Second Sunday After the Epiphany 2018 — Order of Worship

Rise Up! Listen



The service begins with subdued lighting and silence. Acolytes or others may light a candle (the paschal candle by the font, if you have a paschal candle). Spotlight on a solo guitarist who sings stanza 1 of “Speak, O Lord” (CCLI # 4615235, suggested tempo around 60 bpm) as the candle is lit and the choir or rest of the musical ensemble arrives or processes in and takes their places. Choir/ensemble sings stanza 2. Lights come up a bit and all are invited to stand to sing stanza 3.

Spoken word artist then offers this as prayer of illumination:

Nothing more frightening
Than heightening the expectation
That God will speak.
Hearing these days is rare.
I don’t have any more risks
To spare. 

No need in hanging around
Taking the chance of being let down
By the One who always lifts.
Better take matters in my own hands
This time.
If God is quiet…certainly others aren’t
Buy here, pay here, sale here
Try it here, go there, sit, stand
Sand, slipping through fingers of hope
Trying to scope any voice I can…but
There is
No voice.
No choice. 

When the Word is rare
No one could dare
Suggest I just wait.
No one would care
If I pick my own blessings
Or if I seek my own dressings
To my own arrangements.

I’d rather do that…than
Trust.  Trusting leaves
The possibility for disappointment.
Acting on my own,
Will help me to clone my own
Similar to the one in my mind.

Except, it never works.
Is always the best way.

Listening to, “yes.”
Listening to “no more distress”
But also listening to “no”
Listening to “follow me…
Trust me…hope in me”

Shhhhh, everyone, hush,
I’m listening this time…

I’m taking the bold leap
I’ll sit in suspense
even at the expense of
my disappointment.

I’d rather hear a “no”
From God
Than a shallow
“yes” from the mess
Of this world.

Shhhh, ya’ll.
I’m listening.
Speak God…
You got me.


WORD AND RESPONSE                         

I Samuel 3:1-20 (NRSV, alt.)

Spotlight to center. Samuel lies on the ground to the (congregation) left of the Lord’s table. Eli stands to the right. Narrator and voice of the Lord remain unseen. Samuel moves on narrator cues.

Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord under Eli. The word of the Lord was rare in those days; visions were not widespread. At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his room; the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was. Then the Lord called,

The Lord:
Samuel! Samuel!

Here I am!

Samuel ran to Eli.

Here I am, for you called me.

I did not call; lie down again.

So he went and lay down.

The Lord called again.

The Lord:

Samuel got up and went to Eli.

Here I am, for you called me.

“I did not call, my son; lie down again.”

Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.  The Lord called Samuel again, a third time.  And he got up and went to Eli.

Here I am, for you called me.

Then Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the boy.

Go, lie down; and if the voice calls you again, you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’

So Samuel went and lay down in his place. Now the Lord came and stood there, calling as before,

The Lord:
Samuel! Samuel!

Speak, for your servant is listening.


The Lord:
Behold, I am about to do something in Israel that will make both ears of anyone who hears of it tingle. On that day I will fulfill against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. For I have told him that I am about to punish his house forever, for the iniquity that he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them. Therefore I swear to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be expiated by sacrifice or offering forever.


Samuel lay there until morning; then he opened the doors of the house of the Lord. Samuel was afraid to tell the vision to Eli. But Eli called Samuel.

Samuel, my son.

Here I am.

What did God say to you? Do not hide it from me. May God do so to you and more also, if you hide anything from me of all that he told you.

Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him.

It is the Lord; let him do what seems good to him.

As Samuel grew up, the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan to Beer-sheba knew that Samuel was a trustworthy prophet of the Lord.


Acoustic accompaniment to “Speak, O Lord” may play in the background while the readers return to their places and the preacher takes center attention.

Sermon                                                         Listen

Prayers of the People

Deacon or Lay Prayer Leader:

Shhhh, O my soul. Shhhh.
God will speak and guide our prayers.
God’s got us.
God will show us the way.

In this confidence we pray:
            for the people of this congregation… (silence)
            for those who suffer and those in trouble… (silence, then “O Lord, Hear My Prayer,”  TFWS 2200)
            for the concerns of this local community… (silence)
            for the world, its peoples, and its leaders… (silence, then “O Lord, Hear My Prayer,”  TFWS 2200)
            for the earth you have given to our care… (silence)
            for the Church universal—its leaders, its members, and its mission...
            in communion with the saints… (silence, then “O Lord, Hear My Prayer,”  TFWS 2200)
            in the words our Lord Jesus has taught us:
            The Lord’s Prayer


AH = The Africana Hymnal

BOW = United Methodist Book of Worship

CCLI = Christian Copyright Licensing International, SongSelect

TFWS = The Faith We Sing (2000)

UMH = United Methodist Hymnal

W&S = Worship & Song (2011)

Praise and Thanksgiving Medley                        
            You Inhabit the Praises (3x)                Africana Hymnal 4024
            Thank You, Lord (3x)                          UMH 84
            I Thank You, Jesus                             W&S 3037

The offering may be collected during the singing.


Deacon or Pastor
The word of the Lord may be rare in these days,
and visions may not be widespread
But our God is never without a witness.
God is still speaking.
Go, and listen.
Listen, and speak all that the Lord reveals. Amen.

Hymn                                                             “Here I Am, Lord”     UMH 593