Second Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A

Title:Second Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A

 Second Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A, Jan. 19, 2020 (full size gallery)

The Sunday was the Parish Meeting, Congregational Meeting, Annual Meeting – it can go by many names. The reports from leadership and groups are here. Over the last few years this online format has been used as opposed to reading them during the meeting.

The meeting has been held separately from the service, integrated in the middle, or at the end. This  year it was at the time of the announcements and we elected two Vestry members – Becky Fisher and Andrea Pogue to replace outgoing Rob Dobson and Bill Wick.

Usually during Parish Meetings you concentrate on the recent past. Today we spotlighted a new ministry. The special part of the meeting was Dave and Arthur Duke talk about their metal detecting at St. Peter’s. They displayed some objects a coin from World War II, a kilt pin and a ring among others. We have a video on it.

In Christian Ed, Catherine led the group in Genesis, Chapter 3 about the servant. The Powerpoint used is here.

This week’s readings of Epiphany 2 invite us to reflect on the themes of Jesus’ public ministry. Isaiah tells how God works through a chosen servant to bring salvation to all. Paul rejoices in our common fellowship in God’s own anointed, the Christ. Jesus’ public ministry begins as two of John the Baptist’s disciples heed their teacher’s testimony and choose to follow Jesus.

The Old Testament reading was from Isaiah. He testifies that his vocation was established before birth, and that his mission is not to Israel alone, but to the Gentile nations as well. This sense of the new Israel was appropriated by the Church (Acts 13:47, 26:23).

The Gospel of John witnesses to Jesus by conferring on him a set of titles, the first being "the Lamb of God" (v. 29) also points back to Isaiah. For the author, this term points to the suffering servant of Isaiah and to the Passover lamb as a symbol for the death of Christ. In submitting to baptism, Jesus marks his vocation to an atoning death.

The Isaiah reading contains the job description of Jesus. “God made my mouth like a sharp sword, in the shadow of his hand God hid me; God made me a polished arrow, and hid me away in God’s quiver.”

"Prophets have these mouths like sharp swords. Prophets speak truth to power because God has called them, most of the time over their objections, to speak the truth to someone who is not going to want to hear it. And so when they speak, their mouths become sharp swords to those who don’t want to listen."  Not everyone can fulfill that role. The sermon used the example of Moses who was reluctant to be that voice.

"And this is such an important message today for us, who are called by God to be God’s servants, as well as an important message for society in general."

"God’s salvation is about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, but the result of that relationship each one of us has with our Lord and Savior, if the relationship is a living and growing relationship, will produce the words and the light in our lives that will help to bring God’s salvation to the ends of the earth. 

"Summed up handily in our baptismal vows—our personal relationships with God give us a story to tell and work to do–bringing God’s salvation out into the world–to proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ by seeking and serving Christ in all persons, by loving our neighbors as ourselves, by striving for justice and peace among all people, and by respecting the dignity of every human being."

"Isaiah goes on to say that God tells the servant that he (or she) will be deeply despised, abhorred by the nations, and the slave of rulers.But down the road, the truth will come out. God is faithful, and God has chosen each one of us to be God’s prophets. "

"Tomorrow the nation pauses to celebrate Martin Luther King Day. Martin Luther King was a modern-day prophet whose mouth was like a sharp sword to those who enforced racist laws and to those who supported those laws all over this country. He was assassinated because he was God’s prophet.

One of his most profound sayings was this – “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” which was part of a 1957 sermon and also quoted in his book Strength to Love

"And yet, Martin Luther King’s words have put a new song in our mouths as we Christians continue, by fits and starts, to work for racial equality in this country