Next Sunday is the third Sunday after Epiphany. The season of "Epiphanytide" runs from January 6 to February 2, and the focus is on the proclamation of Christ as Messiah and the mission of His Church in the world.
The emphasis on mission invites us also to think about unity within the body of Christ. Today, January 18, marks the beginning of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, an ecumenical celebration that recalls Jesus’s prayer for unity in John 17: "that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me."
Here are resources to prepare you for the coming week.
Excerpts from the lectionary
The lectionary themes for the week are Christ's calling of the disciples and the unity of the Church.
- Isaiah 9:1-4: "[I]n the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations. The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone."
- Psalm 27:1, 4-9: "One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple."
- 1 Corinthians 1:10-18: "I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.
- Matthew 4:12-23: "While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, 'Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.'"
you spoke your word
and revealed your good news in Jesus, the Christ.
Fill all creation with that word again,
so that by proclaiming your joyful promises to all nations
and singing of your glorious hope to all peoples,
we may become one living body,
your incarnate presence on the earth. Amen.
- Revised Common Lectionary
Everliving God, whose will it is that all should come to you through your Son Jesus Christ: Inspire our witness to him, that all may know the power of his forgiveness and the hope of his resurrection; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
- Book of Common Prayer ("For the Mission of the Church")
Anglican priest and poet Malcom Guite reads his sonnet "The Call of the Disciples," from his book Sounding the Seasons: Seventy Sonnets for Christian Year.
The song selection for this week is "Dear Lord and Father of Mankind" (lyrics), a congregational hymn especially popular in the UK.
The second stanza in particular ties to the lectionary:
In simple trust like theirs who heard
beside the Syrian sea
the gracious calling of the Lord,
let us, like them, without a word
rise up and follow thee.
Italian artist Duccio di Buoninsegna composed this piece, Christ Calling the Apostles Peter and Andrew, in 1319.