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Rise Up! — GOD IS SPEAKING 

The opening movement in our full service order can be an effective overture for this service and series. It announces the series theme (Rise up!) and introduces a recurring feature of this series, the spoken word contributions of The Rev. B. Kevin Smalls. 


View the Season after Epiphany Rise Up! Series Overview »

    References:

  • Epiphany Sunday
  • Isaiah 60:1-6
  • Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14 (UMH 795)
  • Ephesians 3:1-12
  • (more...)

Rise Up! — LISTEN 

The second week of this epiphany series leads us to the theme of listening. Listening, of course, is a critical part of the Christian path. There are many angles in which to approach this theme of listening. This week, we encounter a text where the Word of the Lord is rare, but God’s voice emerges as God attempts to get Samuel’s attention. 


View the Season after Epiphany Rise Up! Series Overview »

    References:

  • 1 Samuel 3:1-10 (11-20)
  • Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18 (UMH 854)
  • 1 Corinthians 6:12-20
  • John 1:43-51

Rise Up! — MOVE 

The core response to today’s theme is found in the prayers of the people. Prayer becomes the primary way we begin to embody the action of “Move” in worship today. We pray with people who must move, or are called to move, or who by their position are involved in moving others. We also pray for ourselves, for the Spirit’s work to move us all from captivity to sin toward perfection in love in this life. We posit this as a possible altar call, a call to come forward to pray, as the response to the bidding prayer shifts from unison spoken response to ensemble and congregational singing.


View the Season after Epiphany Rise Up! Series Overview »

    References:

  • Jonah 3:1-5, 10
  • Psalm 62:5-12 (UMH 787)
  • 1 Corinthians 7:29-31
  • Mark 1:14-20

Rise Up! — ANSWER

While Moses is assuring the people of God’s plan to provide for a new leader, he also gives them guidelines that the leader must follow. These guidelines are now in the people’s awareness as they prepare for a leadership shift. “If a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord but the thing does not take place or prove true, it is a word that the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; do not be frightened by it.” Our theological task as United Methodists gives us a similar guideline to discovering the arrival at truth. Our theological task begins with the question, “Is it true?”  What things are true and worthy of celebration as we seek answers throughout our life’s journey of faith?


View the Season after Epiphany Rise Up! Series Overview »

    References:

  • Deuteronomy 18:15-20
  • Psalm 111 (UMH 832)
  • 1 Corinthians 8:1-13
  • Mark 1:21-28

Rise Up! — FOCUS

We can listen for God’s voice, get on the move, and develop confidence in God being one who truly answers us. But these processes, whether foregrounded or running in the background of our lives, may not be enough in themselves to lead us or sustain us on “this tedious journey.” We have to stay focused on where we’re heading if we’re going to get there. And we need to stay focused on the one who gives us the power to get there. So the first response to this week’s sermon is a sung affirmation of faith to strengthen our focus, collectively, on the redemptive presence, work, and power of our God.


View the Season after Epiphany Rise Up! Series Overview »

    References:

  • Isaiah 40:21-31
  • Psalm 147:1-11, 20c (UMH 859)
  • 1 Corinthians 9:16-23
  • Mark 1:29-39

Rise Up! — GOD IS SPEAKING! (Transfiguration)

We who follow Jesus follow where he leads. And he most often leads into places of suffering and death, including his and potentially our own death. We’ve been learning what it is to listen, to move, to answer, and to focus in the midst of life. Now we are called to do this far more profoundly in the face of the constant suffering and death into which we are sent by Jesus as signs and witnesses of his death and life. 
 

View the Season after Epiphany Rise Up! Series Overview »

    References:

  • 2 Kings 2:1-12
  • Psalm 50:1-6 (UMH 783)
  • 2 Corinthians 4:3-6
  • Mark 9:2-9