The readings for Sunday, January 15, 2017:
First Reading: Isaiah 49:1-7
Psalm: Psalm 40:1-12 (Psalm 40:1-11 NRSV)
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:1-9
Gospel: John 1:29-42
Today's Gospel continues the story of Jesus' baptism, and it has lessons for each of us. Notice that Jesus doesn't get baptized and go home to sit on the sofa. He doesn't say, "Well, I'm glad I got that spiritual landmark over with. Now I don't have to do anything else until I die and get to go to Heaven."
No. Jesus goes out and tackles his mission. What is his mission? The same as ours: to proclaim that the Kingdom of God is revealing itself right here, right now, that God is breaking through our mundane daily life to transform us into better people in a better world.
But notice that Jesus doesn't go around yakking about this all the time. He's not the type of guy that drives most of us crazy, all talk and no follow through. When people ask about his mission, he says, "Come and see."
And what will people see? They will see a man healing the sick, comforting the poor in spirit, feeding the poor in wealth, eating with the outcast, and supporting the lowest people in society's social stratum: women, children, demon possessed, tax collectors, the diseased, and the like. They will see a man who sacrifices his social life and prospects for a long life so that other lives will have improvement. They will see a man of constant movement.
What do people see when they look at our lives? I've said it before, but it bears repeating: people pay attention to our actions. If our actions don't match our words, people don't accept our words. But it's worse: people see us as hypocrites, one of those Christian types they hate so much. But wait, it's even worse: if our actions habitually don't match our words, people begin to assume that ALL Christians are hypocrites.
It's tough, this mission of being God's hands in a world that needs so much. So, let's start with a simple approach. Each morning, ask God to help you be the light of the world today. Remember that the world watches you, waiting for your light. Remember that when your light shines, other people feel better about being people of the sun. Forgive yourself for days when you're a dimly burning wick (to use the words of Isaiah's, in last week's readings) and remember that God does not extinguish a dimly burning wick. Even a dimly burning wick is better than no light at all.
Martin Luther said that faith should move your feet. We are called to be Movement People. And even the smallest movements can lead to great changes down the road.
feeling the feelings…
10 months ago