Leccionario en Español, Leccionario Común Revisado: Consulta Sobre Textos Comunes.
Lectionnaire en français, Le Lectionnaire Œcuménique Révisé
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 (UMH 758)
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." With the sung response, sing the psalm to Tone 2 in D minor or another minor key setting.
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?"
The Great Invitation: “Follow Me”
We’re well into the Season after Epiphany now. Today, we focus on the call of Jesus to move beyond “Come and See” to “Follow Me.”
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity began on January 18. Continue to partner with other congregations and denominations in your area to observe this together. Today is Ecumenical Sunday. Consider holding a special ecumenical service of evening prayer in which all Christian bodies in your area (including Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians) may participate.
If you have not already started planning for how you may observe Black History Month in the worship and programmatic life of your congregation, start doing so now!
In the Series
Here in week 3, we’ve moved from prompting the congregation to invitation, from welcoming newcomers, to hearing together the explicit call of Jesus to follow him. We move today from a place of hospitality toward a place of at least considering a commitment. Last week’s service led toward fellowship and getting to know one another better, leaving space for what may evolve in that. This week is about saying, “Let’s go. Let’s see what this is REALLY about.” Next week, we begin to see what it’s all about as we begin a four-week period of listening to Jesus teaching what is commonly called the Sermon on the Mount.
In terms of energy, the progression from last week’s “come and see” to this week’s “follow me” marks a distinct increase in intensity. There is a greater sense of urgency about this week’s call from Jesus. Let that greater sense of intensity inform the kind of energy you give as worship leaders in song, word, and prayer this week.
Today: Follow Me
The heart of this story is not the experience of the calling of the disciples. It’s the fact they actually followed him. So the focus is on the end of the reading. They followed him as he went, taught, proclaimed the gospel, and attended to the sicknesses and diseases of all he encountered. Today’s invitation to all present, and especially to newcomers, is to commit themselves to follow Jesus in some concrete way during the coming week.
Call to Follow
As indicated in the worship order, use the conclusion of the sermon to lead into a time of writing down and/or collecting commitments to follow Jesus during the coming week. These may be written on cards and placed in the offering plate, or they may be collected via text or to a hashtag you select. If you use #followme4people, you may be able to find and share your tweets with others around the connection and around the world using these planning helps for this day.
Then, during the week, perhaps midweek, and again on Saturday, issue an email or social media prompt asking folks to report what happened when they did follow Jesus as they said they would this week!
This is also Ecumenical Sunday on the program calendar.
Ecumenical Prayer Cycle: Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia