“Follow Me”

The Celebration of the Gospel
January 21, 2018 —3rd Sunday after the Epiphany

 “Follow me, and I will have you fishing for people.”
 —Mark 1.17

    ________We Gather as the Body of Christ______


PRELUDE   Our Father Who Art In Heaven   J. S. Bach

[As we listen to the music we quiet our minds and bodies,
listen for our hearts’ deepest desires,
and become present to the Holy One who is lovingly present for us.

Leader:  God, in the beginning  you called forth light.
All:  O Holy Mystery, you call forth life!
Christ, you called to the fishermen and they followed.
O Deepening Love, you call forth love!
Holy Spirit, you call to us from within.
O Life-Giving Voice, you call forth our gifts!
We hear.  Our hearts are awakened, and we follow.  Alleluia!

* SONG      Two Fishermen    Black hymnal # 2101

__________ We Attend to the Word____________

God of life, Jesus called to the fishermen and they heard something in that voice, something compelling—and they followed him.  Call to us now.  Let us hear your voice; let it touch something deep in us; and move us to respond.   We are hungry to hear and to follow.  We open our hearts to your word.  Amen.

OLD TESTAMENT   Jonah 3.1-5, 10
[God sends Jonah to speak to the city of Nineveh (which he has tried to avoid).  Surprisingly, he does—and, even more unexpected, they listen to his message and repent!]

            The word of God came to Jonah a second time, saying,  “Get up, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you.” So Jonah set out and went to Nineveh, according to the word of God. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly large city, a three days’ walk across. Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s walk. And he cried out, “Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” And the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and everyone, great and small, put on sackcloth for mourning.

When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. Then he had a proclamation made in Nineveh: “By the decree of the king and his nobles: No human being or animal, no herd or flock, shall taste anything. They shall not feed, nor shall they drink water. People and animals shall be covered with sackcloth, and they shall cry mightily to God. All shall turn from their evil ways and from the violence that is in their hands. Who knows? God may relent and change God’s mind, and not treat us with such fierce anger, so that we do not perish.” When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God reconsidered the calamity God had threatened to bring upon them; and God did not do it.

GOSPEL          Mark 1.14-20
[Jesus calls fishermen beside the lake to follow him as his disciples.  Leaving everything, they go with him.]

Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the Empire of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.” As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen.   And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.”   And immediately they left their nets and followed him.   As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets.   Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him.


NEW TESTAMENT      Ephesians 4.1-6
[We are not just a random association of people: we are called as one body in the one spirit of Christ. We are called to live in love and peace.]

I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.


SONG     Calling Me   Steve G-H

Dear God, Creator eternally, you call everything to be.
How are you calling me, even now?
Who do you call me to be?  Where is your image in me, calling me?

Jesus, lord of the fishermen, calling your children,
you call to me once again, even now.
What will you lead me to do?  How can I witness to you, calling me, calling me?

Spirit, power of love in me, how do you set me free,
what gifts are you giving me, even now?
I am a vessel for you. Humbly I listen to you, calling me, calling me.

We believe in God, who called light out of darkness, who calls all things into being.
Holy One, it is you who call us to life, and call us your Beloved.
We hear your call, and we turn to you.
We live in the name and Spirit of Jesus, God’s Christ, who loved and taught,
who called demons out of people, who called out injustice,
and who calls forth the best in us.
Loving One, you call to your disciples to follow you.
We join ourselves to your life, your ministry, your death and resurrection.
We breathe the Holy Spirit, the spirit of life, who grants us gifts and calls them forth.
Living One, we open ourselves to the grace you give us
to live lives worthy of the calling to which you call us:
lives of awe and gratitude, humility and love, forgiveness and mercy.
We give ourselves to you, to follow your leading
moment by moment, day by day.
Loving God in Christ, you have called us by name, and we follow.  Amen.

* SONG    Bless the Lord    Black hymnal  #2013

[Anyone who wishes may share a prayer concern at the microphone.]

______We Are Sent in Ministry to the World_____

8:15: The Gift of Love — Hal Hopson/ arr. Patricia Cota  (Ringtones)
10:30: With a Bold Voice  — Michael Mazzantenta (Bells of St. Matthew’s)

*  OFFERING SONG   Jesus Calls Us   Blue hymnal  #398, v. 1, 5
Gracious God, we give you our lives, symbolized in these gifts.  Receive them with love, bless them with grace and use them according to your will.  You have called us in love. You lead us with your grace. Give us grace to follow in faith and service, for the sake of the healing of the world, in the name of Christ. Amen.


*  SONG    Here I Am, Lord   Blue hymnal #593

RESPONSE    We stand and sing to our neighbors:
May the grace and peace of Christ be with you my friends.
Go and share the love of God, love that never ends.

POSTLUDE    To God Be The Glory    Wm. H. Doane, arr: Douglas E. Wagner
[During the postlude there are people ready to pray with you at the candles in the corners.]



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