Sunday, February 7, 2021

The Daily Readings for Sunday, February 7, 2021 — Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany

 

The Daily Readings
Sunday, February 7, 2021
Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany

Serving Others
Isaiah 40:21-31; Psalm 147:1-11, 20c; 1 Corinthians 9:16-23;
Mark 1:29-39
The Holy Bible, King James Version (KJV)


Have you ever served another person without getting the recognition you deserved? Have you ever sacrificed your own wishes to care for another, and not been thanked profusely enough? Attorney Dirk Hardcastle is here with a simple and effective solution: Take 'Em to Court! This video pokes fun at how we all serve others, and, at one time or another, might have secretly hoped for something in return.

Opening Sentences
At the heart of being a disciple of Jesus Christ is a life of service. There is nothing really controversial about that. We just argue about what that service might entail and who we are called to serve. We value some service more than others, for lots of reasons. But today, as we worship, it would be a valuable exercise to find instances of service that often get overlooked. Maybe the challenge would be to engage in the task of acknowledging service to themselves, to their church, to their community, paying special attention to those who don’t get recognized very often. Identify those who don’t do what they do for the recognition. They might even resist being recognized. And this isn’t a call to embarrass workers in the church and community, but to model selfless service. Thereby, the call to service is issued anew.

For many people, a commitment to “follow Jesus” might not seem compelling enough to move them out of the pew or from behind their computer screen. But a call to service, to engage in a specific act at a specific time benefiting specific people who are visible is the kind of call they are longing for.

The Gospel today is the story of Jesus healing Simon’s mother-in-law. Our guiding phrase today looks at what Simon’s mother-in-law does after she is healed of her fever. In verse 31, we see that “she began to serve.”
Opening Prayer
God of mercy and love, be with us this morning as we read the stories of Jesus and his compassion. Remind us again that we also need to be people of hope and compassion in this world which seems so dark. You, O God , open the doors of blessings. You reveal to us the many ways in which Jesus reached out to others at their time of need. Inspire our hearts and lift our spirits this day, for we offer this prayer in Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Prayer of Confession
How amazing it is to us, O God of love, that you look into our hearts and forgive our wayward spirits. So many times we have succumbed to the temptations of this world, seeking comfort in its fleeting enticements. We have turned deaf ears on the cries of those in distress and walked away from opportunities to give aid and comfort. Remind us again of how Jesus reached out to the multitudes who brought their problems and ailments to him. His compassionate touch not only healed their bodies but restored and renewed their spirits. Forgive our stubbornness and our selfishness. Give us hearts of compassion and spirits willing to serve you by serving others. We offer this prayer of contrition in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Words of Assurance
Hear the good news! In this very instant, God has touched our hearts and offered God’s healing and forgiving love. In the name of Jesus Christ, we are forgiven! Hallelujah!!


Today’s Verse-of-the-Day:
Ye that love the Lord, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked.
As our taste for the Lord and His loving, holy nature grows, our distaste for anything that dishonors and displeases Him should also increase. Our love for God should prompt us to help others draw near to Him as well.

Today’s Readings:
First Reading
Isaiah 40:21-31

The Creator cares for the powerless
40:21 Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth?

22 It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in:

23 That bringeth the princes to nothing; he maketh the judges of the earth as vanity.

24 Yea, they shall not be planted; yea, they shall not be sown: yea, their stock shall not take root in the earth: and he shall also blow upon them, and they shall wither, and the whirlwind shall take them away as stubble.

25 To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One.

26 Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth.

27 Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the Lord, and my judgment is passed over from my God?

28 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.

29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.

30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:

31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
Commentary

Verses 21-26 — Whatever we esteem or love, fear or hope in, more than God, that creature we make equal with God, though we do not make images or worship them. He that is so poor, that he has scarcely a sacrifice to offer, yet will not be without a god of his own. They spared no cost upon their idols; we grudge what is spent in the service of our God. To prove the greatness of God, the prophet appeals to all ages and nations. Those who are ignorant of this, are willingly ignorant. God has the command of all creatures, and of all created things. The prophet directs us to use our reason as well as our senses; to consider who created the hosts of heaven, and to pay our homage to Him. Not one fails to fulfill his will. And let us not forget, that He spake all the promises, and engaged to perform them.

