Worship Outline and Sermon

Worship Outline:

Third Sunday after Epiphany

Service of Word and Prayer

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Introduction to the day

As we continue through the time after Epiphany, stories of the call to discipleship show us the implications of our baptismal calling to show Christ to the world. Jesus begins proclaiming the good news and calling people to repentance right after John the Baptist is arrested for preaching in a similar way. Knowing that John was later executed, we see at the very outset the cost of discipleship. Still, the two sets of brothers leave everything they have known and worked for all their lives to follow Jesus and fish for people.

Time for Prayer and Silent Reflection

Gathering Song Would You Bless Our Homes and Families


Would you bless our homes and families,

Source of life who calls us here;

In our world of stress and tension

Teach us love that conquers fear.

Help us learn to love each other

With a love that constant stays;

Teach us when we face our troubles,

Love’s expressed in many ways.

When our way is undemanding,

Let us use that the time that’s ours

To delight in simple pleasures,

Sharing joys in gentle hours.

When our way is anxious walking

And a heavy path we plod,

Teach us trust in one another

And in you, our gracious God.

(‘Voices United’, #556, st.1-2. Text: Walter Farquharson. Music: Ron Klusmeier. Text: © 1977 Walter Farquharson (admin. Hope Publishing Company) Tune: © 1977, Ron Klusmeier (admin. Hope Publishing Co). Reprinted with permission under OneLicense.net #A-714392. All rights reserved.)


Blessed be the holy Trinity, one God,

whose voice is upon the waters,

whose mercy is poured out upon all people,

whose goodness cascades over all creation

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

And also with you.




Kyrie eleison, on our world and on our way.

Kyrie eleison, ev’ry day.

For peace in the world, for the health of the church, for the unity of all;

For this holy house, for all who worship and praise,

Let us pray to the Lord, let us pray to the Lord.

Refrain (2x):

(ELW, p.184. Words and Music: Larry Olson. © 1989 Dakota Road Music. Reprinted with permission under OneLicense.net #A-714392. All rights reserved.)

Prayer of the Day

Let us pray.

Almighty God, by grace alone you call us and accept us in your service. Strengthen us by your Spirit, and make us worthy of your call, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.


First Reading: Jonah 3:1-5, 10

A reading from Jonah.

The book of Jonah is a comedy starring a reluctant prophet who is given a one-sentence message: Nineveh will be destroyed in forty days. Much to Jonah’s dismay, the people of Nineveh repent. The point of the story is to get the reader to wrestle with the question “On whom should God have mercy?”

1The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time, saying, 2“Get up, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you.” 3So Jonah set out and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly large city, a three days’ walk across. 4Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s walk. And he cried out, “Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” 5And the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and everyone, great and small, put on sackcloth.

10When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it.

The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

Song Praise to the Lord (ELW 844)


Praise to the Lord, all of you, God’s servants.

Blessed be the name of our God, now and ever.

From the rising of the sun,

May the Lord be praised, praise to the name of the Lord!

There is none like our God in the heav’ns or on earth,

Who lifts the poor from the dust, seating them with the mighty,

Who stoops to raise the weak and low:

May the Lord be praised, praise to the name of the Lord!

(Text: Ron Klusmeier, based on Psalm 113. Music: Ron Klusmeier. Text © 1972 Musiklus, admin. Hope Publishing Company. Reprinted with permission under OneLicense.net #A-714392. All rights reserved. Music © 1972 Ron Klusmeier.)

Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 7:29-31

A reading from 1 Corinthians.

Paul does not disapprove of marriage or other human social institutions. He does, however, want Christians to live in the present in fervent anticipation of God’s future, which even now has dawned through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

29Brothers and sisters, the appointed time has grown short; from now on, let even those who have wives be as though they had none, 30and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no possessions, 31and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away.

The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

Gospel Acclamation

Alleluia. The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news. Alleluia. (Mark 1:15)

Gospel: Mark 1:14-20

The holy gospel according to Mark.

Glory to you, O Lord.

Before Jesus calls his first disciples, he proclaims a message that becomes known as “the gospel” or good news from God. God is ready to rule our lives. Those who realize this will respond with repentance and faith.

14Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, 15and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”

16As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. 17And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” 18And immediately they left their nets and followed him. 19As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. 20Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him.

The gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, O Christ.

Sermon Implications’ – Pastor Matthew

Hymn of the Day You Have Come Down to the Lakeshore (ELW 817)


You have come down to the lakeshore

Seeking neither the wise nor the wealthy,

But only asking for me to follow.


