The Declaration

The Declaration

Third Sunday After the Epiphany

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Service Booklet

This Sunday’s Readings

Gospel: Luke 4:14-21

14Then Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country. 15He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone. 16When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read,17and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: 18“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, 19to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” 20And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

Afterthoughts: All Hands On Deck

Yesterday’s readings invite us to:

Declare the Greatness of God.
When you go to a good restaurant, do you tell your friends? When you find a favorite store, do you tell your friends about it? So much around us, from the beauty of creation to the creativeness of those God has created are reasons to say thank you to God and remind others to do the same. As I shared yesterday in the sermon, even a friend who is not religious said, when looking at the beautiful sunset, “You can’t tell me God doesn’t exist when I see a sunset like this.”
Do we see God’s goodness around us?
Do we tell those we love about this goodness?
Do we live our lives like we believe that God is good?

Exercise our God-given gifts.
You and I, WE, are given gifts as a part of God’s grace and mercy. These gifts, spiritual gifts, are meant to be used to bring God’s love to the world. And even though we do not all have the same gifts, we are a part of a group that is intended to work together; Paul refers to it as the Body of Christ.
What are those things that we have,
unique to us,
that God is calling us to use to be love in this world?

Invite others into abundant living.
There are many ways to live this life. Jesus calls us to abundant living; a kind of living that recognizes not all paths are the same and not all paths bring us the fulfillment that the path of faith does. When I say “Invite others into abundant living,” I am not saying “Invite others to church.” Life is intended to be lived relationally. Our invitation to others is best seen by living the abundant life ourselves.
This means an examination of our lives.
What are the important things to us?
How do we deal with risk?
How do we deal with disappointment?
How do we see hope in times where hope seems dim?

Become agents of change.
In Luke 14, Jesus proclaims

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Jesus would a bring a major change to life.
He was anointed by God to free people from themselves and their sin, allowing them to live life freely as a part of the family of God.

This change,
ushered in by the declaration of the Christ,
beckons us to be agents of change.

We are invited into the “family business” to call others to freedom and a life of faith. We are now the embodiment of the words of the prophet Isaiah that Jesus used to usher in this New Kingdom.
Teresa of Avila sums up the call to all who are on the path of faith:

Christ has no body now but yours.
No hands, no feet on earth but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world.
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good.
Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands,
yours are the feet,
yours are the eyes,
you are his body.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.”

God’s work in the world is done
by the hands of those who are a part of the family of God.

Scripture says we are the salt.
A valuable preservative to sustain life.

We are the light.
A way to see clearly where the path may not be so clear.

We are the hands.
A caring touch in the lives of those who struggle
and a helping hand to those in need.

We are the feet.
Responding to the call of others and sitting with them in their space to bring peace in the midst of chaos.

Our very presence is meant to change lives,
starting with our own,
but radiating outward to change the lives of others.

Brothers and sisters,
Let us be the change the world longs for.
Let us be the peace that has so changed our own lives.
Let us be the love that has come to save us.