3rd Sunday after Epiphany

Hearing God’s Call

girl with book smallYearly Rhythm

25 January 2015
The Third Sunday after Epiphany
Year B, Colour: Green

We continue to learn from the example of God-with-us (Jesus) while building a community that nurtures forgiveness and love. The colour Green for this season is the colour of new life and growth.

“Living the life of Jesus, day by day, until one day it becomes our own.” John Chittester.

 

Daily Rhythm

Making worship part of the everyday

Devotional Diary : 19 – 25 Jan 2015

DOWNLOAD THE PDF HERE

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday 11 January 2015. (3rd  Sunday after Epiphany) with thanks to www.gbod.org

Jonah 3:1-5, 10Jonah finally begins to fulfil his assignment to proclaim God’s judgment to the people of Nineveh (“that great city”). He walks through about one-third of the city’s streets on the first day, announcing that only forty days remain before doom arrives. The response of the entire city is rapid and complete: The entire human population fasts, “and everyone, great and small, put on sackcloth” including the farm animals. God relents and does not bring harm to the city.

Psalm Response: Psalm 62:5-12In God alone our souls in silence wait. In God alone is our help.

1 Corinthians 7:29-31Paul reminds the Christians at Corinth that they should order their lives by the realities of God’s kingdom, not by the standards and practices of “this world” that is “passing away”.

Mark 1:14-20Mark offers the core of Jesus’ proclamation, perhaps the title or tagline of every sermon Jesus preached — “God’s kingdom has drawn near: repent and believe this good news!” Jesus calls some fishermen to leave their livelihood and their families to follow him.

Monday:

Adoration Focus: (Psalm 24:1) The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it…

Confession: Pray: ‘Lord God we pray that in the quiet moments of our lives (as we become more aware of our inner lives and your Spirit in us) that your Spirit may bring about an inner transformation that may empower the outward call of the Gospel.’ Then be still and become aware of God’s life in you.

The Word: See readings above.

Seeking the Kingdom

Shared Focus: Pray for someone who needs encouragement.

Personal prayers: (Use this section to list people you need to pray for or situations of personal concern that you need to bring before God in prayer)

Dedication:  Our hands and feet are His.

Tuesday:

Adoration Focus: (Psalm 23:1) The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.

Confession: Lord God we examine our interaction with our circles of friends and we pray that here we may witness through our lives and words of care and love.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Pray for someone who needs to know that they are loved.

Personal Prayers:

Dedication: Our hands and feet are His.

Wednesday:

Adoration Focus: (Psalm 22:28) …for dominion belongs to the Lord and he rules over the nations.

Confession: Lord we examine the works of our hands and bodies.  In our work enable us to build your Kingdom through works of love, justice and righteousness.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Pray for someone who needs to discover faith in God.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: Our hands and feet are His.

Thursday:

Adoration Focus: (Psalm 19:1) The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the word of his hands.

Confession: Lord we examine our church lives.  Forgive us when we are passengers and lead us into callings of service.  Enable us to live out the Gospel of truth through the body of Christ.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Pray for someone who needs to find work.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: Our hands and feet are His.

Friday:

Adoration Focus: (Psalm 18:46) The Lord lives!  Praise be to my Rock!  Exalted be God my Savior!

Confession: Lord we pray that we may be guided as to how we can live out our faith in the context of our country.  Lord we find ourselves in this context; enable us to witness and be creative.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus:  Pray for someone who needs strength in a struggle.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: Our hands and feet are His.

Saturday:

Adoration Focus: (Psalm 16:11) You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Confession: Lord we examine our witness when we are among those who do not know us.  When we are in shopping queues or dealing with strangers at work.  Teach us how to build a positive atmosphere in all our contacts and not just among our inner circle.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Pray for someone who needs to find joy in living.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: Our hands and feet are His.

Sunday:

Adoration Focus: (Psalm 13:6) I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me.

Confession: Pray for any arena of life where you sense you need to confess and be empowered for new life and direction.  God is with you in every area of life.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Pray for someone who needs reconciliation.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: Our hands and feet are His.

 

Weekly Rhythm

Joining our stories with the stories of God’s people.

Additional information about the readings: (Notes in italics are with thanks to www.gbod.org.)
These are also found in the PDF which you can download HERE.

Jonah 3:1-5, 10.

