Happy New Year Everyone,
As you celebrate the arrival of the New Year, please be safe. Remember, if you drive don’t drink and if you drink don’t drive. As I said in church on Sunday, I don’t want to be visiting you in the hospital or conducting your funeral. So, with that sobering thought, Happy New Year!
Due to the extreme cold and the fact that I worked last Monday, December 23, my usual day off, I will be working from home today. Tasks at hand include writing this email, posting it to my blog site (where you are now) and writing my newsletter article.
Speaking of which, the newsletter should be out by Friday, January 3. If you have any items for the newsletter please send it in for Suzann, firstname.lastname@example.org.
This coming Sunday is known as either “The 2nd Sunday of Christmas” or “Epiphany Sunday” each with a set of readings. We, however, are celebrating “Covenant Renewal Sunday” and will be using a different set of Bible readings.
Our Readings for the Covenant Renewal Service:
Joshua 24:14-15 – Whom will you choose: God or the gods of money and power?
1 John 1:5-2:6 – God is Light and in God there is no darkness. Living in the Light means fellowship with each other. Claiming to be sinless we confirm that we still sin, but with confession God forgives.
John 13:12-19, 31-35 – We are to wash each other’s feet and follow Jesus’ commandment: love each other. By this the world will know that we are followers of Christ and that a new way of life is available to all: the way of love.
Readings for the 2nd Sunday of Christmas:
Jeremiah 31:7-14 – The Lord will gather all the scattered people of Israel and mourning with be turned to laughter and sadness into joy.
OR Sirach 24:1-12 – Wisdom, here as in Proverbs depicted as a woman, comes from God and exists with God from before the beginning. With God, Wisdom created all thing. Compare this with the Gospel of John reading below.
Psalm 147:12-20 – Worship God because God’s Word makes all things in creation happen!
OR Wisdom of Solomon 10:15-21 – Wisdom, again a women, entered a man (implying Moses), helped him perform signs and wonders, led the people to and across the Red Sea, and destroyed (killed) the enemy. The people then praised the Lord.
Ephesians 1:3-14 – There is a lot going on in this passage so please read it slowly and carefully. God chose Christ from before creation to be our Savior through his blood so that we are adopted to be brothers and sisters of Christ and in turn we will receive an inheritance, of which, the Holy Spirit is the down payment. Whew!
John 1:(1-9) 10-18 – In the beginning was the Word. All thing were created by the Word. The Word became flesh, lived with us, and was rejected by us. The Word was the Light that shines in the darkness.
[Note: Sirach and Wisdom of Solomon can be found in Catholic Bibles or Bibles with the Apocrypha]
Readings for Epiphany Sunday:
Isaiah 60:1-6 – The Light has arrived and all will see it. I detect a theme with the readings above.
Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14 – You may as well read the entire Psalm. It starts off saying “of Solomon” and ends with “the prayers of David are ended.” This psalm may have been David’s prayer that Solomon, his son, would rule with kindness, justice, and fairness, so that all nations would revere him.
Ephesians 3:1-12 – This passage continues the theme discussed in our reading from Ephesians 1 above. We now have a responsibility to share, distribute, or witness to God’s grace given in Jesus Christ. This fulfills God’s (hidden?) plan that all should be redeemed and made whole.
Matthew 2:1-12 – The visit of the magi who come with three gifts. Why the three gifts? What do you think Joseph, Mary, and Jesus lived on in Egypt the years they were there.
There is a lot to read this week but you will be blessed if you take the time to immerse yourself in God’s Word.
Peace in Christ,