Sunday, January 17, 2021

Jan 17 the Second Sunday after Epiphany; Can anything Good come out of Nazareth?

Archived Service

 Let’s start with three deep breaths and relax….


Opening Prayer (PS 139, Cor 6)

Creating God, how deeply you know us.

In the mystery of your love,

you see who we are and who we might become.

Our bodies are your creation;

they are wonderfully made.

Our minds reflect your handiwork.

Our spirits are a gift from you.

You call us by name and invite us to follow.

Lead us now into the depths of your love. Amen.

let us begin today’s worship



L: In the shadows of the night, God calls us.

P: Here I am, for you called me.

L: In the daylight, God calls us.

P: Here I am, for you called me.

L: God calls to each of us by name.

P: Here I am, for you called me.

Come O Fount of every Blessings #459

John 1:43-51

Jesus Calls Philip and Nathanael

43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.” 46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” 47 When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, “Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!” 48 Nathanael asked him, “Where did you get to know me?” Jesus answered, “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.” 49 Nathanael replied, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50 Jesus answered, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.” 51 And he said to him, “Very truly, I tell you,[a] you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”

The word of God for the people of God!

Thanks be to God!


Sermon: Can anything good come out of Nazareth?

As we listen to today’s gospel story.  We hear the tale of the call of Nathaniel who loudly inquired “can anything good come out of Nazareth?” It sounds so sarcastic and dismissive and yet to this day many are called to serve and the response to those are much the same.

I cannot help but recall the reaction to students who rose up against gun violence after shootings at their schools often dismissed as kids who didn’t know what they were talking about.

Its is sad but if you google human rights activist dismissed there are about 16,800,000 results from all over the world.

 Today we join with many churches celebrating the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. His legacy and activism cannot be dismissed, though there were those who tried. Even here in NH. I was surprised to learn of the history and the time it took to recognize Martin Luther King Day here in New Hampshire.

It has been only 22 years since New Hampshire recognized MLK as an official Holiday and it was not an easy road. In an article from 2013 we are reminded of that fight….

“New Hampshire was the last state to have a holiday to observe King by name.

As we approach the 50th anniversary of the “I Have a Dream” speech, those who pushed for the holiday in the Granite State say it’s important to remember that it didn’t happen without a fight.

Arnie Arnesen remembers every detail of her first floor debate as a member of the state House of Representatives.

“It sounds crazy, but I can tell you what I was wearing.”

It was 1985 and the legislation she was supporting would have recognized Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a holiday in New Hampshire.

Arnesen, now a radio talk show host, recalls being up until 2 in the morning the night before crafting her argument.

“I remember thinking how was I going to explain why it was so important to me, a white Norwegian, Italian protestant. And I remember writing something to the effect of that this really represented the minority in all of us.”

She and others made their case. Then the votes came in.

“We only got 60 votes. And I remember being so shocked.”

But efforts to mark the day in New Hampshire date back even further to 1979, when Senator Jim Splaine filed the first of what would be many failed bills.

Then, in 1983, President Reagan signed into law a bill making Martin Luther King Jr. Day a federal holiday. Most states quickly followed suit.

But New Hampshire and a few others held out.

Opponents argued that New Hampshire’s small African-American population – roughly 1 percent – meant the issue wasn’t a pressing one for the state.  (by default that is systemic racism…not seen not a problem)

They also took issue with King’s position against the Vietnam War.

A grassroots campaign formed to change that and lawmakers filed bills virtually every session to mark the day.

And front and center was Arnie Alpert, the spokesman for the Martin Luther King Day committee in New Hampshire.

“We tried to keep the focus on why it was good for New Hampshire to do that, not simply why it was embarrassing for the state to stay in that anomalous role.”

New Hampshire took a step closer in 1993, when New Hampshire lawmakers approved Civil Rights Day.

Opponents of naming the day after King argued that the movement was bigger than one man.

But for Arnesen and others, that wasn’t enough.

“I couldn’t accept Civil Rights Day because individuals matter. Movements don’t exist but for some remarkable human being who inspires change.”

But things were about to change.

Governor Jeanne Shaheen used her 1999 inaugural address to bring the issue to the forefront.

“We cannot end this century without making Martin Luther King Day a part of the heritage we leave to our children.”

Later that year, lawmakers approved the bill and Governor Shaheen signed it into law at a ceremony in June.

In 2000, New Hampshire recognized its first Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

But that it took so long for the state to recognize the holiday still resonates with some residents.

“It was really strange to me that all the talk was around all these other things, except the real reason was that we really didn’t want to honor a man of color.”

JerriAnne Boggis is the director of the Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail.

She recalls reading every couple years about how the state Legislature had killed another effort to mark the day.

“Finally, when we could say we were the last state in the nation to do it, it was like a sigh of relief. Even my kids said, ‘Oh, finally. You know? We finally did it. It finally happened.”

She says it was important her children live in a state that recognized a man so important to history.

“I think sometimes we as adults tend to forget how kids will respond to that or what lessons they’re learning.”

While New Hampshire was the last state to recognize King by name, the same debate was going on in other states.

