+ SECOND SUNDAY after EPIPHANY +
GRACE LUTHERAN CHURCH
660 Frances Lane
Ashland, Oregon 97520
The Rev. James A. Kabel, Intentional Interim Pastor
+ SECOND SUNDAY after EPIPHANY +
17 January 2021
A warm welcome to all who have gathered for worship this morning. With God as our Father, we gather as a family in Christ to offer our praises and learn of faithfulness and obedience. We worship in the Name of our Lord by whose sacrifice we have been made saints. What a joy to be gathered around The Table of the Lord with the whole company of heaven and each other.
AS WE GATHER Come and See
All the baptized have a calling in God’s world. God calls not just pastors and deacons but the youngest child, like Samuel. The story of the calling of Nathaniel plays with the idea of ‘place’. Nathaniel initially dismisses Jesus because he comes from Nazareth. But where we come from isn’t important; it’s where—or rather whom—we come to . Jesus refers to Jacob, who had a vision in a place he called “the house of God, and … the gate of heaven (Genesis 28:17). Jesus says he himself is the ‘place’ where Nathaniel will meet God.
PRAYER BEFORE WORSHIP
Lord God, it is through our lives that your love touches others. Stir us by your Spirit to serve all people with willing hearts and bring them the message of your love. We ask this in the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
+ THE ORDER of CELEBRATING + PRE-SERVICE MUSIC
The Summons (Will You Come and Follow Me)
Here I Am, Lord
PRELUDE Prelude in D—Austin North
Tatsiana Asheichyk, Piano
INVOCATION & CONFESSION
In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all.
If we say that we have fellowship with God while we are walking in
darkness, we lie and do not do what is true. But if we walk in the light as God himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another,
and the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son cleanses us from all sin.
+ A Brief Silence for Reflection & Self-examination +
Most merciful God, we confess that we are in bondage to sin and cannot
free ourselves. Our ears are tuned to other voices; our hearts are tempted
by their call, and fail to hear your call to follow you. For the sake of your
Son, Jesus Christ, have mercy on us. Forgive us, renew us, and let your
light shine upon us, so that we may delight in your will and walk in your
ways, to the glory of your holy Name. Amen.
Even before we knew our need, God knew us, and called us by our name. In
fulfillment of his promises through Moses and the prophets, God sent his Son,
Jesus Christ, to open heaven for all who believe. As a called and ordained
minister of the Church of Christ, and by his authority, I therefore declare to you
the entire forgiveness of all your sins, in the Name of the Father and of the + Son
and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
The grace of God that extends to all nations in Christ Jesus through the work of
the Holy Spirit be with you all.
And also with you.
GLORY TO GOD
Refrain: Glory to God, glory to God, Glory to God in the Highest
And peace to his people on earth
- Lord God, heavenly King, Almighty God, and Father, we worship you we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory. Refrain
- Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, Lord God, Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world; have mercy on us.you are seated at the right hand of the Father; receive our prayer. Refrain
- For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit in the glory of God the Father.
Refrain: Glory to God, glory to God,
Glory to God in the Highest
And peace to his people on earth.
Amen, Amen, Amen
PRAYER of THE DAY
Thanks be to you, Lord Jesus Christ, most merciful Redeemer, for the countless blessings and benefits you give us. May we know you more clearly, love you more dearly, and follow you more nearly, day by day praising you with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
FIRST LESSON 1 Samuel 3:1-10
[At a time when visions are rare and unexpected, the LORD comes to Samuel and calls him to speak the divine word. Though just a boy, Samuel responds to God obediently, as Eli the priest has taught him to respond. This marks the beginning of Samuel’s prophetic ministry.]
The young man Samuel was ministering to the LORD under Eli. And the word of the LORD
was rare in those days; there was no frequent vision. At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his place. 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 Samuel, and he said, “Here I am!” and ran to Eli and said, “Here I am,
for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call; lie down again.” So he went and lay down.
And the LORD called again, “Samuel!” and Samuel arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I
am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call, my son; lie down again. Now Samuel did
not yet know the LORD, and the words of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him. And the LORD called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you call me.” Then Eli perceived that the LORD was calling the young man. Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go lie down, and if he calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, LORD, your servant hears.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
And the LORD came and stood, calling as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” and Samuel
said, “Speak, for your servant hears.” The Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God!
CANTICLE 14 Listen! You Nations [Please join the Praise Team in singing the Refrain.]
Refrain: Listen! you nations of the world: listen to the Word of the Lord.
Announce it from coast to coast; declare it to distant islands.
The Lord who scattered Israel will gather his people again;
And he will keep watch over them as shepherd watches his sheep.
With shouts of joy they will come, their faces radiantly happy,
For the Lord is so gen’rous to them; he showers his people with gifts.
Young women will dance for joy, and men young and old will make merry.
Like a garden refreshed by the rain, they will never be in want again.
Break into shouts of great joy: Jacob is free again!
Teach nations to sing the song: “The Lord has saved his people.”
