FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY SUNDAY 28TH JANUARY 2024

All the people were amazed! - The Church on the Way

OPENING SENTENCE OF SCRIPTURE
“Do justice, love kindness, walk humbly with your God”.

HYMN

GREETING

Grace and peace to you from God our Father

and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

COLLECT FOR PURITY

Almighty God,

to whom all hearts are open,

all desires known,

and from whom no secrets are hidden:

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.

SUMMARY OF THE LAW

Our Lord Jesus Christ said: The first commandment is this:

Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is the only Lord. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength.”

The second is this: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these. Amen. Lord, have mercy.

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CONFESSION AND ABSOLUTION

God is love and we are God’s children. There is no room for fear in love. We love because God loved us first.

Let us confess our sins in penitence and faith.

SILENCE

God our Father,

we confess to you

and to our fellow members in the Body of Christ

that we have sinned in thought, word and deed,

and in what we have failed to do.

We are truly sorry.

Forgive us our sins,

and deliver us from the power of evil,

for the sake of your Son who died for us, Jesus Christ, our Lord.

ABSOLUTION

God, who is both power and love,

forgive you and free you from your sins,

heal and strengthen you by the Holy Spirit,

and raise you to new life in Christ our Lord. Amen.

GLORIA
sung by Sue Turner

COLLECT

O God,

through our human frailty,

we cannot stand firm:

give us strength and protection,

that, with your help,

we may overcome all difficulties;

through Jesus Christ, our Lord,

who lives and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, world without end. Amen

PROCLAIMING & RECEIVING GOD’S WORD

FIRST READING:
Deuteronomy 18: 15-20
read by Amie Byers

Reflection on Deuteronomy 18:15-22 | New Life Narrabri

The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you shall heed such a prophet. This is what you requested of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said: “If I hear the voice of the Lord my God any more, or ever again see this great fire, I will die.” Then the Lord replied to me: “They are right in what they have said. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their own people; I will put my words in the mouth of the prophet, who shall speak to them everything that I command. Anyone who does not heed the words that the prophet shall speak in my name, I myself will hold accountable. But any prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, or who presumes to speak in my name a word that I have not commanded the prophet to speak—that prophet shall die.”

SILENCE

SECOND READING
1 Corinthians 8:1-13
read by Gill Swales

1 corinthians 8

Now concerning food sacrificed to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. Anyone who claims to know something does not yet have the necessary knowledge; but anyone who loves God is known by him.

Hence, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that “no idol in the world really exists,” and that “there is no God but one.” Indeed, even though there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as in fact there are many gods and many lords— yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.

1 Corinthians 8:1-13 | Christian Liberty and Christian Love - YouTube

It is not everyone, however, who has this knowledge. Since some have become so accustomed to idols until now, they still think of the food they eat as food offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. “Food will not bring us close to God.” We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. For if others see you, who possess knowledge, eating in the temple of an idol, might they not, since their conscience is weak, be encouraged to the point of eating food sacrificed to idols? So by your knowledge those weak believers for whom Christ died are destroyed. But when you thus sin against members of your family, and wound their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food is a cause of their falling, I will never eat meat, so that I may not cause one of them to fall.

GRADUAL HYMN

GOSPEL READING
Mark 1: 21-28
read by Rev James Clark Maxwell

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to St Mark chapter 1 beginning at verse 21

Glory to Christ our Saviour

They went to Capernaum; and when the sabbath came, he entered the synagogue and taught. They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, and he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. They were all amazed, and they kept on asking one another, “What is this? A new teaching—with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” At once his fame began to spread throughout the surrounding region of Galilee.

Jesus Heals Man with Unclean Spirit: Mark 1:21-28 | Transcend Church

Give thanks to the Lord for his glorious Gospel

Praise to Christ our Lord.

