Anything Good

Follow Me!

Second Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B

“Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” That’s our guiding phrase from our gospel text for this week. “Anything good?” Surely you can hear how that sounds. Surely in our contentious environment, you hear the presupposition behind the sarcasm. You can hear the prejudice tucked away in such an innocuous joke. We are potentially dealing with some difficult topics this week. They are not difficult because they are complicated but because they are threatening. And personal. And most folk have some pretty entrenched positions on race and ethnicity.

By Taylor Marie James and Lindsey Baynham

God Has Drawn Us Together

A Call to Worship Inspired by Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians
(Lindsey Baynham)

All voices: We enter with praise and awe,
One voice: Because the God of all has drawn us together.

All voices: In our worship, we draw nearer to God in our connectedness to one another.
One voice: Because the many members of the one body have shown that love is a more excellent way of life.

All voices: How wonderful it is to be in worship one more time.

Spoken Word Closing

(Taylor Marie James)

Some days it’s going to feel like the world is on your back.
You’re going to open the mailbox, and all you’re going to see are bills.
Your responsibilities are just going to keep piling up,
To the point where you don’t have a single ounce of motivation in your body.

You feel like a broken record playing in somebody else’s home.
Your mind is constantly moving,
Trying to figure out how to deal with one thing
Before you have finished the other.
How to add this into the pile.
How this bill is going to get paid.
And how you're going to fit in an extra shift,
Because you need the money, but you lack the time.

With all of this on your mind,
You’re going to call on the Lord for any type of reassurance
That you’re doing something right,
And ask for a sign,
Or a word,
Or a slap in the face.
And when you don’t get anything back,
You’re going to feel discouraged and disappointed,
As if you don’t even know who you’re talking to anymore.

But he’s still there,
Watching over you and making sure that your life is nothing that you can’t handle.
He’s going to come to you
When your heart is open
And your mind is free,
Because he wants to be your first priority.
He’s going to call you so casually, and out of the blue,
You’re going to be just like Samuel,
Thinking that someone else is shouting your name.

The Lord knows that these moments are rare,
So he’s going to keep calling and calling,
Until he gathers your attention.

When this happens, you need to know how to receive his message.

The Lord already knows who you are,
And the last thing he wants
Is for your mind to get too full of everything else, once again.

Like you read in the text,
He waits until you are listening for him to speak.

Just as Eli told Samuel:
Tell the Lord to speak and then listen,
I challenge you to tell the Lord to speak,
And you listen,
Instead of talking about your problems and wants,
And never hearing what he has to tell you.
If you want relief,
And you want to experience the greatness of God given through faith,
I challenge you to listen.

Rev. Lindsey Baynham is an ordained elder in The United Methodist Church currently serving as the Director of Clergy Excellence in the Virginia Annual Conference. This proud alumna of Randolph-Macon College and Duke Divinity School has a passion for worship design, preaching and teaching, laughter over a meal with friends, and connecting folks.

Taylor Marie James is an undergraduate student at Emory University and a member of the Ben Hill United Methodist Church in Atlanta, Georgia. Taylor has plans to attend medical school.

In This Series...

Epiphany/Baptism of the Lord, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Second Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Third Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Transfiguration Sunday, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes