The Season after the Epiphany always takes the Church on journey of what it means to follow Jesus, the Light to the whole world. Jesus is not confined to his own people, but is shared with every living being. Usually on the Second Sunday after the Epiphany we are confronted with call in the lessons. So we have the call of Samuel from the OT and the call of Philip and Nathanael in the Gospel. Take a look at the Corinthian passage, though I know I would not be preaching it on this Sunday.
- The lesson from 1 Samuel is one of the best call stories in the scriptures. It has some classic features: 1) God calls the ones you would never expect (a boy that has no experience per se); 2) The person being called is not sure who is calling–if Samuel was texting he might say-“WTH?”; 3) The person being called is called by name–it is not some general call in the universe, it is very specific; 4) The person being called goes to an elder to get some advice–Eli tells him-“say, speak, for your servant is listening.” Pretty good advice; 5) God gives the near impossible word or task–everyone’s ears will tingle (maybe even burn)–Eli’s house is up a creek; 6) Samuel tells Eli everything that God told him (unlike many call stories, Samuel doesn’t say-“I can’t do what you told me to do–maybe because he was too young to know that he couldn’t; 7)Samuel grows up and is known as a trustworthy prophet. This is a story that is great to tell–and it will preach to a congregation of folks who don’t know just how significant their call is.
- The Psalm is a compliment to the OT Lesson and speaks of the specificity by which God calls all of us. We are known intimately by the One who created us. We are known even in the womb for goodness sake. If God knows us this well, then God can call us to specific things. I recommend finding a way to weave the Psalm into the worship and proclamation this Sunday.
- The body as the temple of God is the theme of the Epistle, and the reading goes into all kinds of specificity. I know that what Paul is trying to tell the Corinthians is that their faith is to be incarnational–lived in the world. If we are going to live as God’s children in the world, we should live the Gospel in the flesh.
- The Gospel Lesson is John’s second call story (the passage just before it is the calling of Simon Peter and Andrew). The calling of Philip and Nathanael is not unlike other call stories in the Gospel, though this one has some unique features. Philip hears the invitation–Follow me–Philip goes to tell Nathanael that they have found this one who we’ve been anticipating–and Nathanael says–“What good could come from Nazareth?” (Another way of saying–“This guy is from the sticks, no way he is who we are looking for”) Philip responds with “Come and see.” Notice that in the rest of the reading, Jesus intimately knows Nathanael–saw him sitting under a fig tree–greater things than this are about to happen according to Jesus.
- Take a look at these text notes–Dan Nelson’s Text Notes
- Working Preacher has some good notes for all four lessons at Preaching this Week
- Ralph Milton’s Rumors offers some related humor
- Posted in: Proclamatio