In Utah, lawmakers voted in 2000 to officially mark Martin Luther King Day, which up until then had also been known as Human Rights Day.

Also that year, South Carolina made the holiday a paid state holiday; before that, state employees had to choose between Martin Luther King Jr. Day or one of three confederate holidays.

Regardless, those who fought for the recognition in New Hampshire say it was a battle worth fighting.

Executive Councilor Deb Pignatelli sponsored legislation during her time as a state representative, and then as a state senator.

“I wasn’t happy about us being last, but I was pleased that we were at least among the states that passed this, that recognized this extraordinary, nonviolent, peaceful individual.”” 

It is funny that kings most important speech, the I have a dream speech is not what it was meant to be. You see the good reverend had a speech all written out, a text all prepared but as he started speaking you can hear a voice calling out “tell them about the dream martin”, Mahalia Jackson shouted again; “Tell them about the dream”…

“Martin said;

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.'

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

"I Have a Dream" came to be regarded as one of the finest speeches in the history of American oratory.” 

Kings legacy lives on today and there is so much of it that has been slapped in the face…in just this past year the leadership conference on civil and human rights has listed at least 95 times that human right legislation has been rolled back or completely dismissed…in 2020 alone. 

You may think these are not my concern, I suggest you read up something may be affecting you and you do not even know it…such as the White House issued a Statement of Administration Policy opposing H.R. 1230, the Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination act…or the fact that Health care workers may now refuse to be involved with providing services that offend their religious beliefs.

In the united states you are free to hold any religious beliefs you want but now people can discriminate and claim it is based on their religious beliefs…just think about that…

The events of the past few weeks just shows us how far, as a nation, we have to go and how much work as a Christian church we are called to do.

I still believe and lift up Martin Luther kings dream speech his legacy is inspirational and his work is not done.  There are days when I am tired of the fight. There are days I would love to sit back and say I did my time it is time for another to take over but until there is complete equity for all we cannot rest. We cannot allow ourselves to be dismissed nor can we afford to be dismissive. Every voice in the fight for justice needs to be heard and lifted up young or hold form New Hampshire or from Nazareth.

On a last note, I would like to say that I understand that much of these things can cause anxiety. The news can get depressing, frustrating, scary even. That’s where we need to live into, breathe into our spiritual practices. For some that is stillness, for others it is exercise or a hike to connect to nature. We do a lot to move away from our anxiety or to relieve it.

I was just speaking about this with my spiritual director and well, there are times and this may be one of them, we need to be present to the anxiety. We need to acknowledge the fear and the pain. Instead of trying to release it we may need to embody it so that the energy may be transformed into something positive.

Have you ever been so mad or upset about something that the energy ended up being put into whatever you were doing at the moment? Somehow you were sweeping up the kitchen and now the whole house is clean. You get the picture. Sometimes we have to allow ourselves to be frustrated, angry, sad and we need to take that energy, honor it and live into it so that the world may be transformed.

I pray that the fear and the anger and the pain of the past few weeks is honored and transformed as we continue to dream the dream of Martin Luther and all who have followed seeking justice and equity for all people and the planet. Amen



A call to prayer

Holy Mystery, we cannot count your thoughts,

nor can we understand completely

your plan for creation. So we have moments of resistance and fear, moments of concern for ourselves, our loved ones and the world.

You know us more intimately than we know ourselves.

We flourish in the womb of your love.

When you call us on new adventures,

we turn to you with joy,

amazed at your presence. And so we have moments of great Joy when we can clearly see your presence in our world.

Open our hearts to your invitation

and give us the courage to lift our joys and our concerns to you here now. Amen.


Please write your joys and concerns in the comment section and I will lift them up after this hymn



Anthem  here I am Lord

Let us pray the prayer Jesus taught us


Our Creator, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kin-dom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For Thine is the kin-dom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen


Invitation to the Offering

God, you are the source of all goodness and life.

We bring our offering to you this day,

knowing that all we have comes from you.

We hear your call and we answer,

bringing all that we have and all that we are.

Donate Here!


Doxology #778


Offering Prayer

Bless these gifts with your voice of creation,

your healing, and your love, Mighty God.

Use our gifts, our talents, and our bodies

for your work of peace and justice. Amen.

The office is open for regular hours


We are accepting donations for the kidz cupboard and the food pantry




I am available for one on one virtual visits or phone calls if you need any prayer we will be together again one day, but until then remember you are the hands and the feet of our lord in this world and in this world of no physical contact we can still smile, wave, chat, check in


Come we who Love God’s name


 Closing Prayer

Lord, we have listened to your word for us this day. We are grateful for the love of Jesus who takes our burdens and lightens our spirits. Be with us today as we leave this place. May we continue to place our trust in you, for it is in the name of Jesus that we pray. AMEN.


Benediction/Sending Forth

God, who knows us better than we know ourselves,

calls us to follow.

And so we go in Jesus’s name to share the good news of God’s love.

Go in peace, knowing that God loves you.

Follow the call of Love

and go with God’s abundant blessing.

For it is in the listening, that we finally hear this truth:

We are beloved children of God—

created in love, created for love, created to love.

Let us go out there to listen and love.

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