January 23, 2022 - Home Worship Service

January 23, 2022 – 3rd Sunday after the Epiphany

One: We have come to worship God, the living God,

All: Who calls prophets and teachers to bear witness.

One: We have come to praise God, the almighty God,

All: Who answers the forces of hatred and hurt with the power of grace.

One: We have come to worship God, all-gracious God,

All: Who chooses even you and me,

to receive and carry the Word of life and hope.

All: Glory to God! (Discipleship Ministries)

Morning prayer

Spirit of the living God, we praise and adore You for empowering us to claim membership of the body of Christ, a gift received through the fullness of Your grace. Empower us anew, we pray, with tongues of fire and hearts of love to proclaim the reconciling word among people. Remind us that we are all members of the one body and if one member suffers, we all suffer. May we, as the body of Christ in this place, be the best evidence of Your love by declaring and witnessing to this as the year of the Lord’s favor for all people. We give thanks that all of us are Christ’s body, and rejoice in each one being a part of it. Accept our adoration and praise for these great gifts, we pray, in Jesus’ name. Amen. (Discipleship Ministries)

Hymn #347 Spirit Song

  1. O let the Son of God enfold you with His Spirit and His love.

Let Him fill your heart and satisfy your soul.

O let Him have the things that hold you, and His Spirit like a dove

Will descend upon your life and make you whole. 

Refrain:

Jesus, O Jesus, come and fill Your lambs. Jesus, O Jesus, come and fill Your lambs.

  1. O come and sing this song with gladness as Your hearts are filled with joy.

Lift your hands in sweet surrender to His name.

O give Him all your tears and sadness; give Him all your years of pain,

And you’ll enter into life in Jesus’ name.

Refrain

Children’s message

Luke 4:14-21

Then Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about Him spread through all the surrounding country. He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone. When He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up, He went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was His custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to Him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” And He rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. Then He began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

God’s Promises

 

People make promises every day. Sometimes we give something to another person as a sign of our promise, sometimes we sign our name to seal our promise, other times we just give our word to another person that we will do something.

I'm sure you have all seen a ring like this. (Show the wedding ring.) When a man and woman get married, they usually make promises to one another. They say something like, "I promise to love you for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health as long as we both shall live." Then they exchange rings as a symbol of that promise.

This is an ordinary letter like the ones we receive in our mail box every day. Right in the middle is the name and address of the person for whom it is intended. What do you see up here in the corner of the envelope? Right! It is a stamp. When the Postal Service sells you this stamp and you put it on a letter, it represents their promise to deliver it to the person to whom the envelope is addressed. It doesn't matter if it is cloudy or sunny, raining or snowing, hot or cold, the mail gets delivered. That is the promise that this stamp represents.

You are too young to have a credit card, but one day you probably will. Most adults have a credit card which they use to buy things. When you buy something using your credit card, you have to sign a ticket. When you sign the ticket, you are promising that you will pay for the items you purchased using the credit card. Your signature is your promise.

People make promises every day. Do they always keep their promises? Unfortunately, some people don't. God makes promises too. The Bible is full of God's promises. Does God always keep His promises? Yes He does! One of my favorite verses in the Bible is one that says, "For no matter how many promises God has made, they are 'Yes' in Christ. (2 Cor. 1:20) That is what our Bible lesson teaches us today.

Jesus was in the city of Nazareth on the Sabbath day so He did what He always did on the Sabbath. He went to the synagogue. He stood up and began to read the words of the prophet Isaiah from the scripture. He read where it says, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come."

When He had finished reading, He sat down. All eyes were on Jesus. Then He began to speak to them. "The scripture that you have just heard read has been fulfilled this very day!" Jesus came to earth to fulfill the promises of God. All of God's promises are fulfilled in Him.

Wouldn't it be great if you and I were as faithful in keeping our promises to God as He is in keeping His promises to us?

Our Father in heaven, thank You for Your faithfulness in keeping Your promises. Help us to be faithful in keeping our promises to You. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen. (Sermons4kids.com)

Prayers of Intercession:  Thank You most gracious and forgiving Father for hearing the cries of our hearts.  We now pray as You have taught us: 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. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.  For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.  Amen. 

Offering spotlight:  LUMC has a vital and vibrant Sunday School program for adults and for kids.  This morning we celebrate the journey of discipleship.  Sunday School is the frontline of discipleship with wonderful teachers who make it happen and the families who place a priority on learning the Bible.  Consider becoming a part of one of our classes.

Offertory prayer: God who created us, as we gather to worship You, we are conscious that we are all one body in Christ. When one part of the body is hurting, the whole body is wounded; when healing happens, the whole body is blessed. May our giving this morning bring love to the parts of Christ’s body that are feeling unloved and forgotten; and may it bring justice and mercy to those parts that are oppressed and burdened. In our giving, may we find the joy of blessing the whole body of Christ. In His holy name, we pray. Amen. (Discipleship Ministries)

Message scripture: 1 Corinthians 12:12-27

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot would say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear would say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as He chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many members, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and those members of the body that we think less honorable we clothe with greater honor, and our less respectable members are treated with greater respect; whereas our more respectable members do not need this. But God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior member, that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it.

Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.

