New Revised Standard Version
Scripture Summaries for January 2022 – Year C
Scripture Summary For Epiphany – Year C (Jan 2 – Epiphany Sunday) – Reflections by Rev. Shelley
Isaiah 60:1-6: Isaiah prophesies the Lord's coming into the world bringing light into the darkness. This is appropriate for Epiphany as today we celebrate light coming to Gentiles as well as Jews. The text also mentions two of the three gifts – gold and frankincense- that the Magi will bring to Jesus.
Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14: This Psalm celebrates the crowning of a King. It offers prayers and benedictions for this king. The king's greatness will be praised because he will be a monarch of justice, bringing relief to the needy and the weak. For this reason all the others nations will also give him praise.
Ephesians 3:1-12: Here Paul reveals the mystery God has hidden from previous generations. Gentiles are now to be included in salvation history. They are now heirs with the Jews of all the promises of God. Jesus' rule is all encompassing and salvation is for the entire world.
Matthew 2:1-12: Magi from the east were possibly astrologers or priests from Persia. They had seen a cosmic sign that was so compelling that they felt they needed to follow it. They arrive at the Christ child bringing expensive, yet symbolic gifts. Gold is an appropriate gift for a king. Frankincense would be used for the anointing of a priest. Myrrh was used for burial. All these gifts laud Christ's ministry as king, priest, and saviour.
Scripture Summary For the Baptism of Jesus – Year C (Jan 9) – Reflections by Rev. Shelley
Isaiah 43:1-7: In one of Isaiah's great passages we hear of God's fierce loyalty and commitment to his people. Originally addressed to the Israelites in captivity in Babylon, these words have brought comfort and solace to individuals, synagogues, and churches as well for the last 3,000 years. God creates us, forms us, names us and promises to be with us through all the perils that life holds. Why? Because “we are precious in God's sight, and honoured, and loved”.
Psalm 29: Here we encounter the voice of God. By the mere speaking of a word God changes the world. God's powerful and majestic voice causes nature to shake – bending branches and bringing fire and flood. He also playfully makes lands and constellations skip and frolic. God is so powerful that He contains the the chaos of flood by placing his throne right on top of it. The psalmist can only ask one thing of this supreme being - “may the Lord give strength to his people! May the Lord bless his people with peace!”
Acts 8: 14-17: In four short verses Luke shows the ultimate fulfillment of his baptism story in the gospel reading. The coming of the Holy Spirit would not be limited to Jesus' ministry but would be given to all his followers as well. Again the importance of prayer is emphasized. It is when the disciples prayed for the Samaritans that they received the Holy Spirit. This passage also highlights our Epiphany theme of the spread of the gospel to Gentiles.
Luke 3:15-17, 21-22: Luke presents a very terse version of Jesus' baptism. Jesus is totally identified with humanity – they make their way to John's baptism, Jesus does too. One of Luke's central themes is mentioned here – the importance of prayer. It is when Jesus prays that the Holy Spirit descends on him in the form of a dove.
Scripture Summary For 2nd Sunday after Epiphany – Year C (Jan 16) – Reflections by Rev. Shelley
Isaiah 62:1-5: Isaiah uses the language of love to describe God's commitment to his people. God is tireless on their behalf. God will replace all the names of reproach that others have heaped on the people: forsaken, desolate; and replace them with new names. My delight is in her, crown of beauty; these will describe the new Israel.
Psalm 36:5-10: This Psalm is a psalm of praise and thanksgiving. Even the cosmos cannot contain God's love and faithfulness. From the highest mountains to the depth of the sea – that is the scope of God's righteous judgements. He cares for humanity and for animals. He provides delightful food and drink for all. God's light allows us to dwell in light. The psalmist concludes by asking God to continue to provide this love to all of us.
I Corinthians 12:1-11: Paul reminds the quarreling church in Corinth that their gifts and skills have been given to them by the Holy Spirit. It is this same Spirit that gifts all of their members. Wisdom, discernment, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, tongues and their interpretation. These are not ours, but given to us by God's spirit. They are given not for our selfish gain, but to build up the body of Christ.
