Planning for the Second Sunday after the Epiphany

Posted by Andrew R. Jones on Dec 4, 2017 7:30:00 AM

Planning for the Second Sunday after the Epiphany

Learn more about the readings, music, and worship-service planning helps for the Second Sunday after the Epiphany.

Season & Preparations

As has been noted in previous weeks, the season of Epiphany is a time of the Church Year that unveils who Jesus is as the Son of God, Messiah, and Light of the world. It is a season of revelation and light, of God manifesting Himself to the world through His Son.

The season of Epiphany uses the color green, which you will need to switch to for Epiphany 2. Green will be the color for four weeks. We switch to white on Transfiguration Sunday, when Jesus gives an overwhelming glimpse of His beauty and glory to Peter, James, and John.

Each week of the season will provide further glimpses into who Jesus is and why He has come into the world. It is a season that can vary greatly in length depending on the date of Easter. Epiphany can have as many as nine Sundays, but in 2018 there are only six.

Readings & Theme

The Old Testament Reading, from 1 Samuel 3, records the calling of Samuel to be a prophet of the Lord. God reveals Himself to Samuel and calls this boy to be a prophet of great significance, the prophet who anoints Saul and David as kings of Israel.

The Gospel, from John 1, records Jesus calling Philip and Nathanael to follow Him. Nathanael is skeptical about Jesus, asking the question, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (v. 46). Philip invites Nathanael to “come and see” (v. 46). This is the invitation to everyone in the Epiphany season. Come and see what God will do. Come and see who Jesus is. Come and see all that God will reveal. Jesus reveals to Nathanael what He has seen: Nathanael sitting under the fig tree. This causes Nathanael to call Jesus “Son of God” and “King of Israel” (v. 49). Jesus assures Nathanael that he will see greater things than this.

The Epistle readings for the next four weeks will be from 1 Corinthians 6–9. This means that each Sunday’s Epistle may not line up with the themes for the week or the season. In this week’s reading, from 1 Corinthians 6, Paul encourages the Corinthians to glorify God with their bodies by fleeing from sexual immorality. Paul writes, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price” (vv. 19–20).

One may connect these three readings by focusing on how they discuss the presence of God. In 1 Samuel 3, God’s presence is revealed to Samuel, and Samuel is called as a prophet. In John 1, Jesus reveals Himself to Philip and Nathanael, and they begin to realize who Jesus is. He is God with us. He is the Son of God and King of Israel. He is the one about whom the Law and the Prophets testify. And in the Epistle, Paul reveals that our bodies are temples, dwelling places of the Holy Spirit. God is present with us in His Spirit.

Hymns & Music

The Hymn of the Day is “The Only Son from Heaven” (LSB 402). This Reformation-era hymn hits on the themes of the day and of the Epiphany season: light, revelation, and God’s presence. Other hymns from the Epiphany section are still appropriate, but they will often focus on specific events (the Magi visit, the Baptism of Jesus, etc.). The Epiphany season is a good time to look at other sections of the hymnal. “Speak, O Lord, Your Servant Listens” (LSB 589) fits well with the Old Testament Reading. “God Himself Is Present” (LSB 907) and “Lord, Open Now My Heart to Hear” (LSB 908) may work well as opening hymns or during the Lord’s Supper.

The hymn that might best bring today’s readings together is “‘Come, Follow Me,’ the Savior Spake” (LSB 688). There is a call to follow Jesus in stanza 1, the revealing that He is the light in stanza 2, and an encouragement to shun and flee what harms us in stanza 4.

Additional Resources for Worship & Study

The Arch Book The Lord Calls Samuel may be a helpful resource for sharing the story with children. Also, if you plan to work with 1 Corinthians through the Epiphany season, Gregory Lockwood’s Concordia Commentary: 1 Corinthians should prove useful.

Looking for additional information on planning for the Second Sunday after the Epiphany? Download our planning sheet to help you get started!

Download Epiphany 2 Planning Sheet


Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Tags: Epiphany Season, Service Planning