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Sunday, January 31, 2016

Third Sunday After Epiphany: Job Description

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The blizzard (photo by Zejlko Mirkovic)


It is the morning after the blizzard. Public transportation has resumed. Still the snow is deep, I’m not expecting many to brave the snow and cold, though the sun s shining, reflecting off the blanket of white.

Last night was the last night of Antigona, by Noche Flamenca. Marking a real artistic achievement. As I told the cast, we have had a vision   of making this a place where dreams come true. And they have done that.  Extra special because of the blizzard. When I was at work yesterday, about every two minutes, I was answering a question about whether the show was still or not. (One call literally said because of the gizzard..) Some angry, some excited. The idea was that the show would be performed for whoever showed up.
The show would go on....
And the house was about 2/3 full…

The night was eerily beautiful and quiet.  No buses, traffic noises. People walking ..or skiing …up the street…pulling children on sleds..

Why was the response to the storm so dramatic? As Gary Greengraas said yesterday, when I was a kid, we called this winter..

In our reflections, we’ve had a dual agenda for these last few weeks…watching Jesus learn and grow and looking at the content of our ministry.

We’ve had Jesus in the temple as a boy, Jesus getting baptized and leaving his old life behind, Jesus at the wedding pushed by his mother to perform a miracle. Now Jesus preaching his first sermon. That sermon will announce his self-understanding, his job description, and in this, what the content of our ministry must be.

He reads from the scroll of Isiaah:
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, 19to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." 

But when you look at the original,Isaiah, you’ll notice there’s one difference…Isiaah includes this:
and the day of vengeance of our God;

Jesus has removed vengeance from the equation. (Like in the Revenant, Hugh Glass remembers the Native American saying that revenge belonged to the creator…)

Jesus Is not here to  start a new religion, or messianic revolution. This messianic era, which he inaugurates, will be of a different nature. And as he says, it has already begun…Someone in my clergy study group pointed out that this is Jesus’ magnificat, his version of Mary’s song which has that same declaration and affirmation of alreadyness… perhaps he heard it as a child…

Our ministry, which we receive at our baptism, and the character of our community is rooted in Jesus’ job description. This is the greater good to which our many gifts are to be used.

But there is also this…
22On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23and those members of the body that we think less honorable we clothe with greater honor, and our less respectable members are treated with greater respect; 24whereas our more respectable members do not need this. But God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior member, 25that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. 26If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it.

That is the real challenge…especially moving it beyond platitude to reality…

In the end, we are all in this together….

As we discuss the passage, Marsha shares that she feels we need to take some care here. That in our small community, we often pay so much attention to those who may be on the margins, of so many different kinds, that we may miss the inner needs of the quiet, the steady, the those who are always there. (The older brothers, and sisters, as it were….) She has  a point.

Soon our quiet service is over. Back into the snow. A quiet Sunday afternoon ahead….

SECOND READING 1 CORINTHIANS 12:12-31A
12For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body — Jews or Greeks, slaves or free — and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.
14Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15If the foot would say,"Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16And if the ear would say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20As it is, there are many members, yet one body. 21The eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you," nor again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you." 22On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23and those members of the body that we think less honorable we clothe with greater honor, and our less respectable members are treated with greater respect; 24whereas our more respectable members do not need this. But God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior member, 25that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. 26If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it.
27Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 28And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers; then deeds of power, then gifts of healing, forms of assistance, forms of leadership, various kinds of tongues. 29Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? 31But strive for the greater gifts.
GOSPEL LUKE 4:14-21
14Then Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country. 15He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone.
16When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: 18"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, 19to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." 20And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21Then he began to say to them, "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."





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