Epiphany 3, Calling of Disciples

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Title:Epiphany 3, Calling of Disciples

 Jan. 22, 2017, Call of Disciples (full size gallery)

 

The Village Harvest was this past Wed., Jan 18. We served 145 people whichs compares with 88 in January, 2016 and 65 in January, 2015. It is the second largest month in this ministry’s history behind Nov. 2016.

The weather turned cloudy and rainy after Thursday through Sunday. There was fog along the river. Nature provided an interesting set of textures along St. Peter’s property.   

Today’s readings have a theme of urgency and repentance culminate in Matthew’s account of Jesus beginning his ministry. Isaiah proclaims a new time of restoration. Paul pleads that followers of Christ set aside any differences for the sake of their common calling. Jesus begins his public ministry by preaching repentance, calling for discipleship and healing the sick.

Matthew’s account of the beginning of Jesus’ ministry includes Jesus’ journey into Galilee, a statement of the meaning of Jesus’ ministry, the call of the first disciples and a summary of Jesus’ activity.

The Isaiah citation in verses 15-16 was originally written in a context of messianic hope as Galilee faced conquest by the Assyrians in 732 B.C. This defeat for Israel meant that the native Israelites were exiled and foreign populations resettled there, thus allowing the region to be described as "Galilee of the Gentiles" (v. 4). In Jesus’ time it was heavily influenced by non-Jewish culture and religion.

In Matthew Jesus announces that the long period of expectation is completed. The reign of God is a present reality but will only be realized fully in the age to come. The response he expects is repentance, literally turning around, and so a description of the entire reorientation of one’s whole being as illustrated by the call of the first disciples.

The first apostles must have felt something of that enthusiasm as Jesus called to them by the sea. He must have been a compelling person; their encounter with him changed their lives forever. The disciples would soon hear stunningly good news preached; they would observe miserable diseases cured. They discovered in short order that Jesus would not simply hand down beautiful teachings abstracted from his surroundings. He would touch people in their affliction; he would make their pain his own. His goal was not self-aggrandizement; Jesus sought to make the wounded whole.

In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, some of the early wonder seems to have worn off 30 years later. The cohesion of the first followers and their close connection to Christ seems to have disintegrated into squabbling factions. Paul attempts to recall them to that early sense of engagement with the person of Christ and his cause. He appeals to the Corinthians to be of one mind and judgment, rather than divided into groups, each with its own label. Paul tactfully centers his criticisms on his own partisans. They have not been baptized in the name of Paul but in the name of Jesus Christ, to which name Paul has already appealed as the grounds for unity.

We had 40 today. The sermon used the Psalm 27 " The Lord is my light and my salvation;
 whom then shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom then shall I be afraid?" to demonstrate the support of the Lord for David and then Jesus finding disciples in Galilee as he started his ministry.  Jesus’ light encourage two sets of fishermen to abandon their families and professions to follow Jesus. The Psalm was the subject of hymn 58 from "Lift Every Voice and Sing" which Catherine played during the sermon accompanied by two of the children.

 

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