Message:  The Body of Christ                         Pastor Becky Cuddeback

Have you ever played with a Mr. Potatohead? Originally, when the toy was marketed and sold, it was just the parts, the arms, legs, eyes and hat. The child was to supply the potato. Fortunately, the toymakers soon added the plastic body, but in adding it – they did something curious – every slot would accept any piece. There was and still is no wrong way to play with Mr. Potatohead. I hope you can envision the odd configurations and the delight in putting his feet where the hat would go, but again, no wrong way to play – or eyes in the arm spot. The real laughter begins when you get a friend who has a potatohead and they come over to play – you could have a spud covered in arms or all eyes (which I guess would be the potato’s destiny). I am hoping you are getting the mental picture. There is the ideal – the picture on the box and the reality and absurdity on the ground – which are both right. The sole purpose is to delight in the construction, but in practical terms there is no real purpose in the building of a potato person – but to give us the illustration of the body of Christ we inhabit.

Let me explain – while delightful to look at and play with, a body made of only one part is limited. The purpose of the Body of Christ is to reflect God and care for God’s world, it really is that simple, maybe not easy, but the premise is simple. In unity, those who believe in Jesus reflect God and care for God’s world.

Let’s go back to Mr. Potatohead, what if he were only equipped with arms? There is still good there, good ministry can happen, primarily what can we do with our arms? Hug people, good – people need physical touch – we know that without physical touch, folks don’t thrive – that is why we missed them so much in the beginning of the pandemic. For some of us, Sunday hugs are all the physical touch we are going to get. So, we have a body of only arms, we are limited to this one ministry, and the problem comes… when the hug needs to be given to someone over there and we can’t get there, because we have no legs. Did you catch what I did there? I snuck a pair of eyes on to the body, that is the only way to know a hug is needed over there, the need had to be seen. Body parts can be sneaky things, just when you think you know what you got, somehow eyes join the fellowship. You didn’t know you needed eyes, the happy hugging going on kept everyone happy and your happiness attracted a set of eyes and now your “body” is needed over there because the eyes saw it. So back to the legs. Where do we get legs?

We could hope for legs, I mean eyes just showed up, maybe legs will also. Now, in reality there are three ways to get legs.

1- We attract legs, somewhere along the line of hugging those that needed hugs, a pair of legs enjoyed the fellowship and the mission and attached themselves to you. This would be the ideal, yet we have to be willing to go where the legs are going to take us and we can become suspicious of where we are going if the legs team up with the eyes, because once you see where you are going, you don’t stop until you get there.

2- One of the arms transforms into legs, again good, the arm/leg would have imprinted on it the mission of hugging. It wouldn’t forget its beginnings.

3- We buy legs and those legs take the hugs.  Now ideally the entire body will want to go with the legs, but since it is now the legs’ job – the body may wait back and see what happens. Of course the problem is this – you can’t hug with legs – that was the ministry of the arms, and the arms now have abandoned the ministry to the legs and with the eyes and the fingers of the hand connected to the arm, points to where the legs are to go. And the legs go, and try to fulfill the ministry of the hugs, but fails because it isn’t an arm. The legs see the value, the mission and ministry attached to it, so they continue to try and try and try.

Now, we can hope that all the while, the arms are still hugging over here in their original spot, yet all the while the eyes are praying for ears and a mouth to come on board, so the arms can be directed to where the legs went. I hope you are beginning to get the picture I am trying to paint for you. Without a roundedness, the body doesn’t really reflect or care about God and God’s creation – it cares and reflects only itself. In this configuration it looks more like Frankenstein’s monster then it does God.

In the very beginning of any body of Christ, it will be arm heavy or leggy, mouthy or mute, but in order to grow into the Body of Christ, it must transform and the transformation can only come in unity. Unity around the purpose of what it means to be the body of Christ – to reflect God and care for God’s world. This can be painful and it certainly isn’t easy. It is hard and thoughtful work of recognizing what we look like in this moment and discerning what we need to be the Body the Christ. Each of us belongs to the Body of Christ, make no mistake, have no reservation that you belong – all are necessary to the Body, and the body needs all its parts and maybe for a time you need to be a part you are uncomfortable with until another set of legs or eyes or arms comes into the body. The beauty is God will equip each of us with the gifts, graces, talents needed – we just have to be willing, willing to be what is needed for the building of the Kingdom here.

Let us pray: Holy God, You have called us all into this awesome mystery that is the Body of Christ. You know what is needed for the growth and You have provided it to us. Give us courage and a willingness to grow genuinely into that which You have created for the care of Your world and a glimpse, a reflection of You. We pray all this is Jesus’ victorious name. Amen.

Closing Hymn #277 Tell Me the Stories of Jesus

  1. Tell me the stories of Jesus I love to hear;
    things I would ask Him to tell me if He were here:
    scenes by the wayside, tales of the sea, stories of Jesus, tell them to me.
  2. First let me hear how the children stood round His knee,
    and I shall fancy His blessing resting on me;
    words full of kindness, deeds full of grace, all in the lovelight of Jesus' face.
  3. Into the city I'd follow the children's band,
    waving a branch of the palm tree high in my hand;
    one of His heralds, yes, I would sing loudest hosannas, "Jesus is King!"

Benediction:  Go into this week with the blessings of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

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