SECOND LESSON 1 Corinthians 6:12-20
[Paul helps the Corinthians understand that God has claimed the entirety of their lives through the
death of Christ. Hence Christian relationships and conduct, including areas of human sexuality are
to reflect that we belong to Christ and that the Holy Spirit lives within us]
“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things
are lawful for me,” but I will not be enslaved by anything. “Food is
meant for the stomach and the stomach for food,” and God will destroy
both one and the other. The body is meant not for fornication but for
the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God raised the Lord and will
also raise us by his power. Do you not know that your bodies are
members of Christ? Should I therefore take the members of Christ and
make them members of a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that
whoever is united to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For it is
said, “The two shall be one flesh.” But anyone united to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Shun fornication! Every sin that a person commits is outside the body, but the fornicator sins against the body itself. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit
within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you were bought
with a price; therefore glorify God in your body. The Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God!
SPECIAL MUSIC Jesus, the very Thought of Thee—Larry Schackley
GOSPEL John 1:43-51
[In John’s gospel, Jesus’ ministry begins with the call of disciples, who then bring others to Jesus.
Philip’s friend Nathaniel moves from skepticism to faith when he accepts the invitation to “Come
The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathaniel and said to him, “We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote: Jesus son of Joseph of Nazareth.” Nathaniel said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” When Jesus saw Nathaniel coming toward him, he said of him, “Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!” Nathaniel asked him, “Where did you get to know me?” Jesus answered, “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip you.” Nathaniel replied, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.” And he said to him, “Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”
The Gospel of our Lord
Praise to You, O Christ.
GRACE CHOIR Jesus Is the Living Stone—Mary McDonald
HOMILY Come and See Text: The First Lesson Pr. Jim
I Samuel 3:1-10; I Corinthians 6:12-20; John 1:43-51
Today’s First Lesson, takes place in a time of famine. Not the kind of famine caused by lack of rain, but a wordless famine. “The word of the Lord was rare in those days,” reads the text. “Visions were not widespread.”
On this Second Sunday after The Epiphany of our Lord, would it be too self-serving to say that the word of the Lord is rare in our days? Or “that visions are not widespread?” Perhaps every generation of the faithful thinks so, and every generation has reason to say so.
But we hear this Old Testament text as Christians … people of the Word made flesh … people who believe in the Christ who has promised never to leave nor forsake His own … and whose word is the very power of God for salvation. Pentecost has come. The Church has been born. The Word endures forever … not even the gates of hell will be able to withstand its full and final power.
The good news of our redemption through the Savior who died and rose … never to die again … is not going out of style. We get up and get here again this Epiphany Sunday because we hunger for God’s Word and need its nurturing. Christ Jesus Himself is here with us … keeping His promise that wherever two or three are gathered in His Name, He is among us.
There’s no need to speculate whether the word of the Lord is more rare in our day than in the days of our ancestors or Samuel’s days.
Rather, we need to hear the text from a different angle … the one that Samuel and Eli came to … that it’s vision that counts. God speaks … God calls … God works. Lack of vision doesn’t come from God’s side. It’s from our side that the problem becomes apparent … lack of vision—that shortsighted spiritual perception of just who and where we are heading under God in the world.
It helps, I think … on this Second Sunday of Epiphany … to realize that Samuel’s call to serve God came in a time of great transition in Israel. Just as God’s call to serve continues o comes in a time of transition for this parish. Samuel was the last of the judges of Israel and the first of the prophets. In his lifetime the people of God lusted after a monarchy, much like they saw in the pagan nations around them with kings, palaces, and royal entourages. Israel wasn’t satisfied to live in simple obedience to God’s rule. Their vision was blurred by the royal trappings of power, splendor, and clout that would put them in the same league with other neighboring powers. Their vision was self-serving.
But that’s the way it is, isn’t it? Sin always deafens us to the word that God speaks and destroys the vision that God intends. It also blinds us to the vision of His arms outstretched toward the world He loves with such passion. When eyes and ears are distracted and focused elsewhere, we lose perspective and there is no vision. And we are left to our own confusion until our eyes are ready to be opened again.
St. Paul is after that truth when he tells us that we’re up against more than individual jerks who pester and exhaust us. He teaches us that the vision of evil is nothing less than “cosmic powers in this present darkness” and “spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places…” [Ephesians 6:12]
Against the kind of opposition that blinds, we need the “whole armor of God” and the strength of his power, gird with truth, with the breastplate of Christ as our righteousness, our feet shod with the Gospel of peace, holding fast the shield of faith with which you can quench all the flaming darts of the evil one, with the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit as the equipment for living our vision of the Christ whom we follow.
So, what can you count on in lean times? You can count on vision … the vision of your life held fast in the strong hands that once were nailed to a Roman cross for you. That vision is not a mirage … it’s the message embodied in the good news of Christ proclaimed and received in Word and Sacrament. That vision becomes clearer as you act upon it … speaking and doing the truth in love. In today’s Gospel, Jesus calls out “Follow me!” Follow Him … and in doing so you find your place in the long procession of those who have gone before us with the sign of faith (those cleansed with the blood of Christ).