Jonah finally begins to fulfill his assignment to proclaim God’s judgment to the people of Nineveh (“that great city”). He walks through about one-third of the city’s streets on the first day, announcing that only forty days remain before doom arrives. The response of the entire city is rapid and complete: The entire human population fasts, “and everyone, great and small, put on sackcloth” including the farm animals. God relents and does not bring harm to the city.

We need to remember that Jonah comes from a position of prejudice: the Ninevites are people from outside the Hebrew fold; they are not the “chosen”.  Many Israelites would have considered them outside God’s saving grace, beyond repentance.  His prejudice is part of the reason that Jonah flees the call of God but God’s call does not give up that easily. The Ninevites willingness to repent becomes an example to the people of Israel.  This story challenges our prejudices.  Try to read the entire book of Jonah and enjoy the story (it is only a couple of pages long).

Prayer of Confession

(inspired by Jonah; Mark 1:14-20)

God…you call us…and sometimes…we duck under the table…
hoping you didn’t notice us when you walked into the room.
You call us…and sometimes…we grab a stapler and a stack of papers…
trying to look too busy to be bothered at the moment.
You call us…and sometimes we just say, “No!”
We know that we aren’t expected to do everything…
but we often forget that you call us to be our selves
in the places where our very self is what is most needed.
So give us the grace to say “Yes” to your call…
even now…as we offer our silent confessions…

— written by Rev. Scott Cervas, and posted on the LiturgyLink website.


Psalm Response: Psalm 62:5-12.

In God alone our souls in silence wait. In God alone is our help.

Confession

(based on Psalm 62)

In the midst of the noise, confusion, and chaos of life, our souls long for quiet.  God longs for us to return to that safe place found in the presence of our Lord.  Trusting in our refuge-providing God, let us pour out our hearts before the Holy One:

God of Salvation, we seek refuge in all the wrong places.  We place our confidence in taking things from others, instead of delighting in with what we receive from you.  We set our hopes on fame and worldly possessions, instead of relying on your grace and steadfast love.  Almighty Deliverer, rescue us from our delusions.  Save us from our foolish choices, and guide us in the better way. 

— written by Amy Loving, and posted on The Worship Closet website.

How do you seek refuge in the Lord?
Is this escaping from life?
How is finding our refuge connection with real life?

1 Corinthians 7:29-31.

Paul reminds the Christians at Corinth that they should order their lives by the realities of God’s kingdom, not by the standards and practices of “this world” that is “passing away”.

We must remember that it is the sinful nature that is referred to as the world.  This is what is passing away. Scripture clearly reveals that God’s intention is to save and renew creation, not forget it.  It is the things that are ordered by God’s Kingdom that will be the building blocks of the new heaven and the new earth (Rev 21).

Are there things in your life that need to pass away?
Are there things in your life that need to be “ordered by God’s Kingdom”?

Mark 1:14-20.

Mark offers the core of Jesus’ proclamation, perhaps the title or tagline of every sermon Jesus preached — “God’s kingdom has drawn near: repent and believe this good news!” Jesus calls some fishermen to leave their livelihood and their families to follow him.

Follow Me (A Meditation)

We could only hear the voice
We could not see him
for he stood with the sun behind him
and he glowed
We dropped our nets where they were
screwing our eyes at the light
confused by its brightness
yet drawn by those words
“Come and follow me”
The light shifted just at that moment.
This was the daring plan
all heaven had been working on
through incarnation
and annunciation
around magnificat
those ancient words
scripted to lead nations into the reign of God
and here it was
bold
clever
centuries of work
whole generations had been longing for
a complete, worked out plan of salvation:
“Will you come and follow me”
it worked for us
but churches and project workers
have tried more advanced programmes
ever since.

~ written by Roddy Hamilton, and posted on Listening to the Stones.http://newkilpatrickblog.typepad.com/nk-blogging/mucky-paws/  Used by permission.

How does this plan of following Christ work for you?

 

 

Who are you following?

Sunset1Yearly Rhythm

26 January is the Third Sunday after the Epiphany (Ordinary Time) Year A

 

“The church sets aside a holy season called Ordinary Time as sacred.

The Ordinary is part of the religious tradition of being ordered in our daily lives so that we can always be in the presence of the holy.” (Becca Stevens)

 

Daily Rhythm

Devotional Diary  20 – 26 January 2014

20 – 26 January 2014

A resource for the Daily Rhythm of Worship focussed on the Lectionary Readings

Download the PDF here.