SERMON

The Masked Singer (American TV series) - Wikipedia

There is a television programme currently showing again on Saturday evenings called “The Masked Singer.” This programme is hugely popular. I have watched a couple of episodes, but it is not for me. What happens in the programme is that a celebrity comes on in a fancy- dress costume which invariably has a mask, and they sing. The task of the panel of judges and the viewers is to determine who is the singer behind the mask. I am absolutely useless at this. My knowledge of popular music is poor and even with clues given in the lyrics and afterwards to their identity, it remains an impossible task for me. There is great excitement each week when a masked singer responds to the cry “take it off” and removes their mask and reveals their identity. There is normally great surprise at the singer’s identity and the clues that had been given earlier become clear and obvious. You could say that when the mask is removed, it is an epiphany kind of moment. An aha moment!

Today in our gospel we have an epiphany moment in the synagogue in Capernaum. Many clues have been given to the identity of God’s Son previously through the prophets and the scriptures and in the presence of the Jewish worshippers, Jesus’ identity is revealed through his words and actions. Jesus has gone to the synagogue with his new disciples, and probably has been invited by the synagogue ruler to step forward and give an encouragement from scripture to the people.

Capernaum - Wikipedia

The synagogue was primarily a teaching institution. The synagogue service consisted of only three things–prayer, the reading of God’s word, and the exposition of it. There was no music, no singing and no sacrifice. It may be said that the Temple was the place of worship and sacrifice; the synagogue was the place of teaching and instruction. The synagogue was by far the more influential, for there was only one Temple. But the law laid it down that wherever there were ten Jewish families there must be a synagogue, and, therefore, wherever there was a colony of Jews, there was a synagogue. If a man had a new message to preach, the synagogue was the obvious place in which to preach it.

The synagogue provided an opportunity to deliver such a message. The synagogue had certain officials. There was the Ruler of the synagogue. He was responsible for the administration of the affairs of the synagogue and for the arrangements for its services. One thing the synagogue did not have, was a permanent preacher or teacher. When the people met at the synagogue service it was open to the Ruler to call on any competent person to give the address and the exposition. There was no professional ministry whatsoever. That is why Jesus was able to open his campaign in the synagogues. He was known to be a man with a message; and for that very reason the synagogue of every community provided him with a pulpit from which to instruct and to appeal to men.

Jewish Literacy Rates in Antiquity

Jesus taught people from a higher level of authority. No one had ever heard words like those Jesus spoke. Those who heard him were astonished at his teaching, for “he taught as one who had authority and not as the scribes.” No one had taught like this before. It was a new teaching above the Law and the prophets. It was the fulfilment of them both. The people had been hearing the Scripture read in the synagogue for a long time. They had heard all the commentaries. They knew the Scriptures backward and forward, from cover to cover. But Jesus brought them a new message, for he personified what he said. He was the fulfilment of all that had gone before. He was the Incarnation of God’s Word.

A Study In The Nature Of God's Word (Authority) – Part 2 – Choosing Hats

He taught with personal authority. No Scribe ever gave a decision on his own. He would always begin, “There is a teaching that…” and would then quote all his authorities. If he made a statement, he would buttress it with this, that and the next quotation from the great legal masters of the past. The last thing he ever gave was an independent judgment. How different was Jesus! When he spoke, he spoke as if he needed no authority beyond himself. He spoke with utter independence. He cited no authorities and quoted no experts. He spoke with the finality of the voice of God. To the people it was like a breeze from heaven to hear someone speak like that. The terrific, positive certainty of Jesus was the very antithesis of the careful quotations of the Scribes. The note of personal authority rang out and that note captured the hearts of many in the synagogue that day.

The people are astounded by his presence and teaching. It’s like nothing they have ever heard before. He has authority. His words mean something. They make a difference. Even the man with an unclean spirit is shocked and intrigued by Jesus. “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us?”

Do you notice that it says that the man with the unclean spirit was in “their” synagogue? It may mean that he was not a regular part of their assembly. They may not have seen him, before. More than likely he was a respected lay person and a productive member of society for it is hard to imagine the synagogue ruler knowingly admitting a demon-possessed man as a part of their fellowship. The only way that they knew that something was amiss was by the fact that, as Jesus was teaching, the man suddenly cried out.