Verses 27-31 — The people of God are reproved for their unbelief and distrust of God. Let them remember they took the names Jacob and Israel, from one who found God faithful to him in all his straits. And they bore these names as a people in covenant with Him. Many foolish frets, and foolish fears, would vanish before inquiry into the causes. It is bad to have evil thoughts rise in our minds, but worse to turn them into evil words. What they had known, and had heard, was sufficient to silence all these fears and distrusts. Where God had begun the work of grace, he will perfect it. He will help those who, in humble dependence on him, help themselves. As the day, so shall the strength be. In the strength of Divine grace their souls shall ascend above the world. They shall run the way of God's commandments cheerfully. Let us watch against unbelief, pride, and self-confidence. If we go forth in our own strength, we shall faint, and utterly fall; but having our hearts and our hopes in heaven, we shall be carried above all difficulties, and be enabled to lay hold of the prize of our high calling in Christ Jesus.


Psalm 147:1-11, 20c
The Lord heals the brokenhearted
1 Praise ye the Lord: for it is good to sing praises unto our God; for it is pleasant; and praise is comely.

2 The Lord doth build up Jerusalem: he gathereth together the outcasts of Israel.

3 He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.

4 He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names.

5 Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.

6 The Lord lifteth up the meek: he casteth the wicked down to the ground.

7 Sing unto the Lord with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God:

8 Who covereth the heaven with clouds, who prepareth rain for the earth, who maketh grass to grow upon the mountains.

9 He giveth to the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry.

10 He delighteth not in the strength of the horse: he taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man.

11 The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.

20c Praise ye the Lord.
Commentary

Praising God is work that is its own wages. It is comely; it becomes us as reasonable creatures, much more as people in covenant with God. He gathers outcast sinners by his grace, and will bring them into his holy habitation. To those whom God heals with the consolations of his Spirit, he speaks peace, assures them their sins are pardoned. And for this, let others praise him also. Man's knowledge is soon ended; but God's knowledge is a dept that can never be fathomed. And while he telleth the number of the stars, he condescends to hear the broken-hearted sinner. While he feeds the young ravens, he will not leave his praying people destitute. Clouds look dull and melancholy, yet without them we could have no rain, therefore no fruit. Thus afflictions look black and unpleasant; but from clouds of affliction come showers that make the soul to yield the peaceable fruits of righteousness. The psalmist delights not in things wherein sinners trust and glory; but a serious and suitable regard to God is, in his sight, of very great price. We are not to be in doubt between hope and fear, but to act under the gracious influences of hope and fear united.


Second Reading
1 Corinthians 9:16-23
A servant of the gospel
9:16 For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!

17 For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.

18 What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel.

19 For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.

20 And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law;

21 To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.

22 To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.

23 And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.
Commentary

It is the glory of a minister to deny himself, that he may serve Christ and save souls. But when a minister gives up his right for the sake of the gospel, he does more than his charge and office demands. By preaching the gospel, freely, the apostle showed that he acted from principles of zeal and love, and thus enjoyed much comfort and hope in his soul. And though he looked on the ceremonial law as a yoke taken off by Christ, yet he submitted to it, that he might work upon the Jews, do away their prejudices, prevail with them to hear the gospel, and win them over to Christ. Though he would transgress no laws of Christ, to please any man, yet he would accommodate himself to all men, where he might do it lawfully, to gain some. Doing good was the study and business of his life; and, that he might reach this end, he did not stand on privileges. We must carefully watch against extremes, and against relying on any thing but trust in Christ alone. We must not allow errors or faults, so as to hurt others, or disgrace the gospel.


The Gospel
Mark 1:29-39
The healing of Peter’s mother-in-law
 
1:29 And forthwith, when they were come out of the synagogue, they entered into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John.

30 But Simon's wife's mother lay sick of a fever, and anon they tell him of her.

31 And he came and took her by the hand, and lifted her up; and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered unto them.

32 And at even, when the sun did set, they brought unto him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils.

33 And all the city was gathered together at the door.

34 And he healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many devils; and suffered not the devils to speak, because they knew him.

