The Second Sunday after Epiphany

17 January 2020

Welcome to this short time of worship and reflection 

 

Led by Rev Richard Webb

 

The Collect

 

Eternal Lord,  our beginning and our end:  bring us with the whole creation  to Your glory, hidden through past ages  and made known  in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

 

 

The Lord's Prayer

 

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. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Remember that lovely Hymn? (Do sing or hum it to yourself)

 

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform.
He plants his footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.

You fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds you so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.

His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding ev'ry hour.
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flow'r.

Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan his work in vain.
God is his own interpreter,
And he will make it plain.

 

Readings

1 Samuel 3:1-20

 

Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord under Eli. The word of the Lord was rare in those days; visions were not widespread.

At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his room; the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was. Then the Lord called, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ and he said, ‘Here I am!’ and ran to Eli, and said, ‘Here I am, for you called me.’ But he said, ‘I did not call; lie down again.’ So he went and lay down. The Lord called again, ‘Samuel!’ Samuel got up and went to Eli, and said, ‘Here I am, for you called me.’ But he said, ‘I did not call, my son; lie down again.’ Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. The Lord called Samuel again, a third time. And he got up and went to Eli, and said, ‘Here I am, for you called me.’ Then Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the boy. Therefore Eli said to Samuel, ‘Go, lie down; and if he calls you, you shall say, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” ’ So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

Now the Lord came and stood there, calling as before, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ And Samuel said, ‘Speak, for your servant is listening.’ Then the Lord said to Samuel, ‘See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make both ears of anyone who hears of it tingle. On that day I will fulfil against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. For I have told him that I am about to punish his house for ever, for the iniquity that he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them. Therefore I swear to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be expiated by sacrifice or offering for ever.’

Samuel lay there until morning; then he opened the doors of the house of the Lord. Samuel was afraid to tell the vision to Eli. But Eli called Samuel and said, ‘Samuel, my son.’ He said, ‘Here I am.’ Eli said, ‘What was it that he told you? Do not hide it from me. May God do so to you and more also, if you hide anything from me of all that he told you.’ So Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him. Then he said, ‘It is the Lord; let him do what seems good to him.’

As Samuel grew up, the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan to Beer-sheba knew that Samuel was a trustworthy prophet of the Lord.

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Revelation 5: 1-10

 

Then I saw in the right hand of the one seated on the throne a scroll written on the inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals; and I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, ‘Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?’ And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it. And I began to weep bitterly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. Then one of the elders said to me, ‘Do not weep. See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.’

Then I saw between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders a Lamb standing as if it had been slaughtered, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. He went and took the scroll from the right hand of the one who was seated on the throne. When he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell before the Lamb, each holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. They sing a new song:
‘You are worthy to take the scroll
   and to open its seals,
for you were slaughtered and by your blood you ransomed for God
   saints from every tribe and language and people and nation;
you have made them to be a kingdom and priests serving our God,
   and they will reign on earth.’

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Psalm 139

 

To the leader. Of David. A Psalm.


O Lord, you have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
   you discern my thoughts from far away.
You search out my path and my lying down,
   and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
   O Lord, you know it completely.
You hem me in, behind and before,
   and lay your hand upon me.
even the darkness is not dark to you;
   the night is as bright as the day,
   for darkness is as light to you.


For it was you who formed my inward parts;
   you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
   Wonderful are your works;
that I know very well.
   My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
   intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes beheld my unformed substance.
In your book were written
   all the days that were formed for me,
   when none of them as yet existed.
How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God!
   How vast is the sum of them!
I try to count them—they are more than the sand;
   I come to the end—I am still with you.

John 1: 43-end

 

The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, ‘Follow me.’ Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.’ Nathanael said to him, ‘Can anything good come out of Nazareth?’ Philip said to him, ‘Come and see.’ When Jesus saw Nathanael coming towards him, he said of him, ‘Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!’ Nathanael asked him, ‘Where did you come to know me?’ Jesus answered, ‘I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.’ Nathanael replied, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!’ Jesus answered, ‘Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.’ And he said to him, ‘Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.’


 

And now something to think about

 

“THE UNEXPECTED”

 

Found in Christmas Crackers :

  1. Matt often goes the wrong way on a one-way street – past the police Station ! How does he get away with out ever breaking the law ??

  2. Three men go into a hardware shop to buy the same thing.  John  buys 1 for £1  while Tom buys 99 for £2  and Jim buys 757  for £3  What were they buying??

 

    Unexpected questions !

 

        There are many unexpected happenings in The Bible.   Note the calling of Samuel in our first reading.  An “altar boy" in the Temple.  God calls him to mighty service.  Would you in your right mind use a young inexperienced boy to carry out an important task?

         And we can think of many more “unexpected” happenings in the Old Testament.      Crossing the Red Sea,  The Burning Bush,  The Ten Commandments, David and Goliath,  

to name but a few.

        If we  turn to The New Testament – and the Christmas Story: the Son of God born in a stable; the birth first told to shepherds not Nobles; Wise men look in Palace for the new King.

      The miracles;  Jesus' teaching: to love your enemy;  Jesus touching and healing the leper; The Crucifixion and Resurrection;  the Ascension of Jesus into Heaven; Pentecost: the preaching of those uneducated disciples;  Stephen: the first martyr;

The stories of the first Christians  Paul's journeys;  and   ????

      Come on, you could list many more!

 

      Yes, our God is the God of the unexpected.

 The reading from  John 1; 43f  “Can any thing good come from Nazareth?" asks Nathaniel.

 Yes: Jesus the Christ, Saviour of the world!

Then consider the twelve disciples. Would any self respecting business person choose such a bunch of ordinary uneducated untravelled workers to lead a Mission to the world?

 

     But it worked! Those disciples, and many since, have spread the Good News of God's Love for His World and His Promise of Eternal Life.

 

Another Hymn comes to mind:

 

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty,
  the King of creation!
O my soul, praise Him, for He is thy
  health and salvation!
    All ye who hear,
Now to His temple draw near;
Sing now in glad adoration!

 

Praise to the Lord, who o’er all
  things so wondrously reigneth,
Who, as on wings of an eagle,
  uplifteth, sustaineth.
    Hast thou not seen
How thy desires all have been
Granted in what He ordaineth?

 

Praise to the Lord, who hath fearfully,
  wondrously, made thee!
Health hath vouchsafed and, when
  heedlessly falling, hath stayed thee.
    What need or grief
Ever hath failed of relief?
Wings of His mercy did shade thee.

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                          Keep a moment of silence and reflect on these thoughts.                                        

 A prayer

to round off our time with The Lord  

 

 

To God the Father, who loved us,  and made us accepted in the  Beloved:
to God the Son who loved us,  and loosed us from our sins by his own blood:
to God the Holy Spirit,  who spreads the love of God abroad in our hearts:          

to the one true God be all love and all glory  for time and for eternity.

Amen.