the 4th sunday after epiphany
the PRAYER. . .
Almighty and ever-living God, increase in us the gifts of faith, hope, and love; and that we may obtain what you promise, make us love what you command, through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.
the READING. . .
[Then Jesus said to all in the synagogue in Nazareth,] “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘Doctor, cure yourself!'”
the DEVOTION. . .
I’d always heard about it. But, like a lot of things, I never read it, not first hand. So, this week, I looked it up online and was kinda surprised! It was longer than I’d imagined. And other than the part about “doing no harm,” most of it wasn’t familiar. But one thing I did notice, right off. From the perspective of the Hippocratic Oath, physicians don’t heal themselves! There wasn’t one word about it! Healing the sick? Yes. Treating those who suffer? Absolutely. Men and women! Bond and free! But apparently, doctors don’t become doctors, simply, to make themselves better!
But then, that’s true of believing, as well! Popular religion has it that we’re in it all for ourselves. Being forgiving. Getting saved. Going to heaven. Most books by the really fashionable preachers aren’t in the “Religion” section of bookstores. They’re on the shelves marked “Self-Help!” Physicians healing themselves! But the faith Jesus talks about, this week – the kind over which he gets in trouble – says we’re not here for “us,” but we’re here for “them!” For the poor! For the captive! For the sightless, the oppressed! For those who have nothing! For those who have no one! We practice medicine to treat the sick! And apparently, we believe for the same reason! To love others just like Jesus loves us! To love others just like Jesus already loves them!
Bob Barndt, pastor