 Readings for Sunday 26 January 2014, Third Sunday after the Epiphany Ordinary Time with thanks to http://www.gbod.org/:

 Isaiah 9:1-4 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.” A word of hope for a land where Israel (Samaria) and Syria had fought most of their major battles in the past and were about to fight (or had already begun fighting) Judah without regard for the good of the people who called that land home.

Psalm 27:1, 4-9 This Psalm works as a response to the first reading if we join it as a prayer of those who live in a “land of deep darkness.”

1 Corinthians 1:10-18 Paul says, “I appeal to you … that there be no divisions among you … be united in the same mind and the same purpose. … Has Christ been divided?”

Matthew 4:12-23 Jesus begins to announce the kingdom of God by the Sea of Galilee, healing, teaching, and calling fishermen to be his disciples.

Monday:

Adoration Focus: “O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder consider all the works Thy hand hath made… Then sings my soul, my Saviour God to Thee, How great Thou art, How great Thou art…”

Confession: This week our confessional focus is our thought life.  Our prayer is that our thoughts may reflect the Spirit of God and that we may always be conscious of God’s immediate presence with us.  Today, focus on your double mindedness.  What draws you away from your focus on God?  Pray that God’s Spirit may cleanse your thoughts.

The Word: See readings above or use your own devotional aids.

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week pray for the schools of our land.  Today focus on children as God’s children and pray that they may be seen as such by all.

Personal prayers: (Use this section to list people you need to pray for or situations of personal concern that you need to bring before God in prayer)

            Dedication:  God in all: In your walking – God; In your talking – God; In your life – God; In your strife – God; In your seeing – God; In your being – God; In your days – God; In your ways – God; In your night – God; In your plight – God; In your reason – God; In every season – God; With God I’m bound all around. (David Adam)

Tuesday:

Adoration Focus: “I see the stars I hear the rolling thunder, Thy power throughout the universe displayed… Then sings my soul, my Saviour God to Thee, How great Thou art, How great Thou art…”

Confession: See Monday’s Confession.  Today focus on restless thoughts that need to find their peace in God. Pray that God may fill you with His peaceful thoughts.

The Word: See readings above or use your own devotional aids.

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week pray for the schools of our land.  Today focus on all those called to care for and teach children.  Pray that they may be filled with God’s love and encouragement.

Personal Prayers:

            Dedication: God in all: In your walking – God; In your talking – God; In your life – God; In your strife – God; In your seeing – God; In your being – God; In your days – God; In your ways – God; In your night – God; In your plight – God; In your reason – God; In every season – God; With God I’m bound all around. (David Adam)

Wednesday: 

Adoration Focus: “When through the woods and forest glades I wonder, And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees… Then sings my soul, my Saviour God to Thee, How great Thou art, How great Thou art…”

Confession: See Monday’s confession.  Today focus on revengeful thoughts.    Pray that God may break the bonds that tie you to these thoughts and release the object of these thoughts into God’s hands.  Now pray that God fills you with a deep sense of forgiveness and freedom.

The Word: See readings above or use your own devotional aids.

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week pray for the schools of our land.  Today pray for schools that lack organisation and resources.   Pray that the children may not lose hope.

Personal prayers:

             Dedication: God in all: In your walking – God; In your talking – God; In your life – God; In your strife – God; In your seeing – God; In your being – God; In your days – God; In your ways – God; In your night – God; In your plight – God; In your reason – God; In every season – God; With God I’m bound all around. (David Adam)

Thursday:

Adoration Focus: When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur, And hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze. Then sings my soul, my Saviour God to Thee, How great Thou art, How great Thou art…”

Confession: See Monday’s confession.  Today focus on impure thoughts that crush God’s joy in your life.  Pray that your focus may be on the purity of God and that in Him you may find your joy.

The Word: See readings above or use your own devotional aids.

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week pray for the schools of our land.  Today pray for children that are struggling emotionally, mentally, spiritually or physically.  May they know the sustaining presence of God.

