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Second Sunday after Epiphany

What follows is a worship service which, I pray, you can participate in at a time(s) that are convenient to you. This 'service' will take about forty five (45) minutes.

I pray that you will feel called to ACTIVELY PARTICIPATE in this service.

The text that is in regular typeface (that is what you are reading at the moment) is to be read quietly, while the text that is in
bold face (like you are reading right now) is meant to be read aloud.

Opening Hymn:

Let us continue by watching, and please do feel free to sing or read aloud the lyrics, as we commence our praise and thanksgiving.

When you are ready - click the "play" button on the video window, below:

A Call To Worship:

We meet in the name of God,

Creator of the universe,

source of true humanity,

mother and father of all. Amen.

An Assurance of Forgiveness:

(click the 'play' button below to listen)

The Absolution
00:00 / 00:18

The Sentence For Today (let us say aloud):

Lord, you have searched me out and known me; you know my sitting down and my rising up; you discern my thoughts from afar; and are acquainted with all my ways.

The Special Prayer For Today (let us pray aloud):

Almighty God, whose Son our Saviour Jesus Christ is the light of the world: Grant that your people, illumined by your Word and Sacraments, may shine with the radiance of Christ's glory, that he may be known, worshipped, and obeyed to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Our first reading for today:

(click the 'play' button below to listen)

1 Samuel 3:1-10
00:00 / 02:51

Our second reading for today:

(click the 'play' button below to listen)

1 Corinthians 6:12-20
00:00 / 01:52

Gradual Hymn:

Let us continue by watching, and please do feel free to sing or read aloud the lyrics, as we raise out voices in praise and thanksgiving.

When you are ready - click the "play" button on the video window, below:

A reading from the holy gospel according to Saint John.

John 1:43-51
00:00 / 01:41

Listen to David speak to this gospel

God finds us!
00:00 / 08:15

or, if you prefer, you can read the sermon, below:

Sermon Epiphany 2, 14th Jan 2024

Take my lips O Lord and speak through them this day. Take our minds O Lord and think through them this day. Take our hearts O Lord and love through them this day. <Amen>

Here is a quote from American writer Mark Potter, “Jesus, like any good fisherman, first catches the fish; then He cleans them."

We have just heard a seemingly simple passage from the gospel of Saint John, a lovely story about the calling of Philip and Nathanael - but it is full to the brim with deep teaching on the nature of calling to discipleship.

So, at the very heart of my message today is a question, “How do we become followers of Christ?” <PAUSE>

I suppose, in a sense, every sermon you will ever hear or read is about following Jesus - but there is one aspect I want to draw out of the dialogue and interactions in the gospel story we heard today and that John recorded for us … AND …

the scene is set for us as Jesus decides to head for Galilee, and that’s when the encounter with Philip begins. The first point we notice is actually very easy to miss…

Right at the start of the story, John says: “Jesus found Philip”.

If you go to any book shop and look in the spirituality section, you will find autobiographies of people who have devoted themselves to a “spiritual life”. Very often, they write about how they spent many years seeking out a spiritual leader to follow. They may have tried out the ideas of gurus, or philosophers, they may have sat at the feet of great preachers and wise teachers trying to decide who to follow.

But that is not the same for us as Christians: that is not even an option because, as John says, “Jesus found Philip”.

Philip didn’t find Christ. Christ found Philip.

The truth at the heart of the Christian story is not that you and I have found Christ, but Christ has found us.

We did not decide for God. God decided for us.

And the narrative that runs throughout the Bible is of a God who constantly seeks out his people.

And that’s the case right from the beginning of Scripture. If you remember in Genesis 3, Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, realised they were naked and were embarrassed, so they hid. And, in verse 8, God is walking in the garden and looking for Adam and Eve and in verse 9: “But the Lord God called to the man, ‘Where are you?’” Right from the beginning of time, God has been seeking us out and finding us. So let us never think that we chose God: HE HAS CHOSEN US … FAULTS FAILINGS AND ALL!

As Saint Paul wrote to the young Church in Ephesus (see Ephesians 1:4): “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world…” <PAUSE>

This is vitally important because the knowledge that God has sought us out, rather than vice versa, is crucial in keeping us humble before God. <PAUSE>

Yes, even our own faith is not our own decision!

So, there you have it … the first stage in becoming a follower of Christ is:

REALISING WE HAVE BEEN FOUND BY GOD.