Sweet Lord, you have looked into my eyes;

Kindly smiling, you’ve called out my name

On the sand I have abandoned my small boat;

Now with you, I will seek other seas.

You know full well what I have, Lord:

Neither treasure nor weapons for conquest,

Just these my fishnets and will for working.


(St. 1-2. Text: Cesáreo Gabaráin; tr. Madeleine Forell Marshall. Music: Cesáreo Gabaráin. Text and music © 1979 Cesáreo Gabaráin. Reprinted with permission under OneLicense.net #A-714392. All rights reserved.)

Prayers of Intercession

Guided by Christ made known to the nations, let us offer our prayers for the church, the world, and all people in need.

For the church throughout the world during this week of prayer for Christian Unity, that God help us to unite in proclaiming the good news of God’s reconciling love. For our congregation, that God’s steadfast love serve as a model for all relationships. Let us pray:

From the rising of the sun, may the Lord be praised, praise to the name of the Lord!

For skies and seas, for birds and fish, for favorable weather and clean water, and for the well-being of creation, that God raise up advocates and scientists to guide our care for all the earth. For those who provide leadership in our cities and around the world, that God inspire all people in the just use of wealth. Let us pray:

From the rising of the sun, may the Lord be praised, praise to the name of the Lord!

For those who are sick, distressed, or grieving; for the outcast and all who await relief, that in the midst of suffering, God’s peace and mercy surround them. For our concerns, lifted up to you in our silent prayers … Let us pray:

From the rising of the sun, may the Lord be praised, praise to the name of the Lord!

In thanksgiving for our ancestors in the faith whose lives serve as an example of gospel living, that they point us to salvation through Christ. Let us pray:

From the rising of the sun, may the Lord be praised, praise to the name of the Lord!

Merciful God, hear the prayers of your people, spoken or silent, for the sake of the one who dwells among us, your Son, Jesus Christ our Savior.


Lord’s Prayer

Gathered into one by the Holy Spirit, let us pray as Jesus taught 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 forever. Amen.

Offering Prayer

O God, receive these gifts as you receive us: like a mother receives her child, with arms open wide. Nourish us anew in your tender care, and empower us in faithful service to tend to others with this same love, through Jesus Christ, our saving grace. Amen.


God the creator strengthen you; Jesus the beloved fill you; and the Holy Spirit the comforter keep you in peace. Amen.

Sending Song You Are Holy (ELW 525)


(Sung 2x)

You are holy, you are whole.

You are always ever more

Than we ever understand.

You are always at hand.

Blessed are you coming near.

Blessed are you coming here

To your church in wine and bread,

Raised from soil, raised from dead.

You are holy, you are wholeness,

You are present. Let the cosmos praise you, Lord!

Sing hosanna in the highest! Sing hosanna! Sing hosanna to our God!

(Text and Music: Per Harling. © 1990 Augsburg Fortress Press. Reprinted with permission under OneLicense.net #A-714392. All rights reserved.)


Go in peace. Be the light of Christ. Thanks be to God.

From sundaysandseasons.com.Copyright © 2021 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.

Sermon: 'Implications'

Third Sunday after Epiphany B 2021/01/24

Text: Mark 1:17 (adapted from Pr. Heather Hansen, San Antonio TX, ELCA Faithlens blog, Jan. 24, 2021 – “Inviting not, selling”)

‘Faithlens’ is an online blog for youth leaders and pastors produced by our sister church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. This week’s posting, written by Lutheran pastor Heather Hansen, of San Antonio Texas, offers a fresh perspective compared to how I’ve often heard this reading from Mark and its implications for discipleship. So, in much of what follows I share her thoughts. Thank you to Pr. Heather for inviting me, and others, to do so this weekend.

“In Mark 1:14-20, Jesus calls and gathers his first disciples. Jesus tells these men, who are fishermen by trade, that he will make them … “fishers of people.” It seems like a relatively straightforward deal; I call you to follow me, and you call others to follow me (meaning Jesus). We use this story as a reference to how God wants us to invite and welcome people into our communities of faith. We use this story to understand part of the work of being a disciple of Christ.”

