon and Andrew, James and John!  Imagine the joy in heaven as we, too, accept the call to “FOLLOW”.

Prayer of Thanksgiving

O God, through offering these gifts, may we become a more open people—
open-minded in hearing your word and wisdom, 
open-hearted in healing a broken world, 
open-handed in heeding your call to charity and enacted love.  
With thanks for all good gifts, we present these tithes and offerings as symbols of our whole selves.  Amen.

(adapted from William Flewelling, 

Invitation to Communion  

Athletes in many colleges across the United States have specific expectations for what they will eat, and where that happens.  In many cafeterias and locker rooms, there is a “training table” offered to each athlete.

In a sense, that’s what we have here, at this table.  Here is food and drink specifically prepared for those who have been “recruited” to participate in the Discipleship Derby.  All who are part of the team (whether as life-time members or as new additions) are welcome here.  All are invited to remember Jesus, who has invited us to follow him.

Here you will recognize teammates who may be different in age, gender, race, family relationships – yet we are all part of the team.
Here you will find strength for the journey, and refreshment for your spirit.  
Here you will receive encouragement and challenge for living in the Light.

The table is prepared, and you are welcome in this place.