Illumination, Revelation, Transformation, by Patricia Tull
Excerpt: Since Lent does not begin until March 2019, the season of Epiphany that begins on January 6 is one of the longest possible in the liturgical year, stretching throughout the months of January and February. This long winter hiatus between the holiday seasons offers an excellent moment to reflect on such themes of Epiphany in relation to the earth as illumination, revelation, transformation.
Complete Article: https://www.workingpreacher.org/craft.aspx?post=5268
Creation as our Neighbor, by Dennis Ormseth
Excerpt: While the “programmatic prophecy” provided strong encouragement for care of creation as represented by the promise of the Jubilee year, this “prophetic rejection” is also highly instructive as to difficulties a congregation might encounters in advancing the cause of creation care today.
New love in the world, by Keith Innes
Ezekiel was shown that the glory of the Lord would again fill the Temple as in days past (Ezekiel 43:27 44.4). The purpose of the Lord’s presence in this House was that the glory of God might be known throughout the earth (Psalm 48:9). But when the Lord came to the Temple, he came in the form of a babe in arms, through whom the light of God would be available to all nations (Luke 2:31-32) and a new love released in the world (I Corinthians 13). If this glory has been thus revealed on earth, the earth is hallowed, henceforth to be treated with great reverence.
Membership, by Tom Mundahl
Excerpt: In a talk entitled “Health is Membership,” occasioned by seeing his brother go through open-heart surgery, Wendell Berry said, “Like divine love, earthly love seeks plenitude; it longs for the full membership to be present and to be joined” (“Conference on Spirituality and Healing,” Louisville, KY, Oct. 17, 1994)). This week’s readings provide insight into the meaning of “membership” in a community of life that always seems to be pressing the boundaries that humankind erects.
Complete Article: https://lutheransrestoringcreation.org/4th-sunday-after-epiphany-2016/
On Jeremiah, by the Rev. Wanda Copeland
Jeremiah is overwhelmed that God would designate him as one to speak God’s prophetic word to the people. His first words are “Ah, Lord God! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy” (v. 6). Jeremiah was convinced of his inadequacy because of his age, his inexperience, his lack of knowledge. How could he do something as important as deliver God’s message? God gives Jeremiah the answer: “Do not say, ‘I am only a boy’ … Do not be afraid … for I am with you to deliver you.” (v. 6-7).
God has a unqiue message written in our hears and souls that only we can deliver. Is God calling you to speak out on behalf of the creation? Has God called you to proclaim over the Gospel of covenant God made with all the earth since the beginning?
“Do not say, ‘I am [inadequate]’.” “God will be with you.”
On Luke 4, by John G. Gibbs, PhD
According to Luke, Jesus’ mission carries out what the expected Messiah was to do. (Matthew 11:4-5 agrees.) Jesus aligned himself with the prophetic movement when he claimed: Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.
Fred Craddock remarks that “in Luke’s Gospel, the first public word of Jesus as an adult, apart from reading Scripture, is ‘today.’ …Those changes [which we observed last Sunday in Luke 4:14-20] for the poor and the wronged and the oppressed will occur today. This is the beginning of jubilee. The time of God is today…” (Craddock, Luke in the Interpretation commentary series, John Knox Press, 1990; p. 62)
Jesus’ comments on the Isaiah text were at first received as “gracious words.” That is, they were so received until their full import sank in. The “righteous man” in the Judaism of Jesus’ day would, of course, do those things Isaiah attributed to the Spirit of the Lord’s influence in human affairs. The synagogue in Nazareth had no problem with that.
However, the radical inclusion of foreigners beyond the confines of “God’s People” (narrowly defined as only themselves) filled the synagogue “with rage.” It’s ok; in fact, it is mandated for us to take care of our own. Some even say “charity begins at home.” The Elijah and Elisha tradition, on the other hand, knew the wide scope of “the Lord’s favor,” and acted on that certainty. Charity must not end at home.
Trajectories no doubt flow in many directions from this inclusive gospel. One of the gospel’s trajectories is toward care of creation and support for those who have been damaged (some even to the point of death) by our misuse of God’s gifts in the creation. The gospel of God’s favor does not change when it goes through the church doors out into the world.
The gospel’s integrity is at stake when Church meets world. The same inclusiveness and care for outcasts that persists within the holy community characterizes that community’s life in the world among all creatures on planet earth. At stake is the persistence of God’s creative and re-creative grace everywhere, especially insofar as we in church and synagogue are called to give it “actionable” expression.
Finally notice this, which Craddock pungently states: “…Jesus does not go elsewhere because he is rejected; he is rejected because he goes elsewhere” (p. 64). The Nazareth rejection foreshadows the rejection at Golgotha, and the obstacles that the Church has faced ever since. The refusal to face the facts of climate change stands in that unholy tradition of opposition to God’s purpose to maintain the creation in its “goodness.”