“However, [Hansen cautions us as we get ready to respond. She asks,] “Isn’t it a little more complicated than what we hear in the gospel? Jesus walks up to these fishermen, calls out, “Follow me.” They lay down their nets and follow. But WHY?!?!?! [Hansen argues that] if you were to walk up to someone in today’s world and tell them to just drop what they are doing and follow you, they would probably think you are crazy! Even if they didn’t think you were crazy, they would not likely follow. Moreover, in today’s cultural climate of marketing and consumerism, we’ve become particularly tuned in to wondering what people are trying to “sell” us and what’s in it for them. “Why should I follow you? What’s the catch? What’s in it for me? What’s in it for you?”

From her experience with youth and young people, Hansen points out, “I’ve spent a lot of time in recent years inviting young people who do not go to church or have an interest in church to come. I’ve often heard that they just don’t see the point. These are exactly the people I feel God is calling me to invite into a faith community. However, finding ways to invite them and not make it “too churchy” or sound like a sales pitch has proven hard. Simply asking them to “follow me” doesn’t seem realistic either. So I look to the gospel story and wonder, what does it mean to be a fisher of people? And how can I be a fisher of people without becoming a salesperson?”

I very much like what Hansen shares next in what she labels, ‘A few things come to mind’. Her suggestions on the implications of what it means to invite others to follow seem to me to apply wherever people of faith find themselves. First she notes, “Jesus invites the disciples to follow AND tells them he will make them fishers of people. When we invite someone to come to church, we should be clear about what we are inviting them to and why. When you want to ask someone to share a special thing in your life, how do you ask them? What do you say? Developing a relationship with God is different than just coming to church–and people need to know why.”

I believe our congregation’s vision statement is an excellent place from where to begin answering why. When we say, ‘Come share the gifts of God – serve the world’, we are announcing that the call to follow is an invitation to be part of the renewed relationship that God has announced through our Saviour, for them, and for all people. It is a call to come and to gather with others who have received the same word of grace, who have many of the same questions about life and faith, and who desire to grow both in following and in community. At the same time, to follow Jesus is to discover gifts that we and others have received through the Spirit. To answer the call to follow Jesus is to come and learn, worship and share, and to go out to offer God’s love in word and in action To follow and to fish means, not going out to sell Jesus, but to ‘serve the world’.

The 2nd thing is “the story doesn’t tell … why these men just dropped their nets to follow. Did they KNOW Jesus? Was he an acquaintance? A stranger? Did they hate their jobs and see that Jesus offered something better? Had they heard that Jesus was proclaiming the good news of God? What would make someone in today’s world hear that the gospel is good news? Does knowing a person and hearing about what they are doing that is unique or special make a difference in whether someone follows?”

When we are staying at home, practising social distancing, and talking behind masks, it might not seem like the moment to share this good news and invitation. People are hoping for health and the vaccine, and freedom to move around. Why should they take time to hear this good news that Jesus offers? Why should those who believe bother others with this news? Even Jesus likely wouldn’t be walking the streets these days, coming up to people, and saying, ‘Come and follow me’.

Still, it’s the right time to offer this invitation. It is a gift to share that the other is loved, that there is someone who cares, that there is someone who has a larger vision than what we can see at the present, and that there is someone who finds ways for us to be in community even when we must remain apart. It is a time, to offer to listen to the other, to share each other’s burdens, fears, and dreams. It is a time, to offer to pray for the other, to connect them to others, and to promise to remain in contact with them. Even if it is a time when we cannot follow beside each other, we can follow together from a distance, holding on for dear life. Hansen reminds us, “Jesus doesn’t make a big fuss or spend a lot of time on the invitation. It’s simply an invitation. Sometimes, when we work too hard to convince someone, we begin to sound like a salesperson trying to sell something instead of simply inviting. Keep it simple. Just invite.”

This leads to Hansen’s concluding observation: “A fisherman knows that some days you catch a bunch of fish, and some days you don’t. And when you pull in the nets, some get away or never get caught in the first place. If we apply this to fishing for people, we remember that fishing for people isn’t about catching everyone or catching anyone in particular. It’s about the fishing itself, the inviting. God asks us to be faithful disciples and fish, but God doesn’t expect us to always make a catch. Additionally, if we get too caught up in trying to catch the fish we missed, we lose sight of those we’ve caught—and they may then slip away. Fishing for people is not about making a catch or a sale. It’s about extending an invitation to something which is life-giving, nourishing, sustaining, and filling. It’s about inviting someone deeper into a relationship. It’s about sharing the opportunity to experience God’s love with others…. It’s about inviting people into hard, beautiful, merciful, forgiving, filling, comforting, beloved relationships; the things that being a disciple are all about.”

Come and follow me. Amen.