Jan 13

4th Sunday After Epiphany (Year B)

Deuteronomy 18:15-20

  • It could be argued (and, I’m fairly sure that it has) that the “prophet” spoken about in this passage points to the Christ.  Indeed, the people who wandered in the wilderness with Moses longed for the Incarnation – the Holy One come to us in a form that didn’t terrify.
  • The text contains warnings against following false prophets.  What/Who are some of the “false prophets” in our world today?
  • I think it is important (despite the previous question) for us to resist pointing fingers at others when we reflect on this text.  Let’s face it, folks – there are times when we put our own words in the mouth of the Lord.  There is no “Time for Judging Others” element in our worship services (at least, not in the Reformed tradition), but there is a “Prayer of Confession”…
  • It may be beneficial (depending on your focus, if you are preaching on this text) to read through verse 22.

Psalm 111

  • This is a beautiful psalm of praise – a real love song to the Lord!
  • If you use projected images (in an electronic slide show, perhaps), there are good images to work with in this psalm.  Think about all the various descriptive words in this text – words like “majesty”, “gracious”, “faithfulness”.  Or, think of words like “provides” and “giving”, or “heart”, “hands”, and “people”.  Find images that help illustrate each sentence or phrase. (perhaps “majestic mountains or landscapes, a variety of hands offering service to others, etc).

1 Corinthians 8:1-13

  • It would, perhaps, be quite helpful if everyone in the Church would read and re-read these words each and every day (and actually try to live accordingly).  Would that we would all get it through our heads that “knowledge puffs up, but love builds up”.  Knowledge is great, but it tends to make us think more about ourselves, instead of serving others (as we are called to do).
  • The NRSV is good, but I really appreciate the straightforwardness of translations/versions like The Message and the Easy-to-Read Version.
  • What are the “foods” that we “eat” that may be a stumbling block to fellow Christians?

Mark 1:21-28

  • This text would make an interesting and dynamic dramatic reading.  Voices needed for this text (besides a narrator): Jesus, the Man/Unclean Spirit, and the People of Capernaum.  I suggest that you have 2 people read for the Man/Unclean Spirit.  Also, you will probably want 3 or more people to read for the People of Capernaum (perhaps the entire congregation can read that part).
  • The inherent drama that is present in this text lends itself to some creative preaching.  For example, you could “preach” as though you were one of the specific people in the narrative (the man who is possessed, the unclean spirit, or one of the townspeople).

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