January 20, 2013 Second Sunday after Epiphany | The Community
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January 20, 2013 Second Sunday after Epiphany

Readings for Proper 2

As I read our first reading, I immediately thought of the Idle No More movement currently building in Canada. Lessons about God’s vindication and promises of the land must bring great comfort and strength to those who experience oppression and injustice.

The second reading and the Gospel speak of material tangible things, but both are really about who Jesus is, the Son of God. Like John the Baptist, how are you pointing to Jesus this Sunday?

For those who are listening this Sunday, how are you carrying through with the message of Jesus’ birth and baptism?

Dawn Leger

About Dawn Leger

I am a priest in the Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, having served in Stouffville, Ontario. I think preaching is a profound and great privilege granted to us by God and our Church. I love the reading, the writing, the proclaiming, the dissecting and the dialogue. I also love to cook, sing, read and laugh, in no particular order.
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0 Responses to January 20, 2013 Second Sunday after Epiphany

  1. My thoughts are only just beginning to come together. The wild ride we’ve shared through Christmas and Epiphany seemed, this year, to carry on through Christ’s baptism, and I can’t help approaching this week’s readings with some exhaustion. In this particular case, perhaps that’s a good thing, because it’s forcing me to prepare for what could otherwise have been a “so what Sunday.” So that’s my starting point. Peace, love and justice have been born into this world. We share in baptism with Christ. So what? Now what?

    They seem to be great questions to ask, especially right now! So what? How to we keep the energy up? How to we, as you put it, “carry through with the message of Jesus’ birth and baptism,” rather than settling into a sort of anti-climactic season?

    Sarah Dylan Breuer has some wonderful things to say about where she finds the connection between this weeks Gospel and the passage from 3rd Isaiah (aside from the obvious wedding references). For her, it’s about hope–not pie-in-the-sky hope, but the hope that results from the choice to live as if the Kingdom were here among us:

    Mary has a thought that’s crazy by conventional reckoning: what if the authority Jesus is already starting to exercise in calling followers is a sign that the feasting we anticipated at the redemption of God’s people — the redemption Isaiah metaphorically compares to the joy and freely shared plenty of a wedding feast — is something that starts NOW?

    That’s the direction I’ll be taking. So what? Life after Christmas and the Epiphany is not anti-climactic, because the God’s way of living starts now.

  2. Dawn Leger

    Jesse,

    That’s where I am headed, too, although I had not read Dylan Breuer. Thanks for that!

     

    I am going to spend the bulk of my time in Isaiah this week. After Newtown, I preached about how so often I want to say to these passages, “Yeah, easy for you to say, you aren’t going through what I am going through.” Then I remember, actually it was far worse. Exile, persecution, and the death of their children.

    Back to hope. It sustains, it moves us, and yes, the kingdom is now!

  3. Indeed. Newton, etc., has the potential too add to the exhaustion. I hear your push back–and I’ll add to that the fact that many in our world are, in fact experiencing exile, persecution, and the death of their children. So then what? I think Breuer is right–at times, hope is a choice. It’s there, without question, but how we respond to God’s grace is sometimes another matter!

  4. Dawn Leger

    I didn’t mean to push back. I guess I finished too fast. If I take the words out of their context, I hear platitudes. When I remember all the Israelites experienced, and yet were still able to call one another to rejoice, that is hope! Whatever excuses we have not to rejoice,  not to live in the kingdom all of a sudden seem smaller when compared to the reality into which these words were spoken.

  5. It’s all good, Dawn. You know, I’ve known an awful lot of people at rock bottom that have incredible faith. It tends to be where faith and hope are fostered. But what happens when (and for those whom) life is comfortable? What do we, as observers, make of the horrors that surround us? Where’s the hope? (I should also mention that I’ve revisited this book this week).

  6. I’m talking about joy, I think. That the community Jesus formed around himself was clearly and firmly rooted in the joy of abundance, and that all those spiritual gifts exist for that same community.  We’ve had too many funerals around here lately. Joy is needed.

  7. Amen, Heather. My wife was only just sharing with me about a chat in which the phrase “funeral season” was mentioned–much to the horror of one conversion member. We need joy. And we need hope. And we need on another.

  8. Kyle Norman

    I am looking at Isaiah this week.  One of the fabulous things I found out is that this passage is often referred to as ‘The Song of Splendid Impatience”.  I like that description of the call to proclaim God’s glory, and the fulfillment of all our hope even in the midst of times where we don’t see it realized.

    I think part of the way in which we move past platitudes is to see that this passage is given to a community.  We cannot see this as an individualized ‘there there’ type of passage.  This is about the community of Israel (so by extension the community of faith) shining like the dawn and reflecting the glory of God.  It is about the community living out their righteousness and their identity as God’s delight.

