Sunday, January 17, 2016 - Epiphany 2

January 17, 2016
SECOND SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY
THOUGHT OF THE WEEK

This week’s thought begins with one of my prejudicial perspectives about contemporary Christianity.  I believe it is way too focused on the individual and on the individual person’s relationship with God.  Faith becomes a journey mainly of me-and-Jesus.    I find that to be kind of a sinful, self-focused reinterpretation of God’s great grace and love that, John declares, was given for the world!

The second lesson appointed for this Sunday may have attempted to address a similar misreading and practice in the early church.  Apparently people began to sort themselves out in pecking order fashion about the importance of their own individual gifts and talents.  A hierarchy of gifts began to emerge:  you can only fix a pipe but I can read and sing. Therefore,  I have a higher gift than you.

Corinth was a crossroads of the ancient Mediterranean.  People thought, believed, practiced differently.  Very individualized. 

Paul writes to nudge the Christians in such a context not to conform to the cultural norm of such individualization as an expression of their Christianity.  He writes about the health of the whole Body. He write there are different gifts, activities, and services.  But God gives them all ‘for the common good’, not for individual aggrandizement. 

Any version of Christian community is both most healthy and most faithful when it’s concern is about the whole body: congregation, neighborhood, world. 

For further reflection:
For you what is the heart or core of the Christian message?
What is the place or role of community or  in your understanding of Christianity?
 
PRAYER OF THE DAY

Lord God, source of every blessing, you showed forth your glory and led many to faith by the works of your Son, who brought gladness and salvation to his people. Transform us by the Spirit of his love, that we may find our life together in him, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.  Amen.

LESSONS AND PSALM
Isaiah 62:1-5
Psalm 36:5-10
1 Corinthians 12:1-11
John 2:1-11

 

CHILDREN’S SERMON: “Silent”

SERMON: “One and the Same for the Common Good”

WORD OF THE WEEK -  from I Corinthians 12

4Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; 6and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. 7To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

FIRST LESSON from Isaiah 62:1-5
For Zion's sake I will not keep silent,
            and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest,
until her vindication shines out like the dawn,
            and her salvation like a burning torch.
2The nations shall see your vindication,
            and all the kings your glory;
and you shall be called by a new name
            that the mouth of the LORD will give.
3You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD,
            and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
4You shall no more be termed Forsaken,
            and your land shall no more be termed Desolate;
but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her,
            and your land Married;
for the LORD delights in you,
            and your land shall be married.
5For as a young man marries a young woman,
            so shall your builder marry you,
and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,

            so shall your God rejoice over you.

SECOND LESSON from 1 Corinthians 12:1-11
Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. 2You know that when you were pagans, you were enticed and led astray to idols that could not speak. 3Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking by the Spirit of God ever says "Let Jesus be cursed!" and no one can say "Jesus is Lord" except by the Holy Spirit.

            4Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; 6and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. 7To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses.

THE HOLY GOSPEL according to John 2:1-11

On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, "They have no wine." 4And Jesus said to her, "Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come." 5His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you."

            6Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. 7Jesus said to them, "Fill the jars with water." And they filled them up to the brim. 8He said to them, "Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward." So they took it. 9When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom 10and said to him, "Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now." 11Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.