Introduction: Epiphany begins with wise men from the East coming to worship the newborn King. Week by week Jesus’ identity as the promised Messiah is revealed. On the last Sunday of the season Jesus is transfigured before his disciples Peter, James, and John and they fall down before him. The gospel lessons for this season give us an opportunity to ponder how we Worship the King: Jesus, who has come into the world to rule and reign now by faith in him and forever when he comes again in glory.

January 8 – Moved by God Start reading the narratives and poems of the Bible and you will quickly discover a very active and dynamic relationship between God and his creation. The word “worship” is used to capture many different facets of that relationship. In our gospel lesson today wise men from the east came to worship a newborn king. The reigning tyrant, King Herod, feigned a desire to worship him also but with the intent to kill this potential threat to his throne. Moved By God the wise men find Jesus, offer their gifts, and return to their own country. We begin our Epiphany journey today Moved By God to discover what it means for us to Worship the King.

January 15 – Alive to God  Worship is not so much what we come to do for God as it is the place where God promises to meet us and do his work in us. We begin “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” and the miracle of our baptism flashes before our eyes. United with Christ Jesus in his death and resurrection we die to sin and are raised to new life. Life that is new every morning. Paul writes: “consider yourself dead to sin and Alive to God in Christ Jesus.”

January 22 – Lamb of God  “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” cried John the Baptizer when he saw Jesus. Andrew and John were in the crowd that day and followed Jesus and their lifelong journey of discipleship began. These same words are often the final words before we receive the Lord’s Supper in our time of worship. From Baptism last week to the Lord’s Supper this week, these are two of the powerful tools the Holy Spirit uses to shape us for a lifetime of following Jesus.

January 29 – Turn Around and Follow Me  Worship begins with the words that welcomed us into the family of God at our baptism – “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” At the Lord’s Supper we participate in the very body and blood of Jesus and “proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26). In between we hear Jesus calling “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). Every week as we confess our sins and hear the words of forgiveness we become like his first disciples who left everything and followed him.

February 5 – Remember: You are Salt and Light  Weekly worship is an intentional exercise in remembering all that God has done for us in our baptism, in the Lord’s Supper, and in the promise of forgiveness. In his book entitled Preaching as Reminding, Dr. Jeffrey Arthurs writes: “Remembering can be tough for a harried brain in the age of distraction with an idol-making heart tempted by the world, but God has provided help through the ministry of remembrancers (pastors and worship leaders). Word and sacrament … help the children of God remember what they should remember and forget what they should forget.”

February 12 – Remember: You have heard… But I say  Jesus came preaching and teaching. In our weekly worship the sermon is a bridge between the past and the present. In his Sermon on the Mount Jesus taught his listeners how to understand and apply the Word of God to their own lives. With the refrain: You have heard … But I say to you, Jesus called people into a real and authentic relationship with God. The pastor carries Jesus’ words over the bridge of time that separates us from his first listeners so that his words now come to life in our lives. 

February 19 – Rise and Have No Fear  The word for “worship” in the Bible carries with it the idea of bowing down in reverence and awe. At Jesus’ transfiguration Matthew reports that Peter, James and John “fell on their faces and were terrified. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and have no fear” (Matthew 17:6-7). Jesus’s birth, life, death, resurrection, ascension, Pentecost, and promised coming again make it possible for us to enter into God’s presence and worship without fear.