New Year, Same Promises: A Worship Series for the Season of Epiphany

“New Year, new you” is the message we get from pop culture year after year.  We vow to make changes to our diet, exercise habits, or lifestyle, but in spite of those resolutions, most things remain the same.  This may be cause for disappointment and disillusion, but there is some consistency we can celebrate.  God’s promises to us do not change with the calendar or the latest trends.  Rather than focusing our energy and attention on making promises to ourselves, let’s spend the first part of the new year appreciating God’s unbreakable promises.

January 12-Baptism of the Lord

Text:                Matthew 3:13-17

Message:         The Promise of New Life

Remembering Jesus’ baptism give us pause to consider what baptism is—a visual, tactile reminder of the image in which we were created, as persons of intrinsic and infinite value. Our service will include a time of Baptismal Renewal.

January 19-Second Sunday after the Epiphany

Text:                1 Corinthians 1:1-9

Message:         The Promise of Faithfulness

Paul teaches us in 1 Corinthians 1:1-9 to be grateful for the gifts that God has given to the church even with its frailties—gifts of understanding and caring, gifts of words that help and heal, gifts of faithfulness to Jesus Christ, gifts of shared community.

We will also receive the Human Relations Day offering. Human Relations Day is one of six churchwide Special Sundays with offerings of The United Methodist Church. This observance calls United Methodists to recognize the right of all God’s children in realizing their potential as human beings in relationship with one another. The special offering benefits neighborhood ministries through Community Developers, community advocacy through United Methodist Voluntary Services and work with at-risk teens through the Youth Offender Rehabilitation Program. Offering envelopes will be available for your convenience. Checks can be made out to NMO-UMC with “Human Relations” in the memo line.

January 26-Third Sunday after the Epiphany

Text:                Matthew 4:12-23

Message:         The Promise of Ministry

When we reflect upon Jesus’ calling of the first disciples (Matthew 4:12-23), we are reminded that Jesus still seeks out followers, calling us to imitate his radical vision for a life of action and service.

February 2-Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany

Text:                Matthew 5:1-12

Message:         The Promise of Blessing

Whenever we hear the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12), we are struck by their poetic beauty and, at the same time, overwhelmed by their perceived impracticality for the world in which we live.  Yet, at the heart of the Beatitudes is the call for us to be disciples who live out the virtues of these blessings in pursuit of righteousness grounded in God’s righteousness.  Our worship celebration will include the sharing of Holy Communion.

February 9-Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany

Text:                Matthew 5:13-20

Message:         The Promise of Guidance

In her book Teaching a Stone to Talk, Annie Dillard writes, “You do not have to sit outside in the dark.  If, however, you want to look at the stars, you will find that darkness is necessary.”  Called to be the light of the world, we are summoned into the dark places around us, bearing the light of Christ.

February 16-Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany

Text:                Deuteronomy 30:15-20

Message:         The Promise of Freedom

We live in a time when we are confronted by a myriad of choices.  Paper or plastic?  Small, medium, large, or super?  Organic or conventional?  Having options from which to choose is a staple of the American dream—a preferred cultural value that fosters our illusion of autonomy.  Therefore, the choices offered to the Hebrews in Deuteronomy 30:15-20 does not sit well with us as it gives offers only too options, life or death?  What does it mean for us to choose life?

February 23-Transfiguration Sunday

Text:                Matthew 17:1-9

Message:         The Promise of Vision

God’s glory and magnificence and power and majesty are unsurpassable, we say; but we must also declare that God’s glory and magnificence and power and majesty are surpassed by God’s willingness to shed them all in order that we might finally recognize God’s compassion—causing us, then, to act in love, justice and kindness.