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Celebrating God’s Transformative Presence.
Collect: Last Sunday after Epiphany
O God, who before the passion of your only-begotten Son revealed his glory upon the holy mountain: Grant to us that we, beholding by faith the light of his countenance, may be strengthened to bear our cross, and be changed into his likeness from glory to glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.
2 Kings 2:1-12 . . . Elisha receives the mantle of prophetic responsibility from Elijah.
Psalm 50:1-6 . . . God calls the world to listen
2 Corinthians 4:3-6 . . . Paul pictures the changes brought by the light of Christ.
Mark 9:2-9 . . . Peter, James and John are forever transformed by Jess’ transfiguration.
“Dazzled” – Rev. Dr. Amy K. Butler, Senior Minister at The Riverside Church in NYC
A Committed Christian Ministry Characterized
Collect: Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany
Set us free, O God, from the bondage of our sins and give us, we beseech thee, the liberty of that abundant life, which thou hast manifested to us in thy Son our Savior Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen
Isaiah 40:21-31 . . . In awe-filled tones, the prophet Isaiah describes God’s majesty, power and compassion.
Psalm 147:1-12, 21b . . . The song of tender care
1 Corinthians 9:16-23 . . . Paul explains how he willingly lays down his privileges as a Christian to reach people with God’s message of good news.
Mark 1:29-39 . . . Jesus’ ministry revolves around healing and preaching, solitude and prayer.
The scope and meaning of God’s authority
Collect: Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany
Almighty and everlasting God, you govern all things both in heaven and on earth: Mercifully hear the supplications of your people and in our time grant us your peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.
Deuteronomy 18:15-20 . . . Moses encourages the people to listen to God’s prophet and thus heed God’s word.
Psalm 111 . . . The Path of Virtue
1 Corinthians 8:1-13 . . . Paul explains that true obedience to the law will be balanced by love and compassion.
Mark 1:21-28 . . . Jesus demonstrates his divine authority by healing a man with an unclean spirit.
Sermon The Rev. Rachel May, Pastor of Boulevard United Methodist Church in Richmond, Virginia, preaches a sermon called “Even the Demons” based on the Gospel text from Mark 1:21-28. She says, “You’ve been there. Someone–maybe it’s you–grows quiet at the supper table because they don’t feel like they know enough to join the discussion. For all the noise out there, there are still some things you and I don’t talk about because the second we try, we feel well outside our wheelhouse.” Exorcism, for example. What do we know about that? And why, in this modern world, would it matter?
The risky nature of Christian discipleship. For “Repentance,” “Metanoia,” is what we are called to do.
Collect: Third Sunday after the Epiphany
Give us grace, O Lord, to answer readily the call of our Savior Jesus Christ and proclaim to all people the Good News of his salvation, that we and the whole world may perceive the glory of his marvelous works; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.
Jonah 3:1-5 . . . The prophet Jonah obeys God’s call to preach to the people of Nineveh, who repent and believe.
Psalm 62:6-14 . . . A Prayer for Protection: An expression of pain, condemnation of external foes, and asking for God’s help
1 Corinthians 7:29-31 . . . Paul urges believers to give priority to God’s mission instead of the passing concerns of this world.
Mark 1:14-20 . . . When Jesus calls his first disciples, they abandon their jobs and homes—in short, their security—to follow him.
Sermon 1: Father Michael Renninger, Pastor of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Richmond, Virginia, preaches a sermon called, “Oh, Jonah He Lived in a Whale.” But he did so much more than that. He preached repentance to the Ninevites, the enemies of Israel. Apparently God wanted the people of Ninevah to change their ways and experience his forgiveness. What does God want for your enemies?
Sermon 2: The Rev. Dr. Gary Charles is pastor of Central Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, Georgia. In this sermon from Mark 1:14-20 he says, “I’m often astonished at how many people see following Jesus as optional equipment in life, like buying an extended warranty on a car. ‘Yes, I’d like to purchase the Jesus option, just in case there’s something to this Jesus I’ll be covered.’ Yet from the first chapter of his Gospel Mark introduces us to a Jesus who is not interested in our occasional curiosity or our arm-length respect, he is interested in claiming and transforming our lives right now.
Exploring the meaning of baptism
Collect: The First Sunday after Epiphany
Father in heaven, who at the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan proclaimed him your beloved Son and anointed him with the Holy Spirit: Grant that all who are baptized in his Name may keep the covenant they have made, and boldly confess him as Lord and Savior; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.
Genesis 1:1-5; . . . God parts the waters, transforming darkness and turmoil into light and hope
Psalm 29 . . . The voice of power
Acts 19:1-7 . . . Linking baptism with the empowering descent of the Holy Spirit in the developing Christian community
Mark 1:4-11 . . . As John baptizes Jesus, the heavens split apart and the Spirit descends, affirming Jesus as both messianic King and Spirit-filled servant
The mystery and meaning of the incarnation
Collect: First Sunday after Christmas Day
Almighty God, you have poured upon us the new light of your incarnate Word: Grant that this light, enkindled in our hearts, may shine forth in our lives; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Isaiah 61:10–62:3 . . . Isaiah tells of a coming time of deliverance and joyous fulfillment
Galatians 3:23-25; 4:4-7 . . . Paul announces that Jesus’ incarnation brings redemption and adoption as God’s children.
