Monday, January 16, 2012

Third Sunday after the Epiphany: 16 January 2012

In the 2009 issue of Homily Service, Denise Thorpe compared and contrasted Jonah’s refusal to jettison his ethnically exclusive ideas about the calling of God with the Disciples’ decision to “drop everything” to follow Jesus.

We all face those moments, don’t we? We encourage our children to do the best they an and use the gifts God has given them, then they follow their passions for art and music or run off to teach in a poor school desperately in need of good instructors and we go crazy wondering how they will ever support themselves. We are so very sure that our political party is right and that God is blessing the way we vote, then some senator from across the aisle implements a vision or initiates a program that actually addresses some need, concern, or social ill in a better way than anyone on our team could have imagined. And how about the church? We insist on frugality and wise stewardship as we deem a new vision frivolous, excessive, or too expensive for our limited means. Leaders trust the vision and forge ahead, hearts are strangely warmed, and money and people appear as sheer, undeserved, unearned gift.

The call to the disciples is to drop everything and follow. Sometimes we have a hard time identifying the “everything.”

...This is a Sunday to examine foundations.To what do we cling? What are we able to hold loosely?

Where does your vision of the catholicity of God’s redemptive work break down? Who is “outside the pale” for you? Followers of other religions? Followers of non-Abrahamic religions? Unrepentant alcoholics? Professional sex workers? Comic book fanatics?

In addition to the above, I cannot help but note that none of the writers for this week in the 2009 issue of Homily Service chose to deal with the reading from I Corinthians in any way. It is an exceptionally challenging text, especially in this age where serving one's own happiness and "follow your bliss" have come to be seen as the highest good. Will you comment upon the Epistle lesson this week? If so, what will you say about it.

Denise Thorpe (2008): 25 January 2009 - Epiphany 3 - Ordinary 3 - Conversion of St. Paul. Homily Service, 42:1, 111-112.

Denise Thorpe is an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (PCUSA)

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