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Fr. Joseph Clayton Neiman
an Episcopal priest
  In Paw Paw, MI 

 

1 Samuel 3:1-20

1 Corinthians 6:11-20

John 1:(35-42) 43-51

 

Welcome. We are in the dark and turbulent days of winter when the sun doesn’t shine as much as we would like, and when we can predict what the weather will be this year. We are in turbulent times in general as people with so much happening in the world around us. It even seems in winter that we find ourselves less patient, less happy, and perhaps even ill occasionally. But we have gathered together as disciples of Jesus, as friends, and the risen Lord is here with us as He has promised, and He wants to lead us to the fullness of life. We like Samuel in the lessons today have to learn to listen. “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.” Let us listen to the words of the hymns, the words of the prayers, the words of Scripture and the homily, and most especially to the words he may speak in our hearts as we give God thank for all that we are and have and especially all that his week has been.

 

Collect:        

Lord, as you called the disciples,

Open our ears to your calling,

Open our eyes to your presence,

Open our hearts to your love,

That we may hear you, and hearing you may love you,

And loving you may serve you,

Whom to serve is perfect freedom;

Through Jesus Christ, the lamb of God. Amen

 

Homily:

“Can anything good come out of Nazareth? Come and see….” (Jn 1:46)

 

The holidays are over. Even the Church’s holydays are over. Christmas and Epiphany are now past.

 

We have entered in the Church’s calendar the season of Epiphany, which goes this year until the last week of February. If you were to look in the back of the Book of Common Prayer, that the readings assigned for these Sundays, the 6th, 7th, and 8th Sundays or Epiphany, are the same as those assigned for the Sundays in the season of Ordinary time, which are called Proper 1, 2, and 3. The reason for that is the season of Lent, which follows Epiphany, moves depending upon the date of Easter. Given how Easter is determined, the earliest it can be is March 22nd, and the latest it can be is April 25th. This year Easter is almost that late. It comes on April 16th. If you are curious about all this, look in the BCP on page 880 and then check the readings for what is called Lectionary Year B.

 

The Church year was created centuries ago by Christians to help us comprehend the great mystery of what God has done, is doing and will do in and through the life, death, resurrection and glorification of Jesus. It a way it takes a whole to comprehend what Christmas means, what it means that God became human in Jesus and what the words and deeds of Jesus do for humanity.

 

During the Epiphany season we hear about who is Jesus and His call to disciples to follow Him and take part in His mission and ministry to all humanity. Now since the Gospel of Mark, which is read this year, is short, we have readings from the Gospel of John occasionally such as today.

 

John’s gospel does not have an account of the birth of Jesus like that in Matthew and Luke, but he does begin with a profound poetic session that speaks of Jesus existing before all time and all creation, and his coming into the world being a part of God’s plan for humanity and creation.

 

John says; “Jesus came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood of of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God….” (Jn 1:11-13)

That’s us! If we believe in His name, we have power to become children of God!

 

That opening chapter is followed by the narrative about people coming to John the Baptist curious if he is the long awaited Messiah, and how John tells them who Jesus really is: Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (Jn 1:29)

 

This is followed by the calling of disciples, but they do not yet understand who Jesus is either. They are also looking for someone to give meaning and power to their lives, or as Henri Nouwen said it in the quote I read last week: “Aren’t you, like me, hoping that some person, thing or event will come along to give you that final feeling of inner well-being you desire?” Is that person Jesus? That’s the question the disciples asked and which we have to answer as well.

 

Good ole Nathanael: “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip repeats what Jesus said to Andrew and the other unnamed disciple who left John and came to Jesus. “Come and see” (Jn 1:39; 46).

 

Continuing

                                                                                                                   

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