John 2: 1-11: St. John records Jesus' first miracle. It is not a healing but providing wine for a wedding. The family's resources had finished and Jesus provides more and better wine. Guests are happy and those is charge are left wondering about where this wine came from. It is only the servants; intent on obeying Jesus' instructions and taking care of the needs of the guests, who were in on the secret. John said that this was a “sign” pointing us to Jesus' true identity. “He did this..and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him”.
Scripture Summary For 3rd Sunday after Epiphany – Year C (Jan 23) – Reflections by Rev. Shelley
Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10: The exiled Israelites have returned from their Babylonian captivity. The Temple is being rebuilt and the wall surrounding Jerusalem is being restored. Yet twice the people weep-when they compare their new Temple with the grandeur of Solomon's edifice, and here, when they hear God's word read freely in their homeland. Nehemiah and Ezra encourage the people to rejoice instead. God has done great things for them. It's time to be merry for “the joy of the Lord is their (our) strength.
Psalm 19: God has many ways of speaking. Here the Psalmist poetically states that the cosmos itself is pouring forth speech. Night and day it speaks to us of the beauty and knowledge of God. In the middle of the Psalm the writer changes gears and begins to rhapsodize about the Law of the Lord. Its beauty and perfection brings any of us who study it to perfection and joy. The psalm ends with the famous words that we often use before we study God's word together. “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer”.
I Corinthians 12: 12-31a: St. Paul continues his analogy of the church as the body of Christ. God has arranged this body so that all the members are needed and have a purpose in the smooth functioning of the whole. Every person is precious. Saying that you are not part of the body does not mean that you are not. It simply means that the body of Christ will be missing a vital part. This is true because by the power of the Holy Spirit we were baptized into this mystical body.
Luke 4:14-21: Jesus begins his ministry by returning to his home town. All eyes are on him. He does what has been his custom-he goes to the local synagogue. He is given the privilege of reading the Scripture and the passage he chooses is from Isaiah. Prisoners freed. Blind given sight. Then he drops the bombshell. He applies these actions to himself. “Today, this Scripture is fulfilled in your sight”.
Scripture Summary for the 4th Sunday after Epiphany – Year C (January 30) – Reflections by Rev. Shelley
Jeremiah 1:4-10: This is a traditional “call” story, giving us the background to the calling into service of one of God's great prophets. Jeremiah was a young man living in a country about to be overrun by the juggernaut of war. Into this setting God speaks. According to the text, God is not looking for an eloquent speaker. God chooses Jeremiah while still in the womb. Jeremiah feels unworthy of this calling. “I can't do it” is his basic response. Yet God persists with words of assurance, and with a touch of his hand. Jeremiah will go through a rough time in the years ahead, but his two writings in the Bible (Jeremiah and Lamentations) will bring comfort and strength to generations that follow.
Psalm 71: 1-6: Here the Psalmist pleads for God's help. He has trusted God from his birth on, and now needs assistance. Wicked and cruel people are pursuing him, and he needs God to be a strong garrison or fortress against them. There is only one place that help will come from, and that is God. If the Psalmist is rescued, then he will continually praise God.
1 Corinthians 13:1-13: We are used to hearing these words at weddings, but in context, St. Paul sandwiches his thoughts on agape love between his practical theology on spiritual gifts. You can have all the talents, skills and giftings from God, but without love none of them count for anything. Unless your talents are used for the building up of the entire enterprise (the spiritual body of believers), and done in love, it is all just noise. Paul describes what this love looks like. There is nothing about romantic thoughts and good wishes. Real love is characterized by the fruits of God's spirit: patience, endurance, kindness, humility, hopefulness, truth. By God's spirit we can all strive for this “more excellent way”.
Luke 4:21-30: After Jesus has spoken in his hometown synagogue we begin to see peoples' reaction. “Isn't this Joseph's son? Initial pleasure and joy are replaced by jealousy and envy. Jesus is also very strong in this passage, and does not attempt to placate the worshipers. Jesus cites the many “outsiders” who had greater faith than the “insiders”. This infuriates the people even further and by the end of the chapter, they are attempting to murder him by throwing him off a brow of a high hill. But he “passed through the midst of them and went on his way.” It will not be until three years later, on another high hill, that he will allow others to bring about his death, securing salvation for the whole world.