Epiphany 5 – Feb. 10, 2019

Title:Epiphany 5 – Feb. 10, 2019

 Epiphany 5, Feb. 10, 2019 (full size gallery)

We collected $210 for Souper Bowl Sunday on Feb. 3 compared to $175 and $125 for the previous two collections. We have been involved in the program since 2012 and we have collected $1.3K during that time.

On Tuesday, Feb. 5 the ECW took dinner to the “House” at 820 College Avenue across from Trinity. This is a combined Episcopal/Lutheran Ministry led by the Rev. David Casey. It is supported by three churches – St. George’s, Trinity and Christ Lutheran. On Tuesday they invite groups to prepare dinner for the youth/young adult congregation.

A day later Bible study became “EFM”, eating for ministry with a cake baked by Brad for Helmut’s birthday.

It was a colder, more seasonal Sunday in winter, a mostly sunny day. Ducks were migrating down the Rappahannock River. The Lenten roses were beginning to bloom 3 weeks early. We covered chapters 5-8 in our Romans class with 8 people attending at 10am.

We had 41 this Sunday at the 11am service. We celebrated 8 peoples’ birthdays coming up in the next week! Amazing! After the service there was altar guild training.

After the Gospel reading, Catherine had the children pick out images from the Gospel on her stoll, including a boat and fish. It was a gift from Ron Okrasinski.

The sermon explored the call of 3 people but concentrated on Peter. “The four most important words that you can ever say in this life are ‘Here I am, Lord.’ In today’s scriptures we hear about three people who placed their lives in God’s hands—Isaiah, Paul, and Peter.

Key takeaways:

1. “Peter’s boat was available because Peter was taking a break from work.
One way we make ourselves available to God is to take a break from work and spend some time in prayer. The time we set aside to spend in prayer, to clean the metaphorical nets of our lives, that time of prayer in which our boats are resting on the shore—Jesus can get into our boats when we are at prayer.

2. “Peter gets to hear Jesus teaching– every word!
This part gives us the second thing to remember for ourselves from this story– Peter got to hear Jesus teaching as he sat in the boat with Jesus. The words he heard must have convinced him that he should go ahead and do what Jesus asked of him next. That’s the power of paying attention to God’s word—the importance of spending undistracted time with scripture, to truly listen to what God, and particularly Jesus himself, is saying in scripture—the Bible is the living word.

3. “Jesus doesn’t tell Peter about anything that will happen next. Jesus simply makes a request that Peter must decide about without knowing what the results will be. When God asks us to put out into the deep, God is not going to lay out what happens next for us either…. If we do what God asks, then God will help us do what God has asked. And God will help us abundantly!

4. “Being in God’s abundant and life giving presence puts our own lives into perspective. We are truly dust, and to dust we shall return. We are imperfect human beings. When we stand in the presence of God, the light of God’s presence makes our imperfections and faults glaringly obvious. But God won’t go away from us because we’re sinful, or imperfect, or whatever word you want to use. Instead, God takes us as we are and summons out who we will become through God’s redeeming love for each one of us.”

The readings for this Sunday explore several persons of faith who have answered God’s call to them. The Old Testament recounts the call of Isaiah as god’s prophet and his response. Paul summarizes the gospel and reminds the Corinthians of their calling through the resurrected Christ. In the gospel, we read how Jesus calls Peter to be his disciple.

In the Old Testament reading, Isaiah 6:1-8, [9-13], Isaiah experienced his call to be a prophet in the temple at Jerusalem. He saw a vision of the Lord enthroned amidst the divine council in the setting of the temple at Jerusalem.

The triple repetition of holy emphasizes the awesome, unapproachable quality of the divine. Isaiah responds to the experience of God’s holiness with a sense of profound sinfulness, not only his own but that of all the people. He is granted cleansing and healing grace through the coal from the altar, so that he may proclaim God’s word to the people.

The New Testament continues from 1 Corinthians 15:1-11. In preparation for discussing the resurrection of the dead (15:12), Paul reminds the Corinthians of their common ground of belief. By quoting a traditional formulation of the essential proclamation about Christ (15:3-5), he recalls the basic creedal statements he taught them.

Which particular “scriptures” (that is, of the Old Testament) Paul means in verses 3 and 4 is not explicit. In general the statement “in accordance with the scriptures” expresses the conviction that these events took place according to God’s purpose. It was, however, the religious experience of the early Christians, not merely the evidence of the Old Testament, that shaped their belief.

Paul’s list of resurrection appearances can only tentatively be tallied with those in the gospel accounts. Finally, Paul lists the Lord’s appearance to him, “as to one untimely born” (v. 8), perhaps referring to Paul’s belated revelation, or perhaps taking up a term of abuse applied to him by others. But whatever Paul’s defects or his gifts, he preaches the same gospel as the other apostles, the same gospel that the Corinthians accepted.

The Gospel from Luke 5:1-11 tells the story of Peter’s conversion. After a night of poor fishing, Peter receives Jesus assistance that he should put his nets out once again. This time “they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break.” Aware of God’s power at work in Jesus, Peter leaves everything to follow him (v. 11).

The enormous catch prefigures his missionary success. Jesus reveals the conditions for following him. First, “Do not be afraid” (v. 10). In the gospels, fear is the opposite of the basic trust that we identify as faith. Faith is the trust in another person that serves as the bond (Latin, fides) of a relationship. Because of that bond, we are willing to change our lives.

Second, Jesus indicates how Peter’s life will change. Instead of luring fish into a net, Peter’s new job will be “fishing” for people to bring them into the net of Jesus’ kingdom community.