Readings and Reflections for Sunday 20 January 2019: Epiphany

Part 1 of 2

Eucharistic Readings

 Isaiah 62:1-5 Psalm 36:5-10 1 Corinthians 12:1-11 John 2:1-11

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” (John 2:5)

Mary has lived with her son our Lord for most of his earthly thirty years.  She has seen him replenish their food supply and maybe even change some of their water into wine.  She has probably seen him do more with nothing than is ever written in the Bible.

So it is quite natural for Mary to go to her son when there is a shortage of anything.  Notice that Mary does not respond to Jesus’ mumbling about whether or not his time has come.  She turns to the servants that will obey Jesus – she turns to us.  She looks through the pages of John’s Gospel directly into our eyes and says, “Do whatever he tells you.”

This is perhaps the first sermon ever about how we Christians should respond to Jesus. John the Baptist proclaimed the coming of Jesus and that Jesus would baptize us with fire and the Holy Spirit.  Later even Paul tells us about how Christ Jesus is our Salvation.  But Mary tells us we must do as Jesus tells us.  She puts into action everything that Jesus will say to us in commands and parables, from the golden rule (Do onto others as you would have them do onto you), to the Good Samaritan and to give to Cesar that that is Cesar’s and to God that that is God’s.  If we are really serious about following Jesus when Jesus says “follow me” then we first must listen to Mary who says to us “Do whatever he tells you.” Be Well.

Let us hear what the Spirit is saying through and to God’s people.

Part 2 of 2

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  Civil Rights Activist

Psalm 77:11-20 Genesis 37:17b-20 Ephesians 6:10-20 Luke 6:27-36

Luke

Do to others as you would have them do to you. (Luke 6:31)

This weekend we remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  Civil Rights Activist.  From the Gospel we read about doing to or for others as we would want them to do to or for us.  In 1963 Dr King writes a letter to clergy who think that his civil disobedience is “unwise and untimely.”  The following words taken from his letter of 1963 captures the necessity of its authorship.  He writes:

“I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.  We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial “outside agitator” idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.” (Letter from a Birmingham Jail: April 16, 1963: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.)

To be an advocate for those with no voice is to do for others what you would want them to do for you.  There is still a great need for all of us to stand up for those who are not us.  We need men to stand up for equal pay for women, we need European Americans to stand up for African Americans. We need the healthy to stand up for sick. We need those of us who can, to stand up for those who can’t.  We are not competitors in some kind of game.  We are made to be people of compassion for those who struggle.  Dr. King saw this as Jesus’ command to love others as you love yourself and to do onto others as you would have them to do onto you. Would you not advocate for yourself if you could?  So too then, welcome the service of someone who advocates for you, and you advocate for someone out there who needs you.  Be Well.

Let us hear what the Spirit is saying through and to God’s people.

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