Personal prayers:

            Dedication: God in all: In your walking – God; In your talking – God; In your life – God; In your strife – God; In your seeing – God; In your being – God; In your days – God; In your ways – God; In your night – God; In your plight – God; In your reason – God; In every season – God; With God I’m bound all around. (David Adam)

 Friday:

Adoration Focus: “And when I think that God, His Son not sparing, Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in. Then sings my soul, my Saviour God to Thee, How great Thou art, How great Thou art…”

Confession: See Monday’s confession.  Today focus on thoughts that distract you from the task immediately at hand.  Pray that God may give you the gift of focus, to seek first the Kingdom of God.

The Word: See readings above or use your own devotional aids.

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week pray for the schools of our land.  Today pray for children who are abused at school or at home.  Pray that the root issues may be dealt with and that healing may come.

Personal prayers:

             Dedication: God in all: In your walking – God; In your talking – God; In your life – God; In your strife – God; In your seeing – God; In your being – God; In your days – God; In your ways – God; In your night – God; In your plight – God; In your reason – God; In every season – God; With God I’m bound all around. (David Adam)

 Saturday:

Adoration Focus: “That on the cross, my burden gladly bearing, He bled and died to take away my sin.  Then sings my soul, my Saviour God to Thee, How great Thou art, How great Thou art…”

Confession: See Monday’s confession.  Today focus on selfish thoughts.  Pray that God may enable you to be free to see life through the eyes of your fellow human beings and to care deeply for them without being crushed by their sorrows.

The Word: See readings above or use your own devotional aids.

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week pray for the schools of our land.  Today pray for children that are caught up in substance abuse (drugs, alcohol,etc.)  Pray that they may receive the help and care needed.

Personal prayers:

             Dedication: God in all: In your walking – God; In your talking – God; In your life – God; In your strife – God; In your seeing – God; In your being – God; In your days – God; In your ways – God; In your night – God; In your plight – God; In your reason – God; In every season – God; With God I’m bound all around. (David Adam)

 Sunday:

Adoration Focus: “Then sings my soul, my Saviour God to Thee, How great Thou art, How great Thou art…”

Confession: See Monday’s confession.  Today focus on thoughts that prevent you from praising God.  Thoughts that see your praise as insignificant; self-conscious thoughts; thoughts of doubt and thoughts that question.  Pray that God may give you release and fill your mind with thoughts of praise.

The Word: See readings above or use your own devotional aids.

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Today pray that everyone at our schools may know that God is always close to them and that they may find life and strength in Him.

Personal prayers:

 

            Dedication: God in all: In your walking – God; In your talking – God; In your life – God; In your strife – God; In your seeing – God; In your being – God; In your days – God; In your ways – God; In your night – God; In your plight – God; In your reason – God; In every season – God; With God I’m bound all around. (David Adam)

 Weekly Rhythm

 Engaging with the weekly Lectionary Readings

Comment and Questions

Download the PDF here.

 Isaiah 9:1-4 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.” A word of hope for a land where Israel (Samaria) and Syria had fought most of their major battles in the past and were about to fight (or had already begun fighting) Judah without regard for the good of the people who called that land home.

 “This week’s reading from Isaiah may seem very familiar, not only because the text itself is familiar, but also because part of this same text was included in the first reading for Christmas Eve just one month ago. On Christmas Eve, it is paired with the reading from Luke describing the birth of Jesus and the coming of the shepherds. On Christmas Eve, we hear this text describe Jesus as the light in the darkness, a child born for us who will deliver us from bondage and uphold the kingdom forever, with emphasis on the birth of the child.

 Today, however, a shorter selection from the same text (verses 1-4) supports this week’s Gospel in making a different point. While Luke quotes Isaiah in connection with the birth of Jesus, Matthew quotes this same text to proclaim the prophetic significance of the beginning, the primary location, and the major theme of his public ministry. Light begins to dawn now that Jesus has headed directly into “Galilee of the Gentiles,” the region controlled by the tetrarch Herod, who had just arrested John the Baptizer.

 Jesus going to Galilee thus has a two-fold purpose. First, it is a fulfillment of this text from Isaiah. Light does shine precisely in this region formerly known as the tribal lands of Zebulun and Naphtali, places where Syria and the Northern Kingdom of Israel had fought their wars so “nothing important” was disturbed, and places later that became the target of “ethnic dilution campaigns” of one conqueror of Palestine after another. Keep the mix of languages and cultures there mixed enough, and oppressed enough, and no one of them will have the strength or the urge to resist the new overlords. This is why this place was known to Isaiah as “the land of deep darkness,” and this is why it still had that nickname in the time of Jesus. If light is to shine in deep darkness, this is where Jesus must go.