35 And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.

36 And Simon and they that were with him followed after him.

37 And when they had found him, they said unto him, All men seek for thee.

38 And he said unto them, Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth.

39 And he preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and cast out devils.
Commentary

Wherever Christ comes, he comes to do good. He cures, that we may minister to him, and to others who are his, and for his sake. Those kept from public ordinances by sickness or other real hindrances, may expect the Savior's gracious presence; he will soothe their sorrows, and abate their pains. Observe how numerous the patients were. When others speed well with Christ, it should quicken us in seeking after him. Christ departed into a solitary place. Though he was in no danger of distraction, or of temptation to vain-glory, yet he retired. Those who have the most business in public, and of the best kind, must yet sometimes be alone with God.


Here end the Readings

The Nicene Creed

  • We believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.
  • And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, begotten from the Father before all ages, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made; of the same essence as the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven; he became incarnate by the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary, and was made human. He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate; he suffered and was buried. The third day he rose again, according to the Scriptures. He ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again with glory to judge the living and the dead. His kingdom will never end.
  • And we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life. He proceeds from the Father and the Son, and with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified. He spoke through the prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church. We affirm one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look forward to the resurrection of the dead, and to life in the world to come. Amen.
The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us; And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
Holy Communion

A nondenominational serving of bread and wine
Many churches around the world are working hard to adapt to online worship, and one challenge is how our members can celebrate communion from home. Though no video can truly replace the experience of celebrating together in our places of worship, we know that where two or more are gathered, the Lord is present.
Benediction
Renewed by the power of God’s unconditional love and forgiveness, strengthened by the witness of Jesus to be of service to others, go now into the world, rejoicing in God’s presence, the opportunities to serve others in Christ’s name. Bring the news of peace and hope to all you meet. Amen.

Called to Give More
In which ways is God calling you to give more? Should you be giving more of your time, talents, money, gifts, hobbies, traveling, or even your heart? This video helps viewers explore that question, and to examine their own hearts to see how they should be giving.


The Bible texts of the Old Testament, Epistle, and Gospel lessons are from The Holy Bible, King James Version (KJV).

Commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible.

The Daily Bible Readings are selected from the Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, a three-year cyclical lectionary. We are currently in Year B. Beginning with the first Sunday of Advent in 2021, we will be in Year C. The year which ended at Advent 2020 was Year A. These readings complement the Sunday and festival readings: Thursday through Saturday readings help prepare the reader for the Sunday ahead; Monday through Wednesday readings help the reader reflect and digest what they heard in worship. Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, copyright © 2005 Consultation on Common Texts. www.commontexts.org
Sunday, February 7, 2021 — Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany
At the heart of being a disciple of Jesus Christ is a life of service. There is nothing really controversial about that. We just argue about what that service might entail and who we are called to serve. We value some service more than others, for lots of reasons. But today, as we worship, it would be a valuable exercise to find instances of service that often get overlooked. Maybe the challenge would be to engage in the task of acknowledging service to themselves, to their church, to their community, paying special attention to those who don’t get recognized very often. Identify those who don’t do what they do for the recognition. They might even resist being recognized. And this isn’t a call to embarrass workers in the church and community, but to model selfless service. Thereby, the call to service is issued anew.
Isaiah 40:21-31; Psalm 147:1-11, 20c; 1 Corinthians 9:16-23; Mark 1:29-39
The Holy Bible, King James Version (KJV)

Prayer of the Day for Sunday, February 7, 2021

 

Prayer of the Day
Sunday, February 7, 2021


But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Dear Father in heaven, living source of all that is eternal in us, we come to you and plead with you to strengthen the gifts you have given us. Grant us the light of life in which we can walk in spite of the many burdens and uncertainties of our earthly life. Protect us from deception and disappointment. Strengthen our hope for your steadfast, firm, and eternal rule in us, in many others, and finally in all people. Amen.

Verse of the Day for Sunday, February 7, 2021

 

Verse of the Day
Sunday, February 7, 2021


Psalm 97:10
Ye that love the Lord, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked.
As our taste for the Lord and His loving, holy nature grows, our distaste for anything that dishonors and displeases Him should also increase. Our love for God should prompt us to help others draw near to Him as well.

Read all of Psalm 97

Listen to Psalm 97

Holy Bible, King James Version (KJV)