What a shock that must have been to the folks in the synagogue–to discover that there was a man with an unclean and evil spirit within their assembly! Does that mean that Satan has sometimes placed some of his ‘operatives’ in churches without the people in those churches even being aware of it? Are there churches that would be shocked to discover that an unclean spirit was in their midst? After all, we’re told that the enemy of our souls “walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” but who also knows how to transform himself “into an angel of light”.

His Time - Daily Lectionary: Mark 5:1-20 - KFUO Radio

Who is this man with an unclean spirit that shows up in the synagogue today? He’s loud. He interrupts. He draws our attention. This man with the unclean spirit is an image of what the lives of those in the synagogue look like. His uncleanness is not about personal hygiene, immorality, being bad, or Judaism. Instead his presence “in their synagogue” describes the disease of their soul, their fragmented lives, and the many voices within them. In looking at him they see themselves and they are astounded by the contrast between themselves and Jesus, the one who has a clean spirit.

“What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?” He senses the distance between his life and Jesus’. His words betray his isolation. It’s not, however, just about him. He speaks not only for himself but for all those in the synagogue that day. He represents everyone who has ever experienced the brokenness of life. He is the spokesperson for all who feel disconnected from themselves, others, or God. He represents the human condition. Behind his question is the unspoken longing and hope that Jesus would say, “Everything. I have everything to do with you.” Those are the words that can begin to put his life back together.

We’re not so different. Each one of us also longs for that answer because we too know the separation and brokenness of our own lives. We’ve lived in isolation. We have been trapped in grief. We have carried the burden of guilt. The truth of those situations often reveals itself in the many images we wear. We all have, so to speak, our demons- hate, revenge, negativism, guilt, rejection, gambling, addiction and deceit. Often you have heard someone say “I wonder what possessed him.” We may not share completely the first century view of demons but today we do still hold to some understanding of what the words demon means in our culture and lives. These demons cause us to hide behind our masks and be untrue to ourselves.

Everything I do… | This is Another Story

At some level we all project various images of how we want others to see us and how we want to see ourselves. we smile and say, “Yes, everything is just fine,” and quickly change the subject when the truth is that we are hanging on by a thread and not sure how we’ll get through the rest of the day. We don’t want our life to be seen in its unmade-up condition.

We use our images as masks to hide the truth of what our life is like and who we are. It seems that those masks most often arise from the many voices that live within us. They are the voices of condemnation and guilt, grief, fear, anger, and judgment. They are voices that keep us in constant comparison and competition with others. The voices are never satisfied. We are never able to do or be enough. Every one of those is a false voice, the voice of the unclean spirit that separates us from our authentic self, from all that we love, and all who love us.

The irony is that those masks we put on, keep us from having the very things we think they will give us; things like intimacy, love, acceptance, healing, forgiveness, and authenticity. The images offer no possibility for life to thrive. Yet we hold on to those false voices, voices that collectively ask, “Have you come to destroy us?” That is exactly what Jesus has come for! He has come to destroy these false images. His silences our false voices.  He casts out all our false images and makes us people with a clean spirit. He has everything to do with us. He sees the potential in us. There is no aspect of our life about which he is not concerned. He calls us into our true self, the one made in the image and likeness of God.

Why was God's Unique Son Given the Name Above All Names? – Bible.org Blogs

In Jesus we realise there is a higher authority in teaching. His teaching words are coming from within, from personal experience and make an impact in our lives. In his dealings with the man with the unclean spirit we see a higher degree of compassion. Jesus cares and so he does not cast him out of the community, reject or dismiss him. Instead, this compassion translates into action. Jesus shows a higher authority in service and in healing. Jesus’ identity may not yet be clear but for many this was an epiphany moment when they saw the divine in their midst and pondered the truth that Jesus has everything to do with them. Jesus has everything to do with us. He longs to take off the masks we wear and draw out the best in us, our true self. Amen.

THE CREED

Christ The Savior Lutheran Church

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty,

maker of heaven and earth,

of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,

the only Son of God,

God from God,

Light from Light,

true God from true God,

begotten, not made,

of one substance with the Father.

Through him all things were made.