I would like to ask you, as you read the Holy Scripture, to see if you can discern how the gospel reveals to us three other stages in being a disciple of Christ:

Being a disciple means telling others about him. For example, the first thing that Philip does is go and tell Nathanael.

Being a disciple means not losing confidence, when the message is not always welcomed.

Being a disciple means receiving the peace and blessings of God.

and when we do these things, to God will be the glory.

I runga e te Ingoa o te Atua, te Matua, te Tama me te Wairua Tapu.
In the name of God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit <AMEN>

Pause and Reflect

Just take a moment now to pause. Bow your head, close your eyes.
 

Allow these words of Holy Scripture and this interpretation of them today to speak to you.

An Affirmation of Our Faith

Let us affirm our faith by saying aloud, and together, "The Apostles Creed":

apostles_creed_pic02.jpg
Image by Allef Vinicius

... and now let us pray for the Church, the World, and Ourselves, giving thanks for God's goodness.

​Let us pray aloud, and together:

Everlasting God, You find and choose people to send forth as workers into Your vineyard, the world that You entrusted to us as stewards.  You spoke to awaken Samuel with Your call, and so we ask You to open the ears of Your chosen ones.  Hear us now as we pray for ALL Your people and the world.

In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen. 

(LONGER pause for silent, personal reflection)

In response to the call today “Lord, in Your Mercy” Our plea is, “Hear our prayer”

(Short Silence) Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer.

Creator God, you called Abram to be the Father of many nations, and so we pray for the nations of the world and their leaders.  We continue to pray for peace, and especially for those involved in the process of reconciliation and bridge-building between peoples, cultures or nations.  Help us wherever and whenever we can in our everyday lives to be instruments of Your peace.

(Short Silence) Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer.

Father God, You called Moses, to be the shepherd who led the Israelites from Egypt, help us all to be worthy pastors of your flock around the world.  We pray for our families, our friends and our neighbours and all who are part of our pastoral care in our communities and in the rest of the world.

(Short Silence) Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer

Loving God you called the Apostles to be ambassadors for Christ and gave them the power to heal.  Help us to bring healing by our visits, our care and our prayers that we may strengthen the spirits of those we love especially in times of sickness or distress.

We especially raise before you all those who have asked for our prayers from around the world … those we know in New Zealand, in Singapore, in Argentina, in France, in Australia, in the US, in Canada, in Austria, in Ukraine, in China and any others we now name aloud, or in the silence of our hearts, and those who are known only by you.

(Short Silence) Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer.

Merciful God, Your son Jesus Christ wept at the grave of Lazarus his friend.  Be with us in our mourning as we pray for all who are coming to the end of their journey here on earth and for all those who have died and now rejoice in the fullness of eternal life.

(Short Silence) Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer

Heavenly father, in a moment of silence we place before you our personal prayers for ourselves, our families, our friends, for all of those whom we love and, for our personal ministries.

(Short Silence) Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer.

Faithful God, we rejoice in answering the call to belong You, to believe in the Gospel, and to be united with the successors of your Apostles.  Send us out into the coming week ready to demonstrate our calling in all that we do and say.

(Short Silence) Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer.

Forth in the peace of Christ we go; Christ to the world with joy we bring; Christ in our minds, Christ on our lips, Christ in our hearts, the world’s true King.

Merciful father: accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.

lord's_prayer_pic01_edited.jpg

Remembering that we are confident to pray this day, and every day, because Jesus Christ continues to teach us:
 

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,

your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial
and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours
now and for ever.   Amen.

Let us conclude our prayers by praying together and aloud:

 

God of mercy,
you have given us grace to pray with one heart and one voice,
and have promised to hear the prayers
of two or three who agree in your name,
fulfil now, we pray,
the prayers and longings of your people
as may be best for us and for your kingdom.
Grant us in this world to know your truth,
and in the world to come to see your glory. Amen.

The Blessing

May The Risen Lord Christ turn His face towards each and every one of you.

May He cause His light to shine upon you, and

may He grant you His peace, and

 

The blessing of Almighty God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit,

be with you and all of those whom you love,

on this day and forever more.

A Closing Hymn:

Let us conclude our worship today by watching, and please do feel free to sing or read aloud the lyrics, as we unite in another hymn our praise and thanksgiving.

When you are ready - click the "play" button on the video window, below:

The Dismissal

Go now, go out into the world

to love and serve The Lord.

 

Go in peace.

AMEN, we go in the name of Christ.

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