Lectionary -- Epiphany 3 (Ordinary 3) Year A

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Isaiah 9:1-4 people in darkness have seen a great light
Psalm 27:1,4-9 The Lord is the light of my salvation
1 Corinthians 1:10-18 I appeal to you that there be no divisions among you
Matthew 4:12-23 Jesus begins his mission in Galilee

Suggested Hymns (From Denis Towner. TIS = Together in Song; AHB = Australian Hymn Book; SA = Sing Alleluia)
lesson Hymns for Epiphany +3, Yr.A TIS AHB SA
E All my hope on God is founded 560 465
E Christ from whom all blessings flow 440 384
Ps Christ is the world's true light 238 179
O/G Christ whose glory fills the skies 212 140
G Dear Father Lord of humankind 598 519
G Do not be afraid, I am with you 16 28
E Father Lord of all creation 631 567
Ps God is my strong salvation 15 493
s Hail to the Lord's anointed 275 203
E Help us accept each other 648
E/hc I come with joy to meet my Lord 533 452
G I danced in the morning 242 183
O/G I want to walk as a child of the light 643
Ps In heavenly love abiding 588 504
G Jesus calls us! O'er the tumult 589 505
O Jesus has come and brings joy as our Saviour 208
Ps Jesus lover of my soul 211 139
E Lord Christ at your first eucharist you prayed 521 [443]
G Lord in the strength of grace 483 408
G Lord Jesus we belong to you 686
Ps/G Lord the light of your love is shining 675
O O day of God draw near 616 547
O O God of every nation 621
G O Jesus I have promised 595 514
G O Master let me walk with thee 601 522
Ps Rock of Ages, cleft for me 222 157
E The church's one foundation 457 385
G The Kingdom is upon you! 81
Ps The Lord is my light, my light and salvation 747
O The people that in darkness walked 274 202
O To us a child of royal birth 308 230
E When I survey the wondrous cross 342 258
E Where love and loving-kindness dwell 95
E Where there is charity and love 434 C591

Other Possible Hymns
(Numbers refer to The Australian Hymn Book and Sing Alleluia. TIS = Together in Song)
61 (TIS 447) Lord your almighty word
121 O gladsome light, O grace
367 (TIS 442) All praise to our redeeming Lord
467 (TIS 561) Who would true valour see
480 (TIS 571) Forth in thy name, O Lord, I go
491 (TIS 578) How firm the foundation, you people of God
517 O Lord and Master of us all

Sermon summary (Click here for complete sermon.)

Let there be no divisions among you

It seems such an obvious thing that the apostle would say: Let there be no divisions among you. [1 Corinthians 1:10]. When Jesus prayed for his disciples the one thing he asked was that they all might be one [John 17].

Why unity is important
Our concern with Christian unity is more than a practical concern to be effective as a force in the world, although Paul was not different from other leaders when he pleaded that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose. [See also Mark 3:24-25]. Yet we have a more important reason for unity: it is at the heart of the gospel that we should seek unity. Our message is about unity in the human family, how we can all become children of God and therefore brothers and sisters. [1 John 2:9-11; 3:11; 4:20-21.] Why am I telling you this? You know it already.

Where is the energy?
Do you think it is at all possible that in some places there is an absence of conflict because everything is too quiet? If there is no energy or commitment -- if no one really cares what happens -- why should there be conflict? Attendance and giving are signs of commitment. If people are inhibited from commitment because of some past conflict, we should recognize that and deal with the problem.

Mission planning and commitment
If it is more a matter of lack of vision, then let us talk about our future together, share our hope and our faith, and encourage one another. One way to help is to take part in a time of sharing together in small groups as we develop a mission plan. If people want to move in different directions then we will have to work out how we can manage so that enthusiasm is not discouraged.

The need to acknowledge differences
Unacknowledged differences and lack of appreciation of what people can contribute to each other can be terribly debilitating. Whatever problems there are do not justify either fearful apathy or a cosy sectarian escape. Let us not be afraid to be stirred up and to tackle the consequent differences.

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Order of Service - Epiphany 3 (Ordinary 3) Year A

The Gathering of the People of God

CALL TO WORSHIP
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;
those who lived in a land of deep darkness-- on them light has shined. -- Isaiah 9:2

HYMN 61 Lord your almighty word

PRAYER OF ADORATION
CONFESSION
O God,
we confess the blindness that is not even aware of sinning;
the pride that dares not admit that it is wrong;
the selfishness that can see nothing but its own will;
the righteousness that knows no fault;
the callousness that has ceased to care;
the defiance that does not regret its own sins;
the evasion that always tries to make excuses;
the coldness of heart that is too hardened to repent.
God, we are sinners; be merciful to us.
[From Uniting in Worship]
PRAYER FOR FORGIVENESS
Almighty God have mercy on you, pardon and deliver you from all your sins, confirm and strengthen you in all goodness, and keep you in eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
DOXOLOGY
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

WELCOME AND GREETING EACH OTHER

Service of the Word

INTRODUCTION OF THEME:
A word to the children.

OLD TESTAMENT Isaiah 9:1-4 people in darkness have seen a great light
PSALM 27:1,4-9 The Lord is the light of my salvation
EPISTLE 1 Corinthians 1:10-18 I appeal to you that there be no divisions
GOSPEL Matthew 4:12-23 Jesus begins his mission in Galilee

HYMN 517 O Lord and Master of us all

SERMON

APOSTLES' CREED
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, God's only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

HYMN 364 Christ from whom all blessings flow

OFFERING AND DEDICATION
SHARING TIME [Notices, celebrations, requests for intercessions]
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE [Let us pray for our congregation, for people in need, for the mission of the church and peace in the world. And let us pray for the unity for which our Lord also prayed.]
God, you have welcomed us by baptism into one holy Church, and joined us by faith to Christian people in every time and lace. May your church on earth be a sign of the communion you promise, where we shall all be one with Christ, and joyful in your kingdom. Amen.
From mistaken zeal that will not compromise; from claiming true wisdom, but failing to love; from a worldly mind that drums up party spirit; from divisiveness, and refusal to listen to others; Good Lord, deliver us.
As you sent disciples into every land, O God, gather them now from the ends of the earth into one fellowship that chooses your purpose and praises your name, in one faith, hope and love. Amen.
Make us one, Lord, in our eagerness to speak the good news and to set all captives free, in worship and fellowship, breaking one bread together and singing your praise with one voice. Grant us the Holy Spirit.
Grant us the Holy Spirit, God our Father, so that we may have among us the mind that was in Christ Jesus; and proclaim him to the world. May every knee confess him as Lord, to the glory of your holy name. Amen.
[From Uniting in Worship, People's Book, adapted]

COLLECT FOR THE DAY
O loving God, you are the light of the minds that know you, the life of the souls that love you, and the strength of the hearts that serve you. Help us so to know you that we may truly love you; and so to love you that we may faithfully serve you, whom to serve is perfect freedom; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

The Sending Forth of the People of God

HYMN 480 Forth in thy name, O Lord, I go
WORD OF MISSION
Make the good news known with love and unity, working with other Christians and seeking the truth together, in the name of Christ.
BLESSING
DISMISSAL Go in peace to love and serve the Lord:
In the name of Christ. Amen.

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