Epiphany 5 Lesson

EPIPHANY 5   02-07-2022

FIRST READING:   Isaiah 6:1-13

Last week we read and reflected on Jeremiah’s call to be a prophet; we might remember that the “too young to be a prophet” priest immediately felt inadequate to the task of speaking God’s strong and judging word, not only to Judah but to the other nations as well. This week we are looking at Isaiah’s call. Isaiah, like Jeremiah, was being tasked with speaking a word that would not be sweet and soothing. Isaiah, like Jeremiah, did not feel capable of the assignment – Isaiah’s hesitation was expressed as an awareness of his sin and shortcomings. Isaiah, like Jeremiah, was told that God would provide the words that he was to speak; and Isaiah, like Jeremiah, had his mouth physically touched and enabled by God. Isaiah, unlike Jeremiah, overcame his initial hesitation by responding, “Here I am; send me!” 

The call of Isaiah in today’s reading is full of drama – the mighty and glorious presence of God sitting on a throne as if holding court… the shaking of the temple’s foundations and a space filled with smoke…God being served by strange six-winged celestial beings named seraphim who call to each other in constant praise of the Lord… a live coal from the altar, the place of sacrifice, touching Isaiah’s lips… words shared by Isaiah with the Lord and by seraphim with Isaiah and then by God with his called and now willing servant. When have you had a powerful experience of God’s presence and God’s call and been left awestruck? Guilt-ridden? Cleansed? Empowered? Willing to try to serve in the place, the time, and the way set forth by God?

“Here I am; send me!” God is still looking for messengers who will speak and show forth God’s glory, God’s justice, God’s mercy, God’s love, and – sometimes – God’s judgment. In the midst of our call from God we must remember that, like Isaiah, our faithfulness may not always be pleasant, well-received, or all that successful and fruit-bearing.  Sometimes the greatest thing that we might say about our own effort is “The holy seed is its stump”… the smallest hint or hope of growth and rebirth coming forth. 

Lord, we pray that we might be sensitive to your call and courageously obedient to your will. 

 

SECOND READING:   1 Corinthians 15:1-11

Isaiah felt that he was a man of unclean lips when he was called to be a prophet of God’s heart and will. And Paul was fully aware that he was a former persecutor of the Church, an opponent of Jesus Christ, when he was called to be a missionary of the gospel. Aren’t the ways of God amazing, isn’t God’s call both mysterious and magical?

Here Paul offers a concise summary of the gospel – the good news of Jesus Christ’s life, death, and resurrection “for our sins” – that he had received from others and tried to pass on to the men and women and children who became the Christian faith community in the city of Corinth. In verse 8 he calls himself “one untimely born”, perhaps acknowledging that he did not personally know or follow Jesus when Jesus was on earth as a man. But he nevertheless had an encounter with the living Christ years after the resurrection victory. You can find that story of Paul’s conversion in the in the New Testament Book of Acts.

The summary story that Paul lifts up in today’s reading was passed on to him and passed on by him and passed on by generations of believers before us, and now we continue to tell this story to the world. Receiving the gospel is discovering in Christ a new center of existence, a new power for living that always includes loving, and a new perspective from which to view all things. How have your heart and life changed because of the presence, the grace, and the will of Jesus Christ? Do you, like Paul, have a story of being converted, perhaps from being a persecutor of the Christian faith ?

How have you and I been telling – ARE we telling? – our family, neighbors, friends, work colleagues, and strangers the good news that Jesus lives, is crucified for our sins, is raised from the grave after three days, and gives us new and everlasting life? 

 

GOSPEL READING:  Luke 5:1-11

In Matthew 4:18-22 and Mark 1:16-20, Jesus simply calls four fishermen, Simon and Andrew, then James and John – two sets of brothers – and they follow. Here in Luke there are three fishermen (Read it again to find out who’s missing), and there also is a miraculous catch of fish. When have you felt challenged by Jesus to give it one more try and to “put out into the deep water”

Note the reaction of Simon after the miraculous catch. Is his response so different from Isaiah and from Paul? When have you been overcome by unworthiness and fear in the midst of God’s awesomeness?

SOMETHING BIG happened. Three fishermen who couldn’t catch a thing got caught up with Jesus, with his power, with his mission. If it was enough to cause them to drop everything familiar and treasured and to follow Jesus. They didn’t really know where they were going. They no doubt wondered how they would “fish” or “catch” people. In what sense has the experience of these three fishermen been your life experience? What have you willingly left behind? And as you daily seek to bear the name, the spirit, and the mission of Jesus, how’s your fishing going?

Upcoming Events

Jun
19
Wed
2024
10:30 am Whole Foods Distribution
Whole Foods Distribution
Jun 19 @ 10:30 am – 12:00 pm
Whole Foods Distribution Use entrance on Briar Rd. to access the lower classroom area. Need more information? Check out this event’s ministry page.
Jun
23
Sun
2024
10:00 am Sunday Worship Service
Sunday Worship Service
Jun 23 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be gathering together for worship service on Zoom using the following information: MEETING ID: 5977365682 MEETING PASSWORD: 204934 You can also join us for...
Jun
30
Sun
2024
10:00 am Sunday Worship Service
Sunday Worship Service
Jun 30 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be gathering together for worship service on Zoom using the following information: MEETING ID: 5977365682 MEETING PASSWORD: 204934 You can also join us for...
Jul
3
Wed
2024
10:30 am Whole Foods Distribution
Whole Foods Distribution
Jul 3 @ 10:30 am – 12:00 pm
Whole Foods Distribution Use entrance on Briar Rd. to access the lower classroom area. Need more information? Check out this event’s ministry page.
Jul
5
Fri
2024
8:30 am Senior Food Box Distribution @ St. Peter's Rhoda Hall
Senior Food Box Distribution @ St. Peter's Rhoda Hall
Jul 5 @ 8:30 am – 10:00 am
Check out the Senior Food Program’s page for more information.