John 1:1-18 . . . John presents Jesus as the incarnate Word of God, full of grace and truth.
“Christmas Presence”, a sermon by Rev. Emily Knight. December 24, 2014, Christmas Eve. First United Methodist Church, Ocala, FL
The Revelation of God’s Glory
Collect: The Last Sunday after the Epiphany
O God, who before the passion of your only-begotten Son revealed his glory upon the holy mountain: Grant to us that we, beholding by faith the light of his countenance, may be strengthened to bear our cross, and be changed into his likeness from glory to glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen
Exodus 24:12-18 . . . Moses encounters God on Mount Sinai
The cloud is a physical manifestation of the Lord’s presence. Moses spent six days in the cloud before the Lord calls him. He then spends 40 days and 40 nights on that same mountain where he encountered the Lord and the burning bush and got his original call.
The Psalms provide the opportunity for the worshiper to put one’s self in the picture, make the psalm our personal response to situations.
Psalm 2 . . . Situation 1: Struggle on the World’s Stage
Note these last three verses of this contemporary interpretation:
10) So listen well you rulers of the people, be wise pay heed to what you hear.
11) Learn service to the God of earth and heaven, in humility and awe draw close, come near.
12) Instead of fury, anger, fear and wrath, know blessedness, learn to live as a refuge of God.
Psalm 99 . . . Situation 2: Sovereign of the Universe
Another three verses:
7) And from the pillar to the clouds on high you shaped the words they heard and grew competent to understand and do.
8) There was no doubt for them it was your words which spoke, and your forgiveness flowed to heal the inflicted for their evil deeds.
9) So it is your greatness God, that we proclaim, for you exist upon the sacred mountains of the transcendent being, And gathering now before that vast and mighty range, we worship, and in awe we honor you, O Holy One.
2 Peter 1:16-21 . . . Peter testifies to the amazing events of Jesus’ glorious transfiguration. This letter is to be taken as the actual voice of the Holy Spirit speaking directly to us.
Matthew 17:1-9 . . . Three of Jesus’ disciples witness Jesus’ radiance and hear the voice of God. Once the disciples know who he truly is, Jesus begins to tell them of his impending death and resurrection. He then calls them to take up their cross and follow him down that road of suffering and vindication. All this happened before the mountain top experience, where Peter, James and John can see the transfiguration first hand.
Note the cloud, the presence of God again.
This sermon brings to mind the scripture verse most present for me these days: Isaiah 49: 6b — I give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.
Today’s readings urge us to go beyond our obligations to the challenge of loving.
Collect: Seventh Sunday after Epiphany
O Lord, you have taught us that without love whatever we do is worth nothing: Send Your Holy Spirit and pour into our hearts your greatest gift, which is love, the true bond of peace and all virtue, without which whoever lives is accounted dead before you. Grant this for the sake of your only Son, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen
Leviticus 19:1-2, 9-18 . . . God’s calls the people to be holy and to live in love.
Psalm 119:33-40 . . . A request for guidance in keeping the commandments.
1 Corinthians 3:10-11, 16-23 . . .Paul reminds the Corinthians that all things belong to those who are in Christ
Matthew 5: 38-48 . . . Jesus declares that for his disciples unselfish love shows that we are God’s children. Followers are called to a way of life that teaches far beyond worldly standards of goodness — towards the limitless excellence of their heavenly Father.
Collect: The Sixth Sunday After Epiphany
O God, the strength of all who put their trust in you: Mercifully accept our prayers; and because in your weakness we can do nothing good without you, give me the help of your grace, that in keeping your commandments we may please you both in will and deed; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.
Deuteronomy 30: 15-20, . . . Moses presents the people with their choice: love and obey the Lord and find life, or turn away to other gods and know death.
(or Sirach 15: 15-20) . . . man instruction in responsibility of human beings for their own actions.
Psalm 119:1-8 . . . a delight in the Lord’s statues, seeking to keep all the Lord’s commandments.
1 Corinthians 3: 1-9 . . . an admonishment for bickering and division
Matthew 5: 21-37 . . . a concern about the heart of human behavior.
Rev. Rachel May, Pastor of Boulevard United Methodist Church in Richmond, Virginia, preaches a sermon called “Deal with It,” based on Matthew 5:21-37. May struggles with the prohibition against “swearing falsely,” and finds in it–and in murder, adultery, and divorce–an unwillingness to deal with conflict. “So, deal with it,” Jesus says. “Just deal with it.”
A written commentary on the whole “Sermon on the Mount,” including and explanation of each the Beatitude, by GRACE COMMUNION INTERNATIONAL