Service for the week following the second Sunday after Epiphany
Welcome, friends. In order to follow this service, consider all words in bold type to be spoken by the pastor of the St. Thomas Community Church, the Reverend J. Wright. All words in italic type should be spoken aloud by you. You will also need a small glass of wine, grape juice, or water; a small piece of bread or a cracker; and your Bible.
Peace to you, friends, and blessings in the name of Christ our Lord.
And also with your spirit.
Almighty God, unto whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid; Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love You, and worthily magnify Your holy Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen
Hear what our Lord Jesus Christ said:
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it; You shall love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.
Lord have mercy upon us,
Christ have mercy upon us,
Lord have mercy upon us.
O almighty Lord and everlasting God, we ask You to direct, sanctify, and govern both our hearts and our bodies in the ways of Your laws, and in the works of Your commandments; that through Your most mighty protection both here and ever we may be preserved in body and soul; through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
The Lord be with you.
And with your spirit.
Let us pray:
Collect for the Week
Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ is the light of the world: Grant that your people, illumined by your Word and Sacraments, may shine with the radiance of Christıs glory, that he may be known, worshipped, and obeyed to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Psalm 63, 1-8. Deus, Deus meus. "O God, You are my God"
1 Corinthians 6:11b-20
You were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
"All things are lawful for me," but not all things are beneficial. "All things are lawful for me," but I will not be dominated by anything. "Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food," and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is meant not for fornication but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God raised the Lord and will also raise us by his power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Should I therefore take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that whoever is united to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For it is said, "The two shall be one flesh." But anyone united to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Shun fornication! Every sin that a person commits is outside the body; but the fornicator sins against the body itself. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body. Amen.
Glory be to You, O Lord
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 toward him, he said of him, "Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!" Nathanael asked him, "Where did you get 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."
Praise be to You, O Christ.
Statement of Faith
Please join me in reciting the Apostles' Creed:
I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and buried. He descended into Hell. On the third day, he rose again from the dead, ascended into heaven and sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty, from where He will return again to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Christian Church, the Communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.
Sunday of this week is the feast day of St. Marcellus, a pope of the fourth century. Monday is the feast day of St. Antony of Egypt, considered to be the first Christian monk. Wednesday commemorates St. Wulfstan, an eleventh century English bishop. Read his Sermon to the English in the library. Thursday is the feast day of the saints Fabian and Sebastian, two early Roman martyrs. Finally, Friday is the day of St. Agnes, the patron saint of all girls. Remember these famous Christians and find examples in their lives to benefit your own following of Christ's path.
"Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these."
Why do we believe in God? Why do we believe in Jesus Christ? Why do we believe that He has the power of saving us all? Do we believe just because someone told us so? Or is our belief, our faith, based upon something more personal, more experiential, more tangible?
Think about how you learned about our Church and the ideas and beliefs that we all hold about God and Jesus Christ. Did you learn from your parents? Did you learn by reading the Bible? Did you learn from your priest or minister? Probably. In this way we learned about God by others telling us about Him. It is possible to learn things in this manner. We learn our basic math skills by out teacher telling us how to perform them. We learn about history and grammar by teachers tellings us about them. We learn many things every day by people telling us. But this is only a mental, intellectual act. In fact, this is the hardest way to learn things, since without actual experience or practice, we soon forget the skill, phone number, concept, etc. Someone can spend a month telling you how to use tools, wood, sheetrock, and nails to construct a house, but if you don't actually practice those skills you will never become an effective carpenter. To truly learn about something, to truly know something, you must experience it firsthand.
In our reading, Jesus asks Nathanael if he believes because of something he said. He then says "You will see greater things than these." This is the same thing as saying "You will experience greater things than these." We know that God exists and we know that Jesus exists to help us and save us because things we experience personally. And these things are far greater than anything someone may tell us about God or Jesus.
Whenever we walk in the woods, or marvel in an amazing sunset, or ponder the size of the universe while watching a shooting star, we experience God's power and majesty. We share, for that moment in time, in the presence of God. We are one with Him and He is with us. When we or someone we love recovers from a bad sickness, or emerge unhurt from a vehicle accident, or somehow feel the presence of a guiding power - a "guardian angel" - we experience God's mercy and protection. Again, for that moment in time, we are filled with the presence of God.
Although these are examples of typical times in which we feel the presence of God in a strong way, we know that God is with us at all times. We know this becuase people have told us this, and we have faith in what they have said. But if we try to experience this knowledge firsthand, every day, every hour, every minute, we can take this mental or intellectual knowledge and add to it the experiential or personal knowledge that we usually feel only at certain times and truly know that God is there with us in every step that we walk. In this week's psalm, it is written that God has been our helper, and therefore under the shadow of His wings shall we rejoice. By remembereing that we are always sheltered by the shadow of His wings in everything we do, we shall always rejoice in the Lord.
Not everyone that says unto me, "Lord, Lord," will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.. (Matthew 7:21).
