Sunday, January 31, Epiphany 4

January 31, 2016

‘Oh, it’s only you,’ she said as I walked into the room.  She was awaiting a visit from someone special.

I did not measure up to that expectation – obviously.

In the first lesson God calls Jeremiah to be a spokesperson for God.  The young man replies, ‘I am only a boy’.  He did not see himself being able to measure up to his own expectations re such role, let alone measuring up to God’s.   But even with some of Jeremiah’s shyness, reluctance to speak, and preference to avoid confrontation with people, God called him into service.

How do we feel about God’s call upon our lives?  Do we respond similarly that we are just a ______ or only a _______? 

The measure for service is not our perceived abilities or lack thereof, but God’s grace.   That leaves such servants to marvel at God’s gracious reach because they know it is not them, but God through them for the sake of the world.

For further reflection

When you reflect on your gifts and talents, where are you inclined to say, “I am only ___________?”

How have you been amazed at how God has worked with and through you, despite your self-perceived lack?

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.
Jeremiah 1:4-10
Psalm 71:1-6
1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Luke 4:21-30

SERMON: “Only?”

WORD OF THE WEEK – from Jeremiah 1
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.
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.