For us and for our salvation

he came down from heaven;

by the power of the Holy Spirit

he became incarnate of the Virgin Mary,

and was made man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;

he suffered death and was buried.

On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures;

he ascended into heaven

and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,

and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit,

the Lord, the giver of life,

who proceeds from the Father.

With the Father and the Son,

he is worshipped and glorified.

He has spoken through the Prophets.

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.

We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Prayer Requests – Baildon Methodist Church

PRAYERS

Jesus, Holy One of God

your teaching astounded those in the synagogue

build up your church through godly preachers

and teachers of your word.

Excite our hearts to declare your power and glory.

Holy God

A scroll of a book

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may your will be done

Jesus, Holy One of God,

your authority awakened the people.

Raise up leaders of vision and justice,

and sustain all who carry the burden of government.

Holy God

may your will be done

Why Humble Leaders Make The Best Leaders

Jesus, Holy One of God

your fame spread throughout the region,

and yet you remained humble and gracious.

Draw our hearts to value integrity above image

and to know our worth lies in your unfailing love.

Holy God

may your will be done

Bible Verses about Hope and Healing: A Series to Encourage

Jesus, Holy One of God,

your healing sparked amazement,

give peace to all who are disturbed

by ailments of mind, body and spirit.

Pour upon them your compassion and healing love.

Holy God

may your will be done

Jesus, Holy one of God,

your time and energy was spent

in different homes and households.

May all homes represented in our churches

make plenty of room for the weaker member

and show them much kindness and consideration.

Holy God

may your will be done

Suffer Little Children To Come Unto Me - Clearview Baptist Church

Jesus, Holy One of God,

you called all the little children to come to you.

We thank you for the gift of children

for all they bring in vitality, love and joy

to the home family and to the church family.

Bless all children in their home schooling

and grant their parents patience, wisdom and perseverance,

as they try to teach and help them as best as they can.

Holy God

may your will be done

Jesus, Holy One of God

you appeared to your disciples from the dead.

fill us with this hope in grief and at our hour of death

bring us to rejoice in your salvation.

Holy God

may your will be done

Creating a Personal Mission and Vision Statement - LiquidPlanner

Jesus, Holy One of God

as we step into each new day

fill us with your heart of love

and your vision and purpose for the world.

Merciful Father accept these prayers for the sake of your Son,

our Saviour Jesus Christ who taught us to pray together

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those+

who sin against us.

Do not bring us

to the time of trial+

but deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power

and the glory are yours,

now and forever. Amen.

Description: Description: Description: Description: Elevation Worship - The Blessing (Lyrics) ft. Kari Jobe & Cody ...

BLESSING

Christ the Son of God gladden your hearts with the good news of his kingdom; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always. Amen.

HYMN

DISMISSAL

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord

In the name of Christ. Amen

Welcome

St John the Evangelist, Dumfries, is a parish of the Scottish Episcopal Church also serving Methodist parishioners locally.

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You can donate to St John’s by credit or debit card by following these links.

St John’s Bellringers on Border Life video

Notices

Contemporary Service

Contemporary Service

The Contemporary Service is at 6pm, on the second and fourth Sundays of the month, followed by refreshments in the hall.

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St John's Church

1 day 3 hours ago

Everyone is very welcome to come along to Choral Evensong for Lent, this coming Sunday 3rd March, 6pm, at St John’s Church, Newall Terrace, Dumfries DG1 1LW, sung by the

St John's Church

1 day 4 hours ago

Everyone is very welcome to come along to Choral Evensong for Lent, this coming Sunday 3rd March, 6pm, at St John's Church, Newall Terrace, Dumfries DG1 1LW, sung by the

St John's Church

6 days 3 hours ago

Sunday 25th February 2024 is our Eucharistic Service at 11:00am! You are most welcome to come along to our service. Be great to see you! Contemporary service is on Sunday

St John's Church

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Booking is necessary to attend the Pamper Session on Thursday 14th March starting at 3.45pm until 6pm, in St John’s Church Hall, Lovers’ Walk, Dumfries, DG1 1LW. For more information