Preaching to the Choir

These are some sermons, but mostly lectionary discussions. It also has prayers for some Sundays.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Lectionary Discussion for Jan 4, 09 Epiphany Sunday

Hi friends, sorry, I am a little late. I have been enjoying my family here in Florida. I hope that this is a good New Year for everyone.
Here are the scriptures for Epiphany Sunday, Jan 6, 2009;
Isaiah 60:1-6 Arise, shine; for your light has come. I learned this verse as a GA in the Baptist Church. How then shall we arise and shine? What is this light we are to shine in the world of darkness? Isaiah saw it that the Lord would come upon you and then Nations as well as Kings would come to you. What is this darkness the light shines into? Is it not time for us to rise and shine and give God the glory? What would that look like in your church? What would happen in your community?
Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14 (UMH 795) A Psalm of Justice from God.
Ephesians 3:1-12 Paul tells why he is a prisoner for Christ. He tells them the mystery that is now made known, that Gentiles are now fellow heirs, members of the same body, and sharers in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. Paul goes further to say he is a servant of this Gospel and the least of saints. He says he is all this to bring the good news to the Gentiles boldly for Christ. What happened that we decided to make the mystery ours and exclude the Gentiles? What happened that we stop boldly telling the Gentiles the good news? Is that how we lost our boldness, and instead of being a prisoner for Christ we a prisoner of ourselves? How can your people be freed to boldly share the good news that the gospel is for all people? Who are the Gentiles in your community?
· Matthew 2:1-12 The three wise men come who have seen a star and are following it. The stop for directions from Herod, got the directions to Bethlehem of Judea, and went on their way. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road. What can we say that hasn’t been said about this passage? Where will your focus be? Following a star from afar even to its end? Worshiping the child? Home by another way? The Herods in our world today? Being overwhelmed with joy? The wise men from the East as seekers? The gifts they brought? The prophesy fulfilled?
A little about Epiphany:
The Epiphany is one of the oldest feast-days in the Christian Church. It was first celebrated in the Eastern Church to commemorate the manifestation of Christ to the World. We commonly use the word epiphany to describe a revelation or an "aha" moment. The word epiphany has Greek origins, and it originally meant appearance or manifestation. The feast of Epiphany is associated with the visit of the wise men from the east who have come to Judea in search of the new born king of the Jews. They have observed his star or portent at its rising. His coming has been ‘revealed’ to them, and in the star light has literally shone forth. We can, therefore, see why this passage is set for Epiphany. There is no little irony and revelation, however, in the fact that when we get to the story of the crucifixion at the end of Matthew’s Gospel we will hear of the sign ‘This is Jesus, the king of the Jews’ placed over Jesus’ head on the cross (Matt. 27:37). Epiphany is an unfamiliar word to many of us -- even to many Christians. Here are some phrases that may help it to make more sense:
a revealing of the presence of God;
the light of God radiating outward and inward;
a gift, a reminder that God is here.

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