Word for the Week – January 18, 2017

Sunday, January 22, 2017 Third Sunday after Epiphany / Lectionary 3 Introduction

Jesus begins his public ministry by calling fishers to leave their nets and follow him. In Jesus the kingdom of God has come near. We who have walked in darkness have seen a great light. We see this light most profoundly in the cross—as God suffers with us and all who are oppressed by sickness, sin, or evil. Light dawns for us as we gather around the word, the font, and the holy table. We are then sent to share the good news that others may be “caught” in the net of God’s grace and mercy.

First Reading: Isaiah 9:1-4

The northern tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali experienced defeat, but they are assured that their condition will be reversed when God makes a light-filled appearance. The joy they will experience will resemble celebrations of great harvests, because God will deliver them from everything that diminishes or oppresses them. The people in the northern parts of Israel have experienced “gloom” and “darkness” because of the destruction wrought by Assyrian military forces. To these people, the prophet announces the shining of a great light of salvation.

Psalm: Psalm 27:1, 4-9

The Lord is my light and my salvation. (Ps. 27:1)

Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:10-18

Paul calls on the Corinthians to end their dissensions and share the unified outlook of the gospel. Discord arises when we forget that we belong not to human leaders or institutions but to Christ who was crucified for us. Indeed, the unifying word of the cross of Christ is the center of the gospel and the power of God’s salvation.

Gospel: Matthew 4:12-23

Jesus begins his public ministry shortly after John the Baptist is imprisoned by Herod. He proclaims the nearness of God’s reign and calls four fishermen to be his first disciples.

Epiphany Theme

The promise: The Light of Jesus is Near!
The fulfillment: The Light of Jesus is Here!
The calling: Let your light so shine before others that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven.

Throughout this season of Epiphany we hear scripture witnessing to the light and life of Jesus, sharing the story of people hearing and answering God’s call, and encouraging us all to share our own unique light with the world.

In Baptism we are marked with the cross of Christ forever, claimed as God’s children and made members of the body of Christ. We are presented with a lit candle and commissioned: “Let your light so shine before others that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven.”

You are the Light of the World – and this world desperately needs you! Yes – YOU! Do not hide your light…let it shine!  Share your story, reach out, pray without ceasing, and share the gifts freely given to you. Be the light for others, and encourage them to do the same. Together, our collective light will spread and illuminate the world, giving glory to our Father in Heaven.

Holy God, hear our prayer: We are called to be Your light. Let us shine!

Update on Pastor

Pastor Del Preston is looking forward to returning as our interim pastor as soon as possible. He is still in recovery from his medical procedure, so we will have supply pastors for the month of January. We continue to pray for a complete recovery for Pastor Del in the meantime.

Chaplain Don Combs will be with us as a supply pastor on January 22 and 29, 2017.

Concert

The Luther College Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Daniel Baldwin, will perform at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday, January 31st, at Bettendorf High School Performing Arts Center, 3333 18th St., Bettendorf, Iowa. The concert is part of the Symphony Orchestra’s 2017 Midwest Tour. See the kiosk in the gathering space for more information.