Epiphany 3, Back in the home town of Nazareth, Jan 27, 2019

Title:Epiphany 3, Back in the home town of Nazareth, Jan 27, 2019

 Epiphany 3, Jan. 27, 2019 (full size gallery)

Video is of signs of early spring, the cross and light and shadow within the church.

The music is a verse from “Open your ears, O faithful people” by Willard F. Jabusch, b. 1930 using a Hasidic melody and sung today. Jabusch was educated as a Catholic priest and wrote some 80 hymns and 40 tunes. The music is YISRAEL V’ORAITA (Torah Song). This hymn fits in with the Old Testmane from Nehemiah when Ezra, the priest, read aloud the “book of the law of Moses” (v. 1).

Morning Prayer Jan 27 with generally fair weather. Phil Fitzhugh was the preacher with Catherine recovering from a week of continuing education. His sermon is here. Nancy was the lector and Elizabeth the officiant.

Today’s readings address us as a community rather than a group of individuals. In Nehemiah, we hear the heartfelt response of God’s people as God’s word is read aloud to the community restored from exile. Paul compares the community of the Church to a body, each individual member necessary to the body as a whole. Luke shows Jesus as he begins his ministry by proclaiming God’s word to his hometown community gathered at a synagogue.

In Nehemiah, the books of Ezra, the priest, and Nehemiah, the provincial governor, tell of those who returned from exile after 539 BCE. In a ceremony of recommitment to God’s instructions for covenant life, Ezra reads aloud the “book of the law of Moses” (v. 1), probably an early version of the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Old Testament.

The Torah was not only the story of God’s revelation in history but also the source of divine legislation. After the exile, the Jewish community emphasized that only through more careful obedience to the law would they live sinlessly before God and so prevent another catastrophe like the exile, which they interpreted as God’s judgment on their sinful ways.

In Corinthians the image of the community as a body was a common one in Paul’s day. The Romans used it as a metaphor for the state. Paul uses the image to show that every Christian is necessary to the body and needs the help of others.

Just as people take greater care to cover their “unpresentable parts” (12:23) and treat them with more honor, so Christians are to give particular respect to those they may think are less important members of the community. Paul calls, not for compromise, but for mutual loving concern (12:25) and cooperation for the good of the whole body.

The Gospel places Jesus back in his home town of Nazareth for this first sermon .

For Luke, Jesus’ ministry begins at the direction of the Spirit (4:14). Jesus’ inaugural sermon in his hometown synagogue sets forth the whole meaning of Jesus’ preaching and life. The account is set within the typical synagogue service of the time: recitation of the Shema (“Hear, O Israel…”), prayers, a reading from the Torah, a reading from the prophets, a sermon and a blessing.

Jesus announces himself as the fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah, as the “anointed one,” that is, the expected Messiah or Christ. The liberation he brings is an actual physical liberation as well as one of spiritual forgiveness. He proclaims the “acceptable year of the Lord” (v. 19), the Jubilee year of liberation from debt and slavery and of return to the family. This passage stands as a link between the Old Testament and the work of Christ and the Church.