This Sunday we listen in on the
first sermon of Jesus in Nazareth.
When he preached at other
synagogues, he was praised by
everyone. At first, the home town
crowd joins them and “speaks
well of him”. Sadly, their opinion
will quickly change. We will
consider that next week.
For this week, we look at the
sermon itself. It is based on a
reading from Isaiah 58 and 61.
The later chapters of Isaiah are addressed to people living during the Babylonian
exile. Isaiah looks forward to a day when the life for his people will change. Now,
they were a beaten down people in a foreign land. They needed some “Good
News, Release, and Vision.” He sees hope on the horizon as Cyrus the Perisian
advances. Cyrus would indeed conquer the Babylonians and allow the Israelites to
returned. Sadly, they would find the land of Canaan as a place of ruins with other
people living there. Still, some good things happened for the people of Israel.
They did rebuild. For a while they did have their freedom. Herod the Great had
made the temple a wonderful house of worship.
But the outside oppressor returned. First as the Greeks, now it was the Romans.
In just few decades after Jesus, the Romans would put down a Jewish rebellion
and destory that second temple. So when Jesus sits down and says: “Today this
scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing,” what does he mean? The Good
News, the Release and the Vision of Isaiah did not seem to be fully realized.
First, Jesus means that today is the day. At times we are tempted to let tomorrow
be the day: Tomorrow I will start a better diet, exercise more, do more reading,
give to the poor. Jesus would have us focus on today. What are we doing today as
part of the Good News, the Release and the Vision of God?
Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 12 that each of us has a part to play as members of
Christ’s body. We are not all eyes, ears, hands or feet. We are not meant to be.
We are just called “today” to play our part.
A member of my parish in Hemet was a woman without a home. She had been
serverely burned as a child and needed skin graph after skin graph. She
appearance and frequent medical procedures meant that she did not find a place
at school. She did find a place in the military from which she retired. At that point,
her mother needed her care. When her mother died, she needed a new Vision.
She gave her energies to the church. Making sure the paraments were the right
color and in the right places. She went a bit over board in measuring the distance
of the candles from the side of the altar and at times got on people’s nerves. But,
the Good News for her was that God had a part for her to play in the
congregation. The body of Christ does not always work smoothly but it does work
together in ways that individually we could not. We do offer Good News, Release
and a Vision that would not be possible, individually.
As a congregation we will consider how best continue to fulfill the Vision of God
at Faith at our semi-annual meeting on January 30.
One thing is certain, Today is the Day. As, we gather around the Good News. As,
we offer release from sin each Sunday. As we through our NA, AA, OA and Alanon groups we offer release to those enslaved and affected by drug use. As, we
offer shelter and comfort through our quilting ministry. As, we offer Good News
to the preschoolers and to those who use our pantry. We do it, Today – for Today
is the Day.
We may not see the fulfillment of the work of God, but we each do our part of
what God has called us to do.
Lord today is the day you want us to offer ourselves to your service in the world.
Today we can be a part of bringing Good News, Release and Vision. Direct us,
that our works may be begun, continue and ended in you, as a part of your body
in the world.
Blessings every day,
Pastor John
YOUTH Confirmation Classes follow the Sunday service in the Chapel. We are
going through the Bible, in Genesis right now.
Children’s Church continues. Are you interested in assisting? Let us know at the
church office or give Robyn Blue a call. There is a sign up in the narthex. We do
need more volunteers.
WELCA – next meeting Saturday, February 5.
Pantry – Next date January 22. We have need of: Toilet paper and Tuna Helper.
Thrivent Choice Dollars – if you have a Thrivent financial product you may have
Choice Dollars you can designate to Faith. I was able designate another $300 this
week from 2021 dollars. Do check on your own possibilities. Call Thrivent if you
need assistance.
• George Motschall is home now, still recovering from a blood infection.
• Cesar Guevara has yet another relative infected with COVID and
hospitalized, his brother, Marcos who is now recovering with them. Also
pray for their niece, Kayla.
• Jan Wheeler has bursitis and will be given cortisone shots.
• Jessica Callendar, the Koenig’s daughter is back home. She was exposed to
COVID along with her husband, Tony. Also, the boys Joey and Lucas and
Grandfather Joe were infected as well. Joe was able to be back in church.
• Bill and Judy Martin’s daughter, Laura, continues her chemo treatments.
• Judy Mishoe’s sister, Jayne, was diagnosed with cancer, had surgery, and
has a 90% chance of recovery.
• erwin for strength and Lynda for healing.
• Continued Godly journey for Brendan Simms, son of Bonnie Strack and
Rebecca, daughter of Michael and Ann Shea.
• Heather, our preschool director, is having some health issues which have
been postponed until the first of the year. Nice to have the preschool back
this week.
Upcoming DATES
SUNDAY WORSHIP @ 10 am. live stream and recording available on our website.
NO Refreshments after services until the annual meeting on January 30.
• January 23 – A visit from Claire at CCLM.
• January 30 – Congregational meeting after service.
• March 2 – Ash Wednesday, we hope to start Wednesday soup suppers with
Adult Bible Study.