EPIPHANY 3

SUNDAY, JANUARY 27, 2019
THIRD SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY

THOUGHT OF THE WEEK

Welcome back, students, as second semester classes begin!

In the winter how do you to keep the joints limber, the muscles strong, the mind facile, and the spirit vital?

Many people not only enjoy but look forward to winter so they can ski, snowboard, and snow shoe.  I am not one of those winter sports enthusiasts.  But I do shovel and continue to walk outdoors, while lifting and running indoors.

The second lesson appointed for this Sunday presents the familiar image of the God’s people as a body – which is designed to have cooperation from all the diverse parts in order to function well.  But in the context of the lesson some body parts think they are better and more important than other parts.  This results in dysfunction.  The ‘body’ does not move as designed and intended. 

As absurd as the illustration is when eyes fight with ears about roles and belonging, we know the Body of Christ [or the Body politic or the Body of the family] can exhibit some of the same absurd behavior.  Whether between denominations or within the local faith community, such lifting up of self by some can result in the body not working as well as intended, including the diminishment or exclusion of some.

Our Lenten theme this year will accent this sense of taking care of the Body.  For now, let us hear and digest the challenging absurdity.  And let us see and name – and correct – the absurdity when it occurs in our experience.

PRAYER OF THE DAY

Blessed Lord God, you have caused the holy scriptures to be written for the nourishment of your people. Grant that we may hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that comforted by your promises, we may embrace and forever hold fast to the hope of eternal life; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

LESSONS AND PSALM
Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10
Psalm 19
1 Corinthians 12:12-31a

Luke 4:14-21

CHILDREN’S SERMON: “Body Building”

SERMON: “Why Scripture?”

WORD OF THE WEEK – from Luke 4
18"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
                        because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.
            He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
                        and recovery of sight to the blind,
                                    to let the oppressed go free,
            19to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."
20And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21Then he began to say to them, "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."
 
FIRST LESSON from Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10
When the seventh month came--the people of Israel being settled in their towns--1all the people gathered together into the square before the Water Gate. They told the scribe Ezra to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the LORD had given to Israel. 2Accordingly, the priest Ezra brought the law before the assembly, both men and women and all who could hear with understanding. This was on the first day of the seventh month. 3He read from it facing the square before the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of the men and the women and those who could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive to the book of the law. 5And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was standing above all the people; and when he opened it, all the people stood up. 6Then Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God, and all the people answered, "Amen, Amen," lifting up their hands. Then they bowed their heads and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground. 8So they read from the book, from the law of God, with interpretation. They gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.

            9And Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, "This day is holy to the LORD your God; do not mourn or weep." For all the people wept when they heard the words of the law. 10Then he said to them, "Go your way, eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions of them to those for whom nothing is prepared, for this day is holy to our LORD; and do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength."

SECOND LESSON from 1 Corinthians 12:12-31a
For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body--Jews or Greeks, slaves or free--and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.
            14Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15If the foot would say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16And if the ear would say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20As it is, there are many members, yet one body. 21The eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you," nor again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you." 22On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23and those members of the body that we think less honorable we clothe with greater honor, and our less respectable members are treated with greater respect; 24whereas our more respectable members do not need this. But God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior member, 25that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. 26If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it.

            27Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 28And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers; then deeds of power, then gifts of healing, forms of assistance, forms of leadership, various kinds of tongues. 29Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? 31But strive for the greater gifts.

THE HOLY GOSPEL according to Luke 4:14-21
Then Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country. 15He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone.
            16When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:
            18"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
                        because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.
            He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
                        and recovery of sight to the blind,
                                    to let the oppressed go free,
            19to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."

20And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21Then he began to say to them, "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 2019
FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY
THOUGHT OF THE WEEK

We are roughly half way between winter solstice and spring equinox.  How are you holding up?  Need a little more warmth?  How about a little more light? 

In the northern hemisphere (where the church calendar obviously originated), the church’s Epiphany season corresponds to our meteorological days increasing in light.  Apologies to the Christian people in the southern hemisphere as their seasonal experience is 180 degrees different from the church calendar:  Christmas at the height of summer and Easter in early Fall. 

On February 2 church calendars observe Candlemas, a blessing of candles and a celebration of the growing light.  February 2 is also Ground Hog Day, when predictions are made about how much more cold weather is in front of us. 

But cold and darkness come in many forms beyond climate.  They can come in our relationships.  That familiar and much-proclaimed-at-weddings passage from I Corinthians about love was not written about marriage and romantic love.  It was written to a badly divided community of faith.  Some in that community thought they were better than others, had more valuable or higher gifts, or had superior practices.  All that made them more worthy – at least, in their own eyes. 

Such a sense can bring more coldness than warmth, more darkness than light.  And the winter continues.

Paul suggests that true love is not leverage to lift oneself up over others.  Rather true love in the Kingdom of God is about loving what/who God loves, unconditionally.  True love is getting out of self to care for the other.  Not boastful, not arrogant, not rude, but patient and kind.

No, we are not yet at such a summer vision.  But we have the vision of where God is leading.

If you are trying to figure out what to be in these cold, dark days, this lesson suggests: be loving, be kind.  Reflect the Light.

PRAYER OF THE DAY
Almighty and ever-living God, increase in us the gifts of faith, hope, and love; and that we may obtain what you promise, make us love what you command, through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.
 
LESSONS AND PSALM
Jeremiah 1:4-10
Psalm 71:1-6
1 Corinthians 13:1-13

Luke 4:21-30

CHILDREN’S SERMON:  “Only”

SERMON: “Advice for a divided community”

WORD OF THE WEEK – I Corinthians 13

4Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant 5or rude. 6It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. 7It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. . . .13And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.

FIRST LESSON from Jeremiah 1:4-10
Now the word of the LORD came to me saying,
            5"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
            and before you were born I consecrated you;
            I appointed you a prophet to the nations."
6Then I said, "Ah, Lord GOD! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy." 7But the LORD said to me,
            "Do not say, 'I am only a boy';
            for you shall go to all to whom I send you,
            and you shall speak whatever I command you.
            8Do not be afraid of them,
            for I am with you to deliver you,
            says the LORD."
9Then the LORD put out his hand and touched my mouth; and the LORD said to me,
            "Now I have put my words in your mouth.
            10See, today I appoint you over nations and over kingdoms,
            to pluck up and to pull down,
            to destroy and to overthrow,

            to build and to plant."

SECOND LESSON from 1 Corinthians 13:1-13
If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
            4Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant 5or rude. 6It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. 7It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. 9For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; 10but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. 11When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. 12For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. 13And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.

THE HOLY GOSPEL according to Luke 4:21-30
Then [Jesus] began to say to all in the synagogue in Nazareth, "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing." 22All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They said, "Is not this Joseph's son?" 23He said to them, "Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, 'Doctor, cure yourself!' And you will say, 'Do here also in your hometown the things that we have heard you did at Capernaum.' " 24And he said, "Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet's hometown. 25But the truth is, there were many widows in Israel in the time of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a severe famine over all the land; 26yet Elijah was sent to none of them except to a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. 27There were also many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian."

            28When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage. 29They got up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they might hurl him off the cliff. 30But he passed through the midst of them and went on his way.