Week 10: Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany

During his inaugural homily, and on declaring the messianic text of Isaiah fulfilled in the hearing of his fellow Nazareth worshipers, Jesus made himself known as the Messiah. All spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth. They did, however, acknowledge his familiarity: “Is not this Joseph’s son?” Recognizing their growing skepticism, Jesus alluded to the widow in the land of Sidon to whom Elijah was sent, and the leper of Syria who was cleansed. These allusions filled those in the synagogue with wrath, who then rose up to drive Jesus out of town to throw him down the cliff. Jesus, however, passed through their midst and went away.

The people of Nazareth could not bear Jesus’s revelation of himself as the Messiah. Jesus declared plainly that no prophet is acceptable in his own hometown; the thought that they already knew him, their overfamiliarity with him, eclipsed their ability to see him as he truly was.

Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation
Lord, protect us from overfamiliarity with you and your Word, and save us from the tendency to think we understand all we need to know of you and your will. Keep us open to you, in order that you might reveal yourself to us more and more, beyond our so-called knowledge of you. Do this in your Son’s name, amen.

Call to Worship
Blessed are you, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And blessed is your Kingdom, both now and forever, amen.

Te Deum Laudamus 
You are God: we praise you; you are the Lord; we acclaim you; you are the eternal Father: All creation worships you. To you all angels, all the powers of heaven, Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise: Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory.

The glorious company of apostles praise you. The noble fellowship of prophets praise you. The white-robed army of martyrs praise you. Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you; Father, of majesty unbounded, your true and only Son, worthy of all worship, and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.

You, Christ, are the king of glory, the eternal Son of the Father. When you became man to set us free you did not shun the Virgin’s womb. You overcame the sting of death and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers. You are seated at God’s right hand in glory. We believe that you will come and be our judge. Come then, Lord, and help your people, bought with the price of your own blood, and bring us with your saints to glory everlasting.

Praise and Thanksgiving (songs and prayers)

Gloria Patri
Glory be to the Father,
And to the Son and to the Holy Spirit:
As it was in the beginning,
Is now, and ever shall be,
World without end. Amen, amen.

Chronological Reading for the Day
Sunday: Num. 19-21

Lectionary Readings
Psalm: Ps. 71.1-6
OT: Jer. 1.4-10
Gospel: Luke 4.21-30
NT: 1 Cor. 13.1-13

(Click here for all readings)
Reflection: Silence and/or Journaling

The Apostles’ Creed
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, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he arose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven and sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick 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.

*In the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, the term catholic refers to the Church’s universality, through all ages and times, of all languages and peoples. It refers to no particular tradition or denominational expression (e.g., as in Roman Catholic).

Prayers of Confession
Let us now confess our sins to God and receive mercy and grace to help in our time of need.

Assurance of Pardon
Having faithfully confessed and renounced your sin, Christ also has been faithful to forgive your sins and to purify you from all unrighteousness. It is certain, that there is One who has spoken to the Father in your defense, Jesus Christ, the Righteous One who is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and for the sins of the whole world. His grace and peace are with you now. Amen.

Petitions and Supplications, Ending with The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

~ Matthew 6.9-13 (KJV)

Doxology (and/or closing song)
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him above ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.

Benediction 
Lord Jesus, forgive us for the many times we assume that we understand you, and treat you with the disdain of overfamiliarity like your hometown neighbors in Nazareth. Free our minds and our spirits to see and hear you afresh, and to be ever ready to receive a new, fresh Word from you for our lives and for others. In your name we pray, amen.

Pray without Ceasing – Flash Prayer for the Day
Open my eyes, O Lord, to see wonderful and new things from your Word for my life.

Weekly Reflection on the Priesthood of all Believers
The word witness though expressed as such only four times in the preceding passages, is the key to all of them. Each passage emphasizes verbalizing the truth about Jesus, each forcefully carries the thrust that witnessing is to be the main task of the whole church in the whole world throughout the whole church age. This is summed up in the commission Jesus gave his followers immediately before his Ascension (see Acts 1.8). Any fair interpretation of these words will insist that the command includes every Christian. It was given to the whole church. The Christian is to go into all the world, “even to the uttermost part.” This certainly includes every Christian’s personal world, for it takes all the personal worlds of all the Christians scattered over the Earth added together to cover the geographical world. The whole church is to go into the whole world.

~ Roy J. Fish and J. E. Conant, Every Member Evangelism.
Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 1976. p. 6.

Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus
The Chosen One of God, Luke 9.28-36

Book Reading
Carter, Guard the Good Deposit

Special Church Year Service
The Presentation of the Lord: Wednesday, February 2, 2022