Sermon Notes- February 5, 2012

5th Sunday after the Epiphany- Year B

Isaiah 40:21-31
Psalm 147:1-12, 21c
1 Corinthians 9:16-23 
Mark 1:29-39

The season after the Epiphany has always been a great season to preach for me.  The theme of God as a sending and searching God resonates with me.  The Light of the World cannot be extinguished.  This week’s lessons give us another look.

  • Isaiah 40 is one of my favorite OT texts, and I would find a way to emphasize it in the liturgy and the sermon.  The last verse is found in a number of older hymns and contemporary choruses and is a serious theme for any disciple–we are in this for the long haul, and we need to know from where our strength comes–“but those who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”
  • The Psalm is the compliment to the Isaiah text–they are both songs of praise and adoration for the Creator and the Redeemer of Israel.  They are both songs for a people who had been sent into exile but are returning to their home.  These scriptures desire to be sung. If preaching from them, the preacher should find a way to catch their melody.  They are full of images and pictures…the sermon should capture them as well.
  • In the Epistle, you might say that Paul highlights his evangelism style to the Corinthians.  In current terms, he is being “incarnational”–becoming all things to all people, becoming one with the community, in order to bring Christ to the community. Paul was also offering a style of leadership that might be spoken of as “servant leadership”.  He comes with humility, not leading out of human authority, but out of service to the Gospel.  I think the Epistle offers the preacher an opportunity to speak about fresh ways of doing church, being disciples–while calling on ancient texts.
  • The Gospel Lesson is a great example of how Jesus did ministry.  Act 1:  He went with his team, those early adopters, to their homes.  Simon’s mother-in-law is sick with a fever, and with no miraculous incantations, Jesus lifts her up and she is healed.  Act 2: The news spreads, and in the evening, everyone from the area comes with their sick and demon possessed, and Jesus cured many (I think this is an important word–it does not say “all”).  Act 3: Jesus heads out to a deserted place to pray. The disciples find him, tell him everybody is searching for him, and he says–“Let’s go!” (to other places)
  • As I read the Gospels, this appears as a regular pattern–Jesus and the disciples go into homes and communities where they are welcome; they teach and heal; then retreat a bit for prayer, in order to do it all again.  This may be an opportunity to talk about being the “missional” church–The  primary reason we gather for prayer and worship is to go out in our community and the world in ministry.
  • Here are some notes on the lessons from Dan Nelson, a Lutheran pastor- Text Studies-Epiphany 5
  • Notes on all four lessons at-The Saturday Night Theologian (I think there are some interesting comments on the Gospel worth a second look)

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