Let us pray for the whole state of Christ's Church:
Almighty and everliving God, who by Your holy Apostle has taught us to make prayers, and supplications, and to give thanks for all men, we humbly ask you most mercifully to accept our prayers, and to receive these our prayers, which we offer to Your Divine Majesty. We ask You to inspire Your Universal Church with the spirit of truth, unity, and concord, and grant that all those who do confess Your Holy Name may agree in the truth of Your holy Word, and live in unity and godly love. Grant this, O Father, for Jesus Christ's sake, our Saviour. Amen.
You who do truly and earnestly repent of your sins, and are in love and charity with your neighbours, and intend to live a new life, following the commandments of God, and walking from henceforth in His holy ways, make your humble confession to Almighty God:
Almighty God, Father of Heaven, Judge of all men, we confess that we have sinned against You, in words, thoughts, and actions, in the things we have done, and those which we have failed to do, and we are truly sorry for these misdeeds. Have mercy upon us, most merciful Father, forgive us all that is past and grant that we may ever hereafter serve and please You in the newness of life, to the honour and glory of your Name, through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.
May the Almighty God, our heavenly Father, who in His great mercy has promised forgiveness of sins to all those who with true faith turn to Him, have mercy upon you, forgive you your sins, and bring you to everlasting life. Amen.
Hear what comfortable words our Saviour Christ said to all who truly turn to Him:
Come to me, all you who travail and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you.
So God loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son to the end that all that believe in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to our Lord God.
It is right to give Him praise and thanks/I>.
Because in the Mystery of the Word made flesh, You have caused a new light to shine in our hearts, to give the knowledge of Your glory in the face of Your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, we praise You and magnify Your glorious name, saying:
Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts, heaven and earth are full of Your glory: Glory be to You, O Lord Most High. Amen.
At this time, as an ordained minister of the Christian Church, I hereby authorize you to act in my place in the blessing of the Bread and Blood of the Communion, through Christ the Lord, who with the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns in heaven with God the Father Almighty. Amen.
All glory to You, Almighty God, our heavenly Father, for that You, in Your tender mercy, did give Your only Son Jesus Christ to suffer death upon the cross for our redemption, who made there a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction, for the sins of the whole world, and did institute, and in His holy Gospel command us to continue, a perpetual memory of that His precious death and sacrifice, until His Second Coming:
For in the night in which he was betrayed, (hold your bread or cracker in your hand), he took bread, and when he had given thanks, (break the bread in half), he broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying "Take, eat," (lay your hands on all the bread), "this is my Body, which is given for you, Do this in remembrance of me." Likewise, after supper, (pick up your glass of wine or other liquid), he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying "Drink you all of this, for this is my blood of the New Covenant, which is shed for you, and for many, for the remission of sins. Do this as often as you shall drink it, in remembrance of me."
Wherefore, O Lord and heavenly Father, according to the institution of Your dearly beloved Son our Saviour Jesus Christ, we, Your humble servants, do celebrate and make here before Your Divine Majesty, with these Your holy gifts, which we now offer to You, the memorial Your Son has commanded us to make, having in remembrance His blessed passion and precious death, His mighty resurrection and glorious ascension, rendering to You most hearty thanks for the innumberable benefits given to us by the same.
And we most humbly beseech You, O merciful Father, to hear us, and in Your almighty goodness to bless and sanctify, with Your Word and Holy Spirit, these Your gifts and creatures of blood and wine, that we, receiving them according to Your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ's holy institution, in remembrance of His death and passion, may be partakers of His most blessed Body and Blood.
And we earnestly desire Your fatherly goodness, mercifully to accept this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving; most humbly asking You to grant that, by the merits of Your Son Jesus Christ, and that through faith in His blood, we, and all Your whole Church, may obtain remission of our sins, and all other benefits of His passion. And here we offer and present to You, O Lord, our selves, our souls and our bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and living sacrifice to You, humbly asking You that we may worthily receive the most precious Body and Blood of Your Son Jesus Christ, be filled with Your grace and heavenly blessing. We ask this of You, through Christ our Lord, in unity with the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns with You in heaven, world everlasting. Amen.
The Lord's Prayer
Let us pray:
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your 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 do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.Amen.
The Body of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was given for you, preserve your body and soul to everlasting life. Take and eat this in remembrance that Christ died for you, and feed on Him in your heart by faith, with thanksgiving.
(Take and eat the bread).
The Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was shed for you, preserve your body and soul to everlasting life. Drink this in remembrance that Christ's Blood was shed for you, and be thankful.
(Take and drink the wine or wine-substitute).
Let us pray:
Almighty and everliving God, we most heartily thank You, for that You have given to feed us who have duly received these holy mysteries, with the spiritual food of the most precious Body and Blood of Your Son our Lord Jesus Christ, and do assure us thereby of Your favour and goodness toward us, and we humbly ask You, O heavenly Father, to assist us with Your grace so that we may continue in holiness and do all such good works as You have prepared for us to walk in, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who, with the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns with You in honour and glory, world without end. Amen.
Glory be to God on high, and on earth peace and goodwill to men. We praise You and give You thanks for Your great glory, O Lord, King of Heaven, God the Father Almighty.
O Jesus, Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, receive this our prayer.
The Peace of God be with you, and all blessings of God Almighty, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, be with you and remain with you always. Amen.
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