Worship in the Home: January 17, 2021

Posted on January 12, 2021 by ELCA Worship

Worship in the Home

Second Sunday after Epiphany, Year B
January 17, 2021

In this time of world-wide crisis, congregations throughout this church are not able to gather for worship as the body of Christ. While you cannot be together in person, we can hear the word of God and hold each other in prayer. We offer this brief resource as an aid for prayer in the home. As with our prayers in the gathered assembly for worship, you are encouraged to prepare or adapt them locally for your context.

Additional prayers for the nation and times of conflict, crisis and disaster can be found in Evangelical Lutheran Worship (pp. 76-77) and in All Creation Sings (p. 49-51). The Great Litany (ELW #238) and the prayers of lament in All Creation Sings would also be a helpful resource in this time (pp. 61-66). The worship resources composed for the Commemoration of the Emanuel Nine include a petition specific to our nation and the scourge of white supremacy.

Find a peaceful place to pray, perhaps a table. You may wish to light a candle and place a bowl of water in remembrance of your baptism. One person may lead this acclamation and then pray the Prayer of the Day.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with us all.

Let us pray.
A brief silence is kept before the prayer.

Thanks be to you, Lord Jesus Christ, most merciful redeemer, for the countless blessings and benefits you give. May we know you more clearly, love you more dearly, and follow you more nearly, day by day praising you, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.


Then the readings for this day may be read, as follows:

First Reading:  1 Samuel 3:1-10[11-20]

1Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the LORD under Eli. The word of the LORD was rare in those days; visions were not widespread. 2At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his room; 3the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was. 4Then the LORD called, “Samuel! Samuel!” and he said, “Here I am!” 5and ran to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But Eli said, “I did not call; lie down again.” So Samuel went and lay down. 6The LORD called again, “Samuel!” Samuel got up and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But Eli said, “I did not call, my son; lie down again.” 7Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, and the word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him. 8The LORD called Samuel again, a third time. And he got up and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli perceived that the LORD was calling the boy. 9Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down; and if the LORD calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.’ ” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

10Now the LORD came and stood there, calling as before, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” [11Then the LORD said to Samuel, “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make both ears of anyone who hears of it tingle. 12On that day I will fulfill against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. 13For I have told him that I am about to punish his house forever, for the iniquity that he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them. 14Therefore I swear to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be expiated by sacrifice or offering forever.”

15Samuel lay there until morning; then he opened the doors of the house of the LORD. Samuel was afraid to tell the vision to Eli. 16But Eli called Samuel and said, “Samuel, my son.” He said, “Here I am.” 17Eli said, “What was it that the LORD told you? Do not hide it from me. May God do so to you and more also, if you hide anything from me of all that God told you.” 18So Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him. Then he said, “The LORD will do what seems good to the LORD.”

19As Samuel grew up, the LORD was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. 20And all Israel from Dan to Beer-sheba knew that Samuel was a trustworthy prophet of the LORD.]

Word of God, word of life.
Thanks be to God.


The Psalm may be sung or read in response to the First Reading.

Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18

1LORD, you have | searched me out;
.    O LORD, you have known me.
2You know my sitting down and my | rising up;
.    you discern my thoughts | from afar.
3You trace my journeys and my | resting-places
.    and are acquainted with | all my ways.
4Indeed, there is not a word | on my lips,
.    but you, O LORD, know it | altogether.
5You encompass me, behind | and before,
.    and lay your | hand upon me.
6Such knowledge is too wonder- | ful for me;
.    it is so high that I cannot at- | tain to it.
13For you yourself created my | inmost parts;
.    you knit me together in my | mother’s womb.
14I will thank you because I am mar- | velously made;
.    your works are wonderful, and I | know it well.
15My body was not hid- | den from you,
.    while I was being made in secret and woven in the depths | of the earth.
16Your eyes beheld my limbs, yet unfinished in the womb;
.    all of them were written | in your book;
.    my days were fashioned before they | came to be.
17How deep I find your | thoughts, O God!
.    How great is the | sum of them!
18If I were to count them, they would be more in number | than the sand;
.    to count them all, my life span would need to | be like yours.


Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 6:12-20

12“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are beneficial. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. 13“Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food,” and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is meant not for fornication but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by divine power.

15Do you not know that your bodies are parts of the body of Christ? Should I therefore take the parts of the body of Christ and make them parts of a prostitute? Never! 16Do you not know that whoever is united to a prostitute becomes one body with that prostitute? For it is said, ‘The two shall be one flesh.’ 17But anyone united to the Lord becomes one spirit with the Lord. 18Shun fornication! Every sin that a person commits is outside the body; but the fornicator sins against the body itself. 19Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.

Word of God, word of life.
Thanks be to God.


Gospel: John 1:43-51

The holy gospel according to John.
Glory to you, O Lord.

43The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” 44Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found the one about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.” 46Nathanael said to Philip, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”

47When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, “Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!” 48Nathanael asked Jesus, “Where did you get to know me?” Jesus answered, “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.” 49Nathanael replied, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50Jesus answered, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.” 51And Jesus said to him, “Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son-of-Man.”

The gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, O Christ.



Having read these readings, think on this:

Sometimes we feel as if we have no word from God, no vision, no place to come and see what God is doing, no center in a time of alienation. But, as the Psalm says, God has seen us and known us. More: in our baptism, God has called us, like Samuel, Philip, and Nathanael were called. Listen to these texts more deeply. In Jesus Christ heaven has opened. For us, the angels of God ascend and descend upon him more surely than they did upon Jacob’s ancient Bethel (Genesis 28:12). In his death and resurrection, Jesus has become for us the lamp of God, the ark of God, and the house of God where we may come and see. The crucified and risen Christ, present in his word and sacraments — and present to us in the scriptures read in our homes — is today the place where we may meet God. Then, gathered into Christ’s body by the Holy Spirit, we become together the temple of God, our own bodies now dedicated to bearing witness to God’s love for our needy neighbors and for all the world.


If you have a hymnal, you may now sing or read “Here I Am, Lord” (Evangelical Lutheran Worship 574 / This Far By Faith 230), O Jesus, I Have Promised(Evangelical Lutheran Worship 810). Selected hymns are provided below for those without a hymnal at home.

O Jesus, I Have Promised


Then pray these intercessions:

As this week we observe the Week of Prayer for Christian unity, commemorate Martin Luther King, Jr., and inaugurate the new President of the United States, let us offer our laments and petitions to God, responding to each with the words “In mercy, receive our prayers.”

O God, we lament the times when our churches have rejected collaboration with your worldwide family of grace a brief silence — and we pray for your blessing on the Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Protestants, evangelicals, and independents, that all your people will follow your call to discipleship and grow deeper into our unity in Christ.

Another brief silence.

O God, Shepherd of your people, hear our cries;
In mercy, receive our prayers.

We lament the ways that we and our society have misused your earth with selfish or short-sighted actions a brief silence — and we pray for an increased commitment to the care of your marvelous creation.

Another brief silence.

O God, Gardener of the globe, hear our cries;
In mercy, receive our prayers.

We lament the occasions when our government has neglected the needs of the people of America and the calls for international cooperation a brief silence — and we pray for President-elect Biden, for Vice President-elect Harris, and for all our elected members of Congress, that they fulfill their obligations to uphold and extend the common good.

Another brief silence.

O God, Shield of the commonwealth, hear our cries;
In mercy, receive our prayers.

We lament the uncontrolled rage and the senseless violence that recently defaced our nation a brief silence — and we pray that peace reign in our streets, that our capital cities be safe, that all citizens come to accept the new administration, and that a spirit of reconciliation and cooperation mark the next stage of our national life.

Another brief silence.

O God, Peacemaker in our land, hear our cries;
In mercy, receive our prayers.

We lament the decades of ethnic injustices and racial prejudice that brought such suffering to many residents of our country a brief silence — and we pray that you bless the Indigenous peoples, descendants of Africans, and all immigrants to this land, and that you form us into a nation in which all are honored in equal measure.

Another brief silence.

O God, Liberator of the oppressed, hear our cries;
In mercy, receive our prayers.

