Sunday, February 3, 2013

Fourth Sunday After Epiphany

Today’s Scriptures: Lectionary selections from the Revised Common Lectionary Year C

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Psalm 71

1 Corinthians 13:1-13

Luke 4:21-30

Today’s Reflection:

Every generation grows up to certain bits of common knowledge that we take for granted. When science or some historical discovery proves that wrong, it shakes us: what can we trust? The passages today give us a direct look at the power of God with humankind – a constant that has been with us since the creation.

 

Jeremiah recounts the call of the prophet as a young man. Despite his youth and human uncertainty, God assured him, because he was God’s chosen one, that all He directed would happen. As happens with all prophets, or messengers of God, whatever he commands comes to pass because of God’s power bestowed upon the individual. God is at work through a man.

 

In Luke we see the same thing happening. Jesus beginning his ministry and accomplishing all things God wills. The difference between Jesus and the prophets is that instead of God at work through a man, it is God at work as a man. And like the prophets the resistance comes from those who see him as a man without recognizing the role of God in his actions. History often makes the people look foolish based on their actions. The Jews were well aware of the shortcomings of their forebears that caused God to intervene in their history. Jesus’s reminder of that history obviously struck a nerve with the people – of course, people on the wrong side of God never recognize it on their own.

 

I Corinthians provides the math and grammar that explains what is going on. We often focus on the definition of love that is central to the passage. The opening and closing, though, insist on the supremacy of love. Love is greater than faith (love > faith). Love is greater than hope (love > hope). Love is the greatest (love = greatest). And if God is love (God = love). Then (God = love = greatest).

 

The passages today have given examples of God accomplishing his will through a man and God accomplishing his will as a man. Knowing that God is love, we are commanded to keep that love as the focus of everything we do in doing his will, for without it, we are not doing God’s will. Black and white it is that simple. We collectively are responsible for showing the love as God defines it. The Church, and as a result, Christianity, suffers an image problem because it has forced a theological (read legalistic – i.e. “insisting on its own way”) focus as it moved away from focusing on the love. We are individually responsible for demonstrating the love. When we do our individual part, the collective benefits and God continues to work through mankind to accomplish his kingdom.

Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, copyright © 2005 Consultation on Common Texts. www.commontexts.org