Third Sunday after the Epiphany, Ordinary Time
MARK 1:14–20/1:12–18 IV
Jonah 3:1–5, 10; Psalm 62:5–12; 1 Corinthians 7:29–31; 2 Nephi 13:15; Doctrine and Covenants 165:2d–e
Distribute pieces of colorful paper and a pen or pencil, if needed, as people enter or insert the paper in the bulletins and have pens and pencils available.
Use fishing nets as part of the worship center, draped over the table and down the front onto the floor. Use a group of three pillar candles, piles of rocks with small branches or driftwood, and a cross to complete the worship center. During the Disciples’ Generous Response, the papers brought forward by the congregants can be tucked into the fishing net. If a net is not available, provide a basket, tray, or bowl for the commitment notes.
After the welcome, instruct the congregants that throughout the service they are to consider and then record on the paper they received what they would like to leave behind to truly follow Jesus. Some examples might be their busyness, inadequacies, or excuses. They will bring forward both their offerings and the papers with commitments during the Disciples’ Generous Response.
Call to Worship
Leader: For God alone my soul waits in silence,
Congregation: for my hope is from on high.
Leader: God alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress;
Congregation: I shall not be shaken.
Leader: On God rests my deliverance and my honor;
Congregation: my mighty rock, my refuge is in God.
Leader: Trust in God at all times, O people;
Congregation: pour out your heart before God;
All: God is a refuge for us.
—Psalm 62:5–8, adapted
Ask the congregants to share one- or two-word answers to the phrase “Something for which I am grateful today.” Alternatively, ask the congregants to form small groups for sharing their answers.
“As We Gather” CCS 73
OR “Halle, Halle, Hallelujah” CCS 86
OR “In My Life, Lord” CCS 602
Ask the congregants to share one- or two-word answers to, “Someone or something I am praying for today.” Alternatively, ask the small groups to share their answers.
Allow time for silent prayer reflection by those gathered so they may offer their own prayers for the cares and concerns mentioned.
Light the peace candle.
Prayer for Peace
Ask the congregation to share one- or two-word answers to, “Where in your life and within God’s creation do you see the need for peace?” Alternatively, ask small groups to share their answers.
Ask someone to offer a prayer for peace that addresses the answers that have been shared.
For more ideas: The Daily Prayer for Peace services offered at the Temple in Independence, Missouri, can be found on the church’s website as Calendar Events at www.CofChrist.org/daily -prayer-for-peace.
Narrator: Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying,
Jesus: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”
Narrator: 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,
Jesus: “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.”
Narrator: 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.
Hymn of Calling
“You Have Come Down to the Lakeshore/Tú has venido a la orilla” CCS 582/583
OR “You Walk along Our Shoreline” CCS 598
Connect the game of “Follow the Leader” with today’s scripture. For additional information, see www.sermons4kids.com/following-the-leader.html.
“The Summons” (stanzas 1–4) CCS 586
Based on Mark 1:14–20/1:12–18 IV
“The Summons” (one voice or congregation sings stanza 5) CCS 586
Prayer of Confession
You have come by the lakeshore of our lives, asking us to be neither wise nor wealthy, but you have called us to be who we are, how we are, and simply follow you. You have called us to follow your example, follow your teachings, and follow your ways. Our lakeshores are in our schools, our villages, our workplaces, among our families and friends. Forgive us when we miss opportunities or stay in the comfort of our own environment. Help us be bold enough to risk building new relationships, inviting others to follow, too. We pray in the name of our brother Jesus. Amen.
—based on “You Have Come Down to the Lakeshore/ Tú has venido a la orilla” CCS 582/583
Disciples’ Generous Response
Scripture Reading: Doctrine and Covenants 165:2d–e
Blessing of Mission Tithes: Mission Prayer
The congregation reads aloud in unison. Print or project the text, or provide Mission Prayer cards which can be purchased from Herald House at www.HeraldHouse.org/products/mission-prayer-cards.
God, where will your Spirit lead today? Help me be fully awake and ready to respond. Grant me courage to risk something new and become a blessing of your love and peace. Amen.
Receiving of Mission Tithes
Invite people to come forward with both their offerings and their commitment notes that state what they would like to leave behind to truly follow Jesus. If a fishing net was used in the worship center, ask participants to weave their papers into the net to make a colorful display. Be sure to offer a way for those who cannot come to the front to participate.
As you share financially through Mission Tithes, or if you give regularly through eTithing, please use this time to consider your commitment and how you will tithe to your true capacity of time, talent, and testimony.
For additional ideas, see Disciples’ Generous Response Tools at www.CofChrist.org/disciples-generous-response-tools.
“Christ, You Call Us All to Service” CCS 357
OR “I Have Called You by Your Name” CCS 636
OR “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus” CCS 499
The voice of the Son came to me, saying, “Those who are baptized in my name…follow me, and do the things which you have seen me do.”
—2 Nephi 13:15, adapted
Go in Christ’s mission!
Third Sunday after the Epiphany
Exploring the Scripture
This scripture passage explores Jesus’ proclamation of “good news.” The author of Mark asserts Jesus as the Son of God who embodies love and calls people to believe. This passage highlights the following key ideas.
Through life and ministry, Jesus is about to show God’s radical interest in humanity. He helped reshape thinking about a loving and creative God. This mission will be dangerous and will need extraordinary commitment. His followers are willing to leave their families and possessions to follow Jesus. This passage asks readers to evaluate their life and ministry through the lens of the ministry and life of Jesus and to examine what is important to God.
Verse 14 shares the understanding that this critical mission is indeed dangerous, noting John’s recent arrest. John was proclaiming Jesus as the Savior, preaching repentance and forgiveness in a radical way not heard before. For his commitment to God and Jesus, he was arrested and finally executed. For Jesus, this was a sign of supreme sacrifice. Disciples today are asked to examine their lives and discern what is important.
Verses 15–20 model the witness of invitation by Jesus. Disciples were asked to drop their nets and follow him. The account in Mark shows the first disciples as doing just that. They left everything they owned, their families, and friends to follow Jesus into the unknown. They showed faith and commitment. Common thought today is that they were just simple fishers who had little to give up to follow Jesus. These fishers from the shores of Galilee had businesses, employees, and family who depended on them. These fishers risked everything to follow Jesus.
These early disciples would be called to proclaim the good news after Jesus’ death and transform from followers to leaders. It is not hard to imagine these fishers spent much time in prayer to discern how they were called to commit themselves more fully to God. It is equally safe to assume they didn’t know the extent of how those simple prayers would change their lives and, maybe more important, history.
How many lives became hope-filled because of their risk-taking and testimony? How are we called to make such astounding changes in our lives so we can follow Jesus today? How can our risk-taking magnify our call to create communities of joy, hope, love, and peace?
We are called to wrestle with the tough challenges of being God’s creation. We are called to co-create with God a better world. At times, the mission will be difficult and maybe dangerous. But the mission demands sacrificial love. We may never see the changes in others’ lives, but the simple act of “dropping our nets” and following Jesus will be life changing.
- Life as a disciple calls for commitment and risk for the good of others.
- The journey is difficult and requires sacrificial love.
- We are called to invite others to join in the cause of Jesus Christ and proclaim the good news.
Questions to Consider
- How have you seen risk-taking, by you or others, improve the lives of others?
- Have you ever resented suffering and risk-taking? How did you overcome those feelings, and how did it help you understand more clearly the Mission Initiative of Invite People to Christ?
- How does your congregation become “fishers of people”?
- What does it mean to sacrificially love in today’s world?