Sample from Season After Epiphany 2021

© 2020 Mary Scifres for Mary Scifres Ministries

Writing Team: B. J. Beu, Catarina Paton, and Mary Scifres




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2nd Sunday after Pentecost ~ January 17, 2021


1 Samuel 3:1-10 (11-20); Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18; 1 Cor. 6:12-20; John 1:43-51



Sermon and theme idea can stand alone for the week or relate to the seasonal series, “Journeying Without a Handbook.” See Themes and Title Ideas on Page 1 for full series list.

  • Questioning the Handbook (John 1:43-51)

  • Questions Along the Way (John 1:43-51)



Questioning the Handbook (John 1:43-51) or Questions Along the Way (John 1:43-51)

Last spring, a music professor was required by her university to move all of her voice students to online lessons via Zoom video conferencing. “Can anything good come from Zoom?!” she complained to me. Her internet was slow, the learning curve was steep, and she missed the personal connection of meeting her students in her studio each day. She questioned whether she should keep going or take early retirement. “Just wait and see,” her boss had suggested; so she kept at it through both the spring and summer semesters. As the fall semester began, she sang a very different tune in our conversations. “What a blessing video learning has been!” she exclaimed. Her students were more focused in their lesson time. They could see and make the physical corrections she was recommending as they watched themselves on their video screens, or mimicked her as they watched both their professor and themselves changing a mouth position or improving posture. 


Likewise, even though Nathanael questioned whether anything good could come from Nazareth, he followed Phillip’s advice and his life was forever changed by the blessing of encountering Jesus of Nazareth. Asking questions, wondering, even doubting, need not be roadblocks on the journey of faith. Rather, questions can invite us to dig more deeply, discover new possibilities, and expand our faith more broadly. As Little Red Riding Hood sings in Into the Woods, we may discover that we “know things now, many valuable things that [we] hadn’t known before."


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“The path from dream to success does exist. May you have the vision to find it, the courage to get on it, and the perseverance to follow it.” ~ Kalpana Chawla


Searching us, God knows us. 
Seeing us, God watches over us.
Hearing us, God listens with compassion and love.
Come to the one who is familiar with all of our ways 
and loves us in every way.


Loving Savior, you have granted us the path of life.
We come to you today, that our steps may walk this path.
Welcome us, as we come to worship and praise this day.


Maker of life, show us your ways
and light the path you set before our feet.
We yearn to see your glory 
and hear your words of life. 
We bring our questions and concerns, 
our hopes and dreams, 
our confusion and doubts. 
Open our hearts to perceive your guidance
and open our eyes to see your presence in our lives,
for we long to get up and go as your disciples, 
following the lead of Jesus, our guide and guardian. 



Do not fear the uncertainty of the path that lies before you.

If Jesus is your guide, you will always be shone the right path.


LITANY OF PREPARATION or RESPONSE (Insert names of people from your congregation, and invite them to begin inserting other names in the chat box while worshipping virtually or aloud if worshipping together, encouraging their naming and calling to build in volume and chaos.)

Samuel, Samuel!

Speak, for your servant is listening.

Mary, Mary!

Speak, for your servant is listening.

John, Carole, Stephen, Cameron, Shannon, Mark!

Speak, for your servant is listening.

Call one another by name. (Allow time for people to call out names of friends and neighbors.)

Called by God, we are gathered here to listen for the Word of God.

Speak, for your servant is listening.



Accept the gifts we bring before you now,

that they may help others come and know

your beautiful love and grace.

Through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior,

we humbly pray in your name. Amen.



You have searched and known us, O God.

May we continue your search for new disciples.

As move forward in life,

may we continue the journey you have set before us.



May the peace of God reign throughout our lives.

May the love of Christ ever be our foundation.

May the Spirit of God empower us on life’s journey,

that the joy of God may strengthen our foundation of love.



  • Write Your Story – Francesca Batistelli (John 1:43-51)

  • Wait and See – Brandon Heath (John 1:43-51)

  • Come and See – Bob Bennett (John 1:43-51)

  • I Will Follow – Chris Tomlin (John 1:43-51)

  • Great video with lyrics and light images at:

  • Any Road, Any Cost – Point of Grace (John 1:43-51)

  • Commission My Soul – Citipointe Live (John 1:43-51)

  • What a Beautiful Name – Hillsong UNITED (John 1:43-51)

  • Be Thou My Vision – Audrey Assad (John 1:43-51)

  • King of Glory – Todd Dulaney (John 1:43-51)

  • Our God Saves – Paul Baloche (John 1:43-51)

  • Jesus at the Center – Darlene Zscech (John 1)

  • Revelation Song – Kari Jobe (John 1:43-51)

  • Break Every Chain – Jesus Culture (John 1:43-51)

  • Counting Blue Cars – Dishwalla (John 1, Questioning theme)

  • Do You Know Where You’re Going To – Diana Ross (John 1, Questioning theme)

  • I Know Things Now from Into the Woods – Stephen Sondheim (John 1, theme film)

  • Hopeless Wanderer – Mumford and Sons (John 1, theme song)



Looking, seeing, question mark, following, calling, fishnet, dawn, light/darkness, “new”


  • Into the Woods - I Know Things – Little Red talks about her discovery about “things” as she explored previous questions and stereotypes (Questions theme related to Sermon Starter)

  • John 1:43-51 (3MinDailyDevotional) – This written scripture, word study, and prayer with background piano music could be shared as a mid-week link to introduce the week’s theme, or in worship the first part could be used as your screen visual while a liturgist reads the scripture aloud

  • Looking for Light - Day 4 (John 1:43-51) – With more of an emphasis on inviting others to “come and see” this scripture and brief reflection may inspire your sermon preparation. Or, use the end as your scripture reading in this week’s worship.

  • The Call on My Generation – motivational video to encourage people to be interns with TeenMania’s Honor Academy could be used to illustrate our calling to God’s light, editing out the last few seconds of HA’s logo (John 1)



  • Begin the scripture reading and message time with a litany calling congregation members by name and inviting them to respond, “Speak for your servant is listening.”  (See suggested litany in Words for Worship.)

  • Send question marks to congregants in this week’s e-newsletter or even via snail mail, with an invitation to worship with worship time, on-line link or in-person instructions, and the phrase, “Come and See what the question is all about!”

  • To illustrate the excitement of meeting Jesus in John 1, plan a “spontaneous” litany during the scripture reading or message time.  One person calls out “What are you looking for?”  Another responds, “Come and see!”  Then the scripture reader calls out, “Come and hear what else John can tell us about seeing Jesus!” Message or scripture can then continue. 

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