No terrorist threat … no personal woe can quench that vision, which is comprised of two keys acts of faith: one—prayer, and the other—righteous living. In a letter written to his godson two months before his execution in a Nazi prison camp, Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote of the connection of prayer with righteous action:
Doing the deeds of righteousness keeps praying from being an escape into
self-serving piety, and praying keeps doing the righteous deed from being an
exercise in self-righteousness.
Doing the righteous deed keeps praying from hypocrisy, while praying keeps
the doing of justice from that foolishness which makes those who work for
change such bad representatives of their own cause.
Doing the righteous deed keeps praying from pessimism and spiritual exhaustion which is not faith, while praying keeps doing the righteous deed from resignation, which is not the Christian way.
The First Lesson makes a point that the lamp of God had not gone out when Samuel received his call. Now that Christ has come, we can live out our days in the confidence that the lamp of God’s redeeming truth will never go out. It gives us vision … Epiphany vision … for these very times and surely includes these very things: our enemy is Satan; our peace is in Christ Jesus; all people are meant to come under the saving rule of the God revealed in Christ Jesus, our Savior and Lord. No matter how lean and difficult the times may seem, Christ is sufficient. He is our Emmanuel … God with us and for us.
If the times must be lean … so be it. The light of the Epiphany Christ does not and will not grow dim. Like Samuel, we all have mission, each of us according to our baptismal calling … and all of us by the abundance of God’s mercy.
Christ Jesus knows us … calls us … and sees in us more than we see in ourselves. And, by the vision of His redeeming love leads us into this new week.
WE can see and follow!
+ In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. +
I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth.
And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended into hell.
The third day He rose again from the dead.
He ascended into heaven
and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.
From thence He will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
The holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life + everlasting. Amen.
PRAYERS of THE CHURCH
Guided by Christ made known to the nations, let us pray for The Church, the world, and all who are in need. For the body of Christ gathered throughout the world and for all servants of the gospel, that following Jesus, The Church lives out its calling every day. Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.
For the well-being of creation, for plants and animals, and for all that God has marvelously made, that we serve as faithful and wise stewards of the earth and all its resources. Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.
For police officers and firefighters, for attorneys and paralegals, for peacekeepers, military personnel, and for all leaders of governments, that they provide protection to all people, especially the most vulnerable. Protect all those in harm’s way and those risking danger for the sake of others. Send your spirit of discernment upon legislators grappling with complex decisions that affect our common good as a nation. And as every lawful authority on earth comes from you, preserve in wisdom and honor Joseph, our president-elect; Kamala, our vice-president elect. Send peace in our time. Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.
For the sick and those who provide medical care, that God would strengthen and sustain them as they care for others in our community and around the world. We pray especially for the doctors, nurses, and technicians who care for those suffering from COVID-19. Refresh those who labor under the weight of pain or sickness. We commend to your care : Kristel (recovering from surgery), Charlie and Marguerite (MaryAnn’s father and mother), Rusty (under hospice care), and Shari. Raise the spirits of those who are home-bound in our parish, especially Sharon, Joyce, Richard & Doris, Bonnie, Vernia, and Elma that they may be assured of your presence through our prayers and acts of service and love. Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.
For our congregation gathered in worship, that all the beloved children of God may experience grace and peace. Guide the members of our Call Committee as they review and discuss the interviews of pastoral candidates conducted this past week so that by the power of the Holy Spirit, they may lead to the one God has chosen to serve as our pastor. Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.
In thanksgiving for all the saints who have gone before us with the sign of faith, that their witness inspire us in our baptismal calling. In the fullness of time, give us our inheritance in Christ and gather us all together in your eternal presence. Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.
Merciful God, hear the prayers of your people, spoken or silent, for the sake of the One who dwells among us, Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord. Amen.
Lord God, as you have blessed us with many gifts, so receive now these offerings of ourselves, our time, and our possessions. Through this meal
unite us as your body, that we may be a light to all nations; for the sake of
him who gave himself for us, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
THE GREAT THANKSGIVING
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God
It is right to give him thanks and praise.
Holy God, creator of all and source of all life,
at the birth of time your Word brought light
into the world.
In the fullness of time, you sent your Word, born
of Mary, to shine in our darkness and make us
your sons and daughters.
“In the night in which he was betrayed,
our Lord Jesus took bread, and gave thanks;
broke it, and gave it to his disciples saying:
Take and eat; this is my + body which is given
for you. Do this in remembrance of me.
Again, after supper, he took the cup, gave thanks,
And gave it for all to drink, saying:
This cup is the new covenant in my + blood
shed for you and for all people for the forgiveness
of sin. Do this in remembrance of me.”
Now in the words of our Lord, we are bold to pray:
Our Father who art in heaven;
hallowed be Thy Name,
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses .
as we forgive those
who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil;
For thine is the kingdom
and the power and the glory
forever and ever. Amen.
PRAYER of THANKSGIVING
We give you thanks, gracious God, that you have once again fed us with the body and blood of Christ. Through this mystery, send us to proclaim your promise to a world in need; through the same Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.
POST-SERVICE MUSIC We are called