Skip to main content

Lectionary Notes for Third Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A

Readings for 3rd Sunday After Epiphany, 1/26:14:
Isaiah 9:1-4, Psalm 27:1, 4-9, 1 Corinthians 1:10-18, Matthew 4:12-23

Isaiah 9:1-4:
  • "The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness - on them light has shined." Great Epiphany language, and ties in with language of Christmas as well - this text just appeared in part on Christmas Eve. 
  • "the yoke . . . you have broken." Can you think/imagine that feeling when you are working with all your energy and then finally get to rest - like taking a break after a long run, or going to bed after a long, long day? This is the kind of image that pops to my mind here - the ultimate release/respite that God will give.
Psalm 27:1, 4-9:
  • "Whom shall I fear?" Here it is again, the fear theme, only now asked as a specific: 'who'. The Psalm suggests that we fear no one when God is our light, a theme echoed elsewhere in the scriptures, such as in the NT where we are encouraged to fear only those who can slay the spirit, but not the body.
  • shelter/conceal/cover/tent - this psalmist desires protection and safety. Like when a little child hides her face in her parents shoulder or legs.
  • "seek [God's] face", "you face, Lord, I seek", "do not hide your face." Maybe today we don't think as much about God's face - we imagine God in a less personified way - at least I do. But seeing God - not God in a bush or God in a messenger - this was a big thing that few experienced in the scriptures. Indeed, probably few of us can say we have seen God's face, right? But it implies a desire for intimacy with God - close relationship - face to face.
1 Corinthians 1:10-18:
  • This is a good text to come in the midst of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.
  • We can certainly take Paul's chastisement of the Corinthians to heart, can't we? Today, the Christian church is perhaps more about levels than ever. I'm a United Methodist. I'm liberal. I'm conservative. I'm Catholic. I'm evangelical. I'm progressive. I'm ordained. I'm laity. Our identifications are very important to us, and I don't mean to minimize them - I'm a fervent UM through and through! But let's not let our unity get squashed under our other identifications.
  • "to proclaim the gospel, not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its power." Hm - we don't think of our eloquent words as diminishing, do we? But sometimes our words get in the way of the heart of the gospel Jesus lived and taught.
Matthew 4:12-23:
  • ah, more of Matthew worrying about things being fulfilled :) He seems to take great comfort in being able to 'prove' how everything came true in Jesus. I guess we need proof too sometimes, our comfort proofs. Note, the passage Matthew quotes is the lectionary selection from Isaiah for this day.
  • Jesus takes up John's message of repentance. Don't forget, the Greek means, literally, "to have a change of mind." A whole attitude adjustment.
  • "immediately" - I love this word in the New Testament. I don't do things immediately, usually. Our society does not do things immediately, even little things. So imagine just packing up, picking up, and following a strange weird man - immediately.
  • Jesus went preaching and teaching and healing. Active work. Gospel-spreading work. Action words. Doing. We need to do as well. To act.


Popular posts from this blog

Sermon, "A Way Forward: Which Way?" Acts 15:1-31

Sermon 2/24/19 Acts 15:1-31 A Way Forward: Which Way?* This morning, as we gather for worship, delegates from the United Methodist Church around the world are gathered in St. Louis for the Special Session of General Conference. The Conference officially began yesterday, with delegates and bishops and visitors coming together for a day of prayer. Today, the legislative session will begin. They will do their work from today through Tuesday, the 26th. The Special Session is meeting to hear the report of a body that the last General Conference, General Conference 2016 created: The Commission on a Way Forward. Delegates who gathered in 2016 expressed to the Council of Bishops their desire to find some way to move forward as a denomination in light of our enduring disagreements over same-sex relationships and church practices. And the Council of Bishops, in turn, created the Commission to present possible plans for action to this specially called General Conference. Here’s what th

Sermon for the First Sunday in Advent, "Hope: A Thrill of Hope," Mark 1:1-8

Sermon 11/26/17 Mark 1:1-8 Hope: A Thrill of Hope             Are you a pessimist or an optimist? Is the glass of life half empty, or half full? My mom and I have gone back and forth about this a bit over the years. She’s wildly optimistic about most things, and sometimes I would say her optimism, her hopefulness borders on the irrational. If the weather forecast says there’s a 70% chance of a snowstorm coming, my mom will focus very seriously on that 30% chance that it is going to be a nice day after all. I, meanwhile, will begin adjusting my travel plans and making a backup plan for the day. My mom says I’m a pessimist, but I would argue that I’m simply a realist , trying to prepare for the thing that is most likely to happen, whether I like that thing or not. My mom, however, says she doesn’t want to be disappointed twice, both by thinking something bad is going to happen, and then by having the bad thing actually happen. She’d rather be hopeful, and enjoy her state of

Sermon for Second Sunday in Advent, "Peace: All Is Calm, All Is Bright," Isaiah 11:1-10, Mark 13:24-37

Sermon 12/3/17 Mark 13:24-37, Isaiah 11:1-10 Peace: All Is Calm, All Is Bright             “Silent night, holy night. All is calm, all is bright. Round yon’ virgin mother and child. Holy infant, so tender and mild. Sleep in heavenly peace. Sleep in heavenly peace.”             This week, I read news stories about North Korea testing a missile that perhaps could reach across the whole of the United States.             This week, I spoke with a colleague in ministry who had, like all churches in our conference, received from our church insurance company information about how to respond in an active shooter situation. She was trying to figure out how to respond to anxious parishioners and yet not get caught up in spending all of their ministry time on creating safety plans.             This week, we’ve continued to hear stories from people who have experienced sexual assault and harassment, as the actions, sometimes over decades, of men in positions of power have been