We lament the unspeakable sadness that has been unleashed by the coronavirus here and around the world a brief silence — and we pray that you bring health to the sick, comfort to the dying, resilience to health workers, prompt vaccinations to everyone, and a lasting end to this scourge.

Another brief silence.

O God, Physician and Nurse, hear our cries;
In mercy, receive our prayers.

We lament also our private sorrows and our hidden fears,
and we pray that as with the boy Samuel, you speak to us in the night of our need.

A longer period of silence.

O God, Lover of our souls, hear our cries;
In mercy, receive our prayers.

We lament the lives of those who have died, in storms, in riots, and in sickbeds. We praise you especially for the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., and those we name here before you. . . .;  and we pray that at the end, we join with all the members of your family in your presence.

A brief silence.

O God, eternal Arms of Mercy, hear our cries;
In mercy, receive our prayers.

Into your hands, O loving God, we commend all for whom we pray, trusting in your mercy, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.


If you have a hymnal, you may now sing or read “Lord, Speak to Us, That We May Speak” (Evangelical Lutheran Worship 676), Send Me, Jesus” (Evangelical Lutheran Worship 549/ This Far By Faith 245). Selected hymns are provided below for those without a hymnal at home.

Lord, Speak to Us, That We May Speak

Send Me, Jesus


Then conclude with these prayers:

Let us pray.
A brief silence is kept before the prayer.

Holy God,
Light of the universe, Teacher of truth, Giver of goodness,
we hear your Word in the Scriptures,
proclaiming to us your wisdom
and inviting us to follow your call.
For speaking this Word, we thank you, O God.
We thank you, O God.  

Your Word came among us in Jesus, our brother,
who preached your righteousness, healed the sick,
and revived the brokenhearted.
For giving us this Word, we worship you, O God.
We worship you, O God.

By your Spirit bless all who receive this Word,
that upheld by the mystery of the body of Christ,
we may be light for the world,
revealing the brilliance of your Son.
For sustaining us with your Word, we praise you, O God.
We praise you, O God.

Blessed are you, holy God, around us, with us, and in us,
now and forever. Amen.


Gathered into one by the Holy Spirit, let us pray as Jesus taught us:
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.
Save us from the time of trial,
and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours,
now and forever.


Then speak the Blessing:

God the creator strengthen you;
Jesus the beloved fill you;
and the Holy Spirit the comforter + keep you in peace.


Devotional Music Links: For your individual or group devotion, you may choose to listen to the following choral recordings made available through Augsburg Fortress: “Let Us Talents and Tongues Employ;” “The Everlasting Light;” “Song of Thanksgiving.”

Readings for the Week:
Monday (Confession of Peter; Week of Prayer for Christian Unity begins) Matthew 16:13-19. Tuesday (commemoration of Henry, Bishop of Uppsala, martyr, 1156) Acts 5:1-11. Wednesday Luke 18:15-17. Thursday (commemoration of Agnes, martyr, c. 304) Psalm 62:5-12. Friday 2 Peter 3:1-7. Saturday Luke 10:13-16. Third Sunday after Epiphany: Jonah 3:1-5, 10; Psalm 62:5-12; 1 Corinthians 7:29-31; Mark 1:14-20.

Daily Prayer Resources are available, including simple forms of Morning, Evening, and Night Prayer; Responsive Prayer; and prayers for mealtimes and other occasions.

Due to copyright restrictions, we are only able to provide downloadable hymns that are in the public domain and selected hymns for limited use. Other suggestions provided above may be found in Evangelical Lutheran Worship. To purchase copies of Evangelical Lutheran Worship and All Creation Sings for the home, visit the Augsburg Fortress website or call 1-800-328-4648. Selected hymns from All Creation Sings will be provided for limited use.

Reflection text: Gordon Lathrop. Intercessory Prayer: Gail Ramshaw

Portions from Evangelical Lutheran Worship, All Creation Sings, and sundaysandseasons.com © 2021 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Readings from Readings for the Assembly © 1995, 1996, 1997 Augsburg Fortress. Citations from the Revised Common Lectionary © 1992 Consultation on Common Texts. Scripture quotations from NRSV Bible, Copyright © 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America, adapted and edited with permission by Gordon Lathrop and Gail Ramshaw.

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