the 3rd sunday after epiphany
the PRAYER. . .
Blessed Lord God, you have caused the holy scriptures to be written for the nourishment of your people. Grant that we may hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that, comforted by your promises, we may embrace and forever hold fast to the hope of eternal life, through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
the READING. . .
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news…”
the DEVOTION. . .
As far back as I remember, church was always more about heaven than it was earth. Spiritual. Supernatural. Otherworldly. Church was pearly gates. Halos and harps. The happily-ever-after on the other side of forever. Heaven’s been the destination; the church the highway. Measured in songs and prayers and bible verses. It’s been so much a part of my thinking I didn’t even notice when it wasn’t there. Like in this week’s gospel reading…
Jesus comes back home, goes to the synagogue, and reads a verse or two from Isaiah. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me! The Lord’s anointed me!” And yet, it’s not so much about the there and then, as it is the here and now. Proclaiming release! Recovery! Favor! Preaching love! Announcing forgiveness! Making known life! TODAY, he says, this scripture’s fulfilled. Fulfilled in the speaking and hearing! Fulfilled in the administering and the receiving!
Bob Barndt, pastor