For Epiphany 3 | Ordinary Time 3
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The Immediate Word
Beth Herrinton-Hodge

An Appeal to Brothers and Sisters in Christ

1 Corinthians 1:10-18
In his letter to the Christ-followers of Corinth, Paul posed the question “Has Christ been divided?” (1 Corinthians 1:13). This came in the midst of his appeal for unity and agreement, for them to be of “the same mind and the same purpose” (1 Corinthians 1:10). Evidently there was a gap among the people, where such phrases like “I belong to Paul” or “I belong to Apollos” or “I belong to Cephas” or “I belong to Christ” were being tossed about (1 Corinthians 1:11). Their scattered allegiances undermined the gospel they were called to proclaim.
     In the same way, our divided political allegiances undermine the peace, unity, and purity of our nation as well as our churches. On a weekend when the peaceful transition of power should mark a high point in our democratic republic, when the events of a presidential inauguration should unite us as a country, we see and hear of rampant division across our land. Such divisions are tearing us apart.
     Even within the church, we divide between “us” and “them,” evangelical and progressive, majority and minority races. At the same time, like Paul, we yearn for unity. Like the Corinthian church, we are called to unite as the body of Christ. This is not a lock-step unity in which each of us thinks or acts the same. It is not a unity found in a single, elected leader or a single political party. No, we seek (and find) unity in complete loyalty to our Lord, Jesus Christ. From this loyalty, our actions emerge....
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Answering The Call

A few years ago, I was on a retreat in northern Michigan, and I knew that some of our friends from home were sailing in the vicinity. One evening I went to the local boat dock, and walked through the lines of boats calling out the names of our friends, hopeful that they might be there. I remember the joy I felt when I yelled their names, and they answered! They were actually there, and they responded to my call!
     However, there are times when we get a call that we don't hear, or don't want to hear. It might be a matter of thinking, "My plate is already full. Call back tomorrow." There are times that we don't even answer the call, especially if we don't know who's calling. That's true these days with "Caller ID" that can be put on our phones, identifying the person who's placing the call to us. Sometimes we don't answer the call because we're not home, or because we don't hear the call come in. There are a variety of reasons that many of us don't answer a call when it comes to us.
     I think that's part of what makes the Bible passage for today so remarkable. Now, granted, we're not talking about a phone call from an unknown source; we're talking about a face-to-face encounter. Nonetheless, I've always found the story of Jesus calling his first group of followers to be something worthy of our attention....
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Frank Ramirez

Darkness to light

In the season of Epiphany, Jesus is revealed. It’s more than just a question of seeing Jesus. We are meant to perceive who Jesus is! These three texts open three different doors onto the same Christ. In Isaiah’s darkness we see the light of hope. In Corinth, where the Christian churches are anything but Christ-like, Paul shines a bright light to illuminate error. And Matthew uses the light of Isaiah’s scripture to show that despite the arrest of John his message continues, while Jesus expands it to include healing and hope....
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Keith Wagner

Light for the Darkness

Isaiah 9:1-4

Several years ago I wanted a good flashlight for Christmas. So my wife gave me a Magna Flashlight. It is extremely bright. It is small enough to carry in your pocket. It even has an extra bulb in the end of the cylinder. One evening I was reading the directions to make sure I was operating it properly. I noticed that it said something about turning the flashlight into a candle. I thought, that would be really helpful for our Christmas eve service....
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The Village Shepherd

Janice Scott

God of Humility...

God of humility, When your active life was taken away and you hung passively and painfully on a cross, you bore it in humility and witnessed through your the nature of your being. Help me to realise that there is more to me than my work or my position, that the nature of my being matters to you...
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CSSPlus (Children's Sermon Service...Plus

Mary Kay Eichelman

Got a Flashlight?

Object: Flashlight on a cell phone
I want to tell you a story today about two guys that went hiking.  They were two teenage cousins that had packed all kinds of snacks and food for their adventure.   In fact it had made them get off to a late start because they were buying so much.  It was a great hike but then it started to storm and began to get dark earlier than usual.  They found themselves in the pitch black and not knowing the trail very well....
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Gospel Grams 1 (Ages 5-7)

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Gospel Grams 2 (Ages 8-10)

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