 But in the narrative itself, we see how this place continues to live up to its ancient reputation. The darkness at the heart of Galilee wasn’t satisfied to keep to its own borders. The tetrarch Herod, like his namesake who ruled at the time of Jesus’ birth, was noted for over-extending his power. John the Baptizer lived and worked primarily in Judea, not Galilee. Despite the fact that John was openly critical of Herod’s taking the wife of his dead brother as his own wife, Herod had no real jurisdiction over John. And yet he had John arrested, jailed, and later, we learn, beheaded in Galilee.

 That John was arrested and taken to a dungeon in Galilee becomes part of why Jesus headed there, too. He was not running away from Herod, as the phrase “he withdrew into Galilee” (fairly common in English translations) may suggest. A better translation would be something like “he made his home in that region again.” Galilee became “home base” for Jesus’ public ministry not just because an old prophet said so, but because the people there, governed by a man like Herod who had sought to silence John, desperately needed good news.

 And that is what Jesus began to give them. Verse 17 represents the core of every sermon, every teaching and every action Jesus took in his public ministry there. “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven [God] has drawn near.” (Matthew uses “heaven” in place of “God,” a sign of his Jewish heritage in what is unarguably the most Jewish of the gospels).”

 Psalm 27:1, 4-9 This Psalm works as a response to the first reading if we join it as a prayer of those who live in a “land of deep darkness.”

 1 Corinthians 1:10-18 Paul says, “I appeal to you … that there be no divisions among you … be united in the same mind and the same purpose. … Has Christ been divided?”

 Questions to reflect on this passage.

Try to describe the situation in the Corinthian church using this passage.

Can you draw any parallels with other situation with which you are familiar?

How can we fall into the temptation of following people rather than Christ?

What is the “message of the cross”?

What unites us as Christians?

What would help you move into greater unity with fellow Christians?

 

Matthew 4:12-23 Jesus begins to announce the kingdom of God by the Sea of Galilee, healing, teaching, and calling fishermen to be his disciples.

 “Jesus is walking along the shoreline, spies Simon Peter and Andrew fishing in the lake, and calls them both at once, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people” (v. 19). A little later he repeats the same process with two other fishermen, also brothers, James and John (v. 21).

 Call, and immediate response. The word comes, and they all leave their livelihoods and families, everything and everyone they’ve got, and with James and John, and become disciples of Jesus, on the spot.

 Why would they do that? Why would they leave nets, boats, livelihoods and family at the simplest of calls from Jesus? “Follow me!” It’s not because these men were especially sensitive to the voice of God or Jesus. Their dullness, resistance, contradiction of his teaching, denial and desertion of him later on show their level of faith wasn’t all that special, either.

 What was special was Jesus’ message, a message he’d been proclaiming in the area already for a while before he called them: “The kingdom of God has drawn near” (v. 17). If that message were true, if Jesus were right about that, that’s a message worth leaving everything for. Why wouldn’t you want to be in on the ground floor of what would happen next?

 Now remember where this is happening: Galilee of the Gentiles, land of deep darkness. Lands ravaged by outside forces, people treated as worthless. Jesus is declaring the kingdom of God drawing near here, right here – light in the darkness.

 If the prophet’s words were ringing in their ears as Matthew rings them in ours, how could they do anything but follow Jesus?”

Source

     

Praying the Readings

 These resources may be used when preparing to lead or attend Sunday worship.

Merciful God,

You call us to follow;

to turn away from our own selfish interests,

and to take up our cross and follow after You,

even if the path is difficult to see,

or is heading in a direction we would never have chosen for ourselves.

Forgive us for being so quick to question

and so hesitant to follow.

Help us to see with the eyes of faith,

rather than from our own human point of view.

Teach us to follow without fear,

knowing that You are always with us,

leading the way.

Amen.

 [via re:Worship]

I pray for the following grace:

to know Jesus more intimately,

to love him more intensely,

and to follow him more closely.

From Ignatian Spirituality.com

Let the love of Jesus

surround and consume you

Let the peace of Jesus

gently touch your heart

Let the courage of Jesus

help you persevere in faith

Let the wisdom of Jesus

help you follow the path

which leads to giving all

for the one who gives us life

 [source]

 

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