Worship in the Home: January 24, 2021

Posted on January 19, 2021 by ELCA Worship

Worship in the Home

Third Sunday after Epiphany, Year B
January 24, 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.

Almighty God, by grace alone you call us and accept us in your service. Strengthen us by your Spirit, and make us worthy of your call, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.


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

First Reading:  Jonah 3:1-5, 10

1The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time, saying, 2“Get up, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you.” 3So Jonah set out and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly large city, a three days’ walk across. 4Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s walk. And he cried out, “Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” 5 And the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and everyone, great and small, put on sackcloth.

10When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God had second thoughts about the calamity that God had said would be done to them; and God did not do it.

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


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

Psalm 62:5-12

5For God alone I | wait in silence;
truly, my hope | is in God.
6God alone is my rock and | my salvation,
my stronghold, so that I shall nev- | er be shaken.
7In God is my deliverance | and my honor;
God is my strong rock | and my refuge.
8Put your trust in God al- | ways, O people,
pour out your hearts before the one who | is our refuge.
9Those of high degree are but a fleeting breath; those of low estate can- | not be trusted.
Placed on the scales together they weigh even less | than a breath.
10Put no trust in extortion; in robbery take no | empty pride;
though wealth increase, set not your | heart upon it.
11God has spoken once, twice | have I heard it,
that power be- | longs to God.
12Steadfast love belongs to | you, O Lord,
for you repay all according | to their deeds.


Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 7:29-31

29Brothers and sisters, the appointed time has grown short; from now on, let even those who are married be as though they were not, 30and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no possessions, 31and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away.

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


Gospel: Mark 1:14-20

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

14Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, 15and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the dominion of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”

16As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. 17And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for human beings.” 18And immediately they left their nets and followed him. 19As Jesus went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. 20Immediately Jesus called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him.

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



Having read these readings, think on this:

Our world is full of death and the very real possibility of destruction. Nineveh can be an image for us. Yet after Jonah finally acted on the call of God and spoke God’s word to Nineveh, the people immediately repented. That word changed everything. Trusting God, they could live hopefully in their world. After John was arrested, Jesus preached the nearness of the dominion of God, and the world became utterly different for those fishermen. Mark says they immediately followed. After Jesus was arrested and killed, the Risen Christ once again begins his ministry, coming into our assemblies and into our homes, speaking the gospel. The dominion of God is near to us because, in the Spirit and through the word, Christ is near to us. We too are called, and the world becomes utterly different for us. We are like fish pulled out of the chaotic sea into the light and air, only unlike fish we are made alive together with Christ. We may live “as though not” engaged in the values of the world around us, but according to the values of the mercy of God, turning to the needs of our neighbors, inviting them also to live in hope.


If you have a hymnal, you may now sing or read “Jesus Calls Us; o’er the Tumult” (Evangelical Lutheran Worship 696), You Have Come Down to the Lakeshore” (Evangelical Lutheran Worship 817). Selected hymns are provided below for those without a hymnal at home.

Jesus Calls Us, o’er the Tumult


Then pray these intercessions:

Responding together to Christ’s call, let us offer our prayers for all in need, responding to each petition with words from today’s psalm, “Our hope is in you.”

A brief silence.

We pray for the church, especially our bishops, pastors, deacons, musicians, and servers, that God’s Spirit empower all the baptized with wisdom to follow Christ’s call.

A brief silence.

O God our salvation, receive our prayer:
Our hope is in you.

We pray for Sunday schools and for all parish education, for teachers and participants, young and old, that God form the faithful even when classes cannot regularly meet in person.

A brief silence.

O God our power, receive our prayer:
Our hope is in you.

We pray for the earth, its seas, lakes, and rivers, for their myriad creatures, and for those whose livelihood depends upon them, that God raise up advocates and scientists to guide an ecological care for creation.

A brief silence.

O God our rock, receive our prayer:
Our hope is in you.

We pray for the nations, for our elected and appointed leaders, for racial concord in our cities, and for those who have been considered our enemies, that God lead the world into commonwealths of justice and peace.

A brief silence.

O God our stronghold, receive our prayer:
Our hope is in you.

We pray for those who are charged with maintaining an ordered society, for state and local law enforcement, and for the military, that God guide the powerful to serve the common good.

A brief silence.

O God our refuge, receive our prayer:
Our hope is in you.

We pray for relief from COVID-19, for the fearful, the sick, and the dying, for medical workers, for all who await the vaccine, for the unemployed and the quarantined, that God uphold the world’s people through this time of affliction.

A brief silence.

O God in whom we trust, receive our prayer:
Our hope is in you.

We pray for all who are sick, distressed, or grieving, especially for . . . , that God sustain and comfort those who suffer.

A brief silence.

O God our deliverance, receive our prayer:
Our hope is in you.

We pray finally for ourselves, that as we pour out our hearts to God, our faith in divine mercy be renewed.

A longer period of silence.

O God of steadfast love, receive our prayer:
Our hope is in you.

We join in thanksgiving for all your people from ancient times until today who have lived and died in faith, and we pray that at our end God unite us with them in everlasting peace.

A brief silence.

O God of eternal might, receive our prayer:
Our hope is in you.

Merciful God, receive the prayers of your people, spoken or silent, for the sake of the one who dwells among us, your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.


If you have a hymnal, you may now sing or read “I Love to Tell the Story” (Evangelical Lutheran Worship 661), Build Us Up, Lord” (Evangelical Lutheran Worship 670/ This Far By Faith 245), “May the God of Hope Go with Us / Dios de la esperanza(All Creation Sings 984). Selected hymns are provided below for those without a hymnal at home.

I Love to Tell the Story

May the God of Hope Go with Us


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: “For You Alone O God I wait;” “I’ve Just Come from the Fountain;” “Our Mission is to Follow Jesus.”

Readings for the Week:
Monday (Conversion of Paul; Week of Prayer for Christian Unity ends) Galatians 1:11-24. Tuesday (commemoration of Timothy, Titus, and Silas, missionaries) Genesis 45:25 — 46:7. Wednesday (commemoration of Lydia, Dorcas, and Phoebe, witnesses to the faith) Proverbs 8:1-21. Thursday (commemoration of Thomas Aquinas, teacher, 1274) Psalm 111. Friday Deuteronomy 12:28-32. Saturday Deuteronomy 13:1-5. Fourth Sunday after Epiphany: Deuteronomy 18:15-20; Psalm 111; 1 Corinthians 8:1-13; Mark 1:21-28.

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.


Follow this blog

Get a daily email of all new posts.