    We have spent a lot of time thinking of community in my parish, so this fits right in for us.  What does it mean for our community to move past desolation and desertion, and into the space where we claim God’s delight over us, and shine our faith bright in this world?

  9. About John 2 – The Wedding Feast

    In John’s gospel, on the first day Jesus is baptized. On the next day, he attracts two disciples away from John the Baptist: Andrew, and the other who is not named, and then Simon Peter. The day after that he attracts Philip and Nathanael.

    So on the third day (who could read this and not see the echoes of the Resurrection on the morning of the Third Day) he takes with him (five? A handful?) disciples to the wedding feast. The Greek “eklethe” is the aorist passive of  kaleo. It’s best translated “invite” hut the meaning “to be called to” cannot be ignored. It’s another Johannine “shading”.  To what is Jesus called?

    “Ti emoi kai soi”? “What mine and yours? What to me and to you? What is it to me and to you? What does it mean for me and for you? What does it have to do with me and you? Woman.

    I had a coworker at Staples named Lorna. She hated being called “Woman”. She thought it was demeaning and a put-down. I won’t go into why she thought that, or what her experiences of being called “Woman” meant to her. It’s enough that she really didn’t like being called “woman”.  So as a going-away present when Marcin left the store, he made her a CD of songs he knew she would love: “Girl, you’ll be a woman soon” (Neil Dymond) “Woman, I can hardly express etc.” By John Lennon, “She’s a Lady whoa whoa whoa” by Tom Jones, etc. You can imagine that she’ll treasure that forever.

    The stone water jars – that lithos will appear again in Chapter 20 when Mary” blepeis ton lithon ermenon ek tou mnemeiou”.- she sees the stone is rolled away from the tomb. The water that turns to wine is the water that moves over creation above the vault of heaven and below the risen land, and that water becomes the blood of Christ that washes everything into new creation. The stone no longer holds the water, or the wine or the blood. It is free of all constraints: he is not held back by stone in a tomb. He is not held back by stone in a jar. Pandora’s box is opened and grace spills out everywhere and cannot be returned to the container!

    “The servants who had drawn the water knew” – they are the stewards of this mystery. They know where the true wine comes from, and how it came to be. The steward is the architriklinos – actually the Latin noun architriclinus – master of the feast. The one who presides at the table. The Presiding Celebrant!

    A foreshadow of the Eucharist.

  10. We’re trying to approach biblical narratives like Jesus turning water into wine by asking “So what?” What does that really mean for us today; do we experience the “Wow” moments along our spiritual journeys; what amazes us when it comes to the many ways God is revealed to us; how do we articulate for ourselves even what is awesome and amazing about God in our midst.

    We’re not necessarily looking to answer the questions for people … but to raise them and leave people to ponder.

    Just starting out so we’ll see where it all goes.

  11. Dawn Leger

    Waiting for a finishing paragraph, but here are some excerpts from my offering for tomorrow. Blessings to all of you who will hear and preach the Word.

    Isaiah is raising the people up out of their complacency by telling them to live into the reality of their freedom. The people were sitting in complacency and despair. They had stopped longing for the joy of God’s kingdom, and just wanted to be comfortable, only, really, as comfortable as they had been in Babylon.

    There are times when we are happy to sit in the comfort of what we have, especially as churches. We have what we have always had. We know it. It’s like wrapping up in a warm blanket. It’s familiar. The thing is, like being on the couch watching old movies, it is really hard to get up and shift gears.

    One could say, if we wanted to play a bit, that even Jesus struggled to move out of his comfort zone. This morning we heard, according to the Gospel of John, about Jesus’ first miracle. In John, these early miracles are signs to those around that Jesus is the Messiah.

    And this:

    The prophet doesn’t speak about what they must do. He speaks about who they are, God’s delight, in a loving relationship akin to marriage. Of all the nations they are surrounded by, they are the only people who are in a loving relationship with their God.

     

    We gather today in the joy of the knowledge that we are loved beyond measure by the God who created us. We gather in the name of a loving God who created us, gives us gifts so we can build one another up and care for each other and the world around us. It is often tempting to sit in our comfort, surrounded by God’s love like a warm hug. But there is so much more in store for us, and we can only have a taste of it if we live boldly and without fear.

     

    Our epistle reading is a familiar one listing the gifts of the Spirit. Whatever list of gifts you read, it is clear that these gifts are meant for the building up of the Church and the glory of God. They are part of living in the kingdom. They are not a list of qualifications. They are signs of the kingdom. When we experience people sharing their gifts, we know the kingdom–God–is working and living.

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