I'm a few days behind in my blogging (and everything else =). We had a really nice Christmas and enjoyed quality time with my 3 year old daughter whose preschool was out for the Winter Break. Now to catch up!
During the time just before Epiphany up until the last Sunday of Epiphany, I'm going to be blogging on the Lectionary texts for each week. I invite any reflections or comments...and, with permission, they might make their way into my sermon for the week.
The first three texts for this week come from Isaiah 60: 1-6, Psalm 71: 1-7, 10-14 and Ephesians 3: 1-12. The three texts lead to the beginning of Epiphany this Sunday--Epiphany being the commemoration of the revelation of Jesus to humanity, particularly to the Magi.
When reading the Scriptures for this week, it is easy to see why these three (and Matthew which we'll discuss tomorrow) are chosen. There are words like kings, camels, frankincense, the revelation of God's mystery to the Gentiles...Though each of these passages was written within a specific historical context, to a specific people in a specific situation, they certainly speak to us in the rhythm of our church year.
I like the title for Isaiah 60: 1-6--The Ingathering of the Dispersed. The text speaks to the exiled Israelites, but in the context of Epiphany, could the Ingathering be of the Gentiles or other "outsiders" to Christianity? What about those who are not officially members of the church--does the church matter to them? Is the church a place of ingathering for those who have been disenfranchised? Or is it a place only for those with membership privileges?
Psalm 72: 1-7; 10-14 is entitled, "Prayer for Guidance and for Support for the King." As I ponder what those words mean to us today, they seem so relevant. God reigns in our life, but we have heads of state, presidents, prime ministers, who hold a lot of power and make decisions that affect millions of lives. Why would we not pray for those in power and pray with a fervor they would be just...that they would remember the poor and needy...that they would be more than politicians, but compassionate human beings? Perhaps it is too far fetched of a thing to hope for in those who have so much power, but as a people of faith we hope for that which seems impossible.
Ephesians 3: 1-12 carries the theme of revelation to humanity--in particular, to the Gentiles through the Apostle Paul. The words that strike me here are: "I have become a servant." What does it mean to be a servant? Is it attending church on a Sunday? Is it sharing encouraging words with family and friends? Is it feeding the hungry or clothing the naked? Is it spreading the news about Christ to strangers? How does servanthood take shape for us individually and corporately as church and to what end?
I look forward to sharing in discussions with you.