Give us grace, O Lord, to answer readily the call of our Savior Jesus Christ and
proclaim to all people the Good News of his salvation, that we and the whole
world may perceive the glory of his marvelous works; who lives and reigns with
you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in your
sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.
For the joy of the LORD is your strength.
The day of the Lord, the day he renews his covenant, is a day of feasting and of
celebration. In Christ we can lift our heads up and be glad. God has established
his reign in the proclaiming of the good news. It has begun! These are early
days, yes, but the bud is there, the flower to follow, and the ripened fruit
will surely come. What God has put in train with this inaugural proclamation he
will see through to perfection.
When Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, most of its
beneficiaries heard of it only slowly. Its effects were not immediately felt -
or were they? As word spread, rejoicing spread, and the dawn of a new
consciousness: you are no longer subject to the powers that be, the domination
system of the old world order you knew. Something new has come: and you can
start living as part of it. Live into the kingdom as if it were already here,
because in a sense, it is! It is on its way.
Over the months that followed the Emancipation Proclamation, thousands of freed
slaves made their way to Union lines, and regiment after regiment was formed of
volunteers ready for the campaign to bring freedom to the land and to their
people. It was not easy; it is not yet over; but it has begun, and it has
already gone far beyond the words of the initial proclamation that got things
Even so, Jesus laid out his program, turning water into wine, proclaiming
release to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind, freedom to the
oppressed, and for everyone the year of Jubilee, the year of celebration, of
restoration of right relationships, between people and between God and the
people of God. Justice and peace join hands.
This is the acceptable year of the Lord.
And so today, in this present moment, you and I are confronted with a challenge,
the call indeed to radical obedience, because in this present moment is our
freedom. We receive the call to act, to declare ourselves true servants of the
reign of God.
What form this action will take varies for each of us. Each of us is called to a
different task, for each of us is given a different gift. The Spirit portions
out from the royal treasury - the royal armory - what God chooses for each of
us, giving to one the gift - and duty - of prophetic, instructional speech, to
another organizing, and another the doing of helpful deeds, to further the
kingdom of God. Some gifts are more prominent than others.
But perhaps we honor most those we least like to see, as God calls us again
through prophets, like Abraham Lincoln and like Martin Luther King, again to
renew our commitment to God's kingdom, and renew our joy, and in the joy of the
Lord renew our strength.
We may not always feel much like being together. As they wandered through the
desert, from Egypt to the Promised Land, the people of Israel surely did not all
get along. Some of us feel like leaving when things are not going well or we do
not feel recognized; when there is a mountain between us and the promised land,
or if we have run out of manna for the day, or if the other guy is getting honor
we want to deserve; we may feel it is time to cut and run.
But on this campaign we are all called, we are all on God's mission. It is his
mighty hand that renews us. He himself has taken the hard road, to lead us and
show us the way. Before us, behind us, around us, within us, shines the Spirit
of the Lord, and he will never leave us until we are home in God's Kingdom, the
kingdom of peace and justice forever. It is for each of us to act, now, as
members of that kingdom, to bring forth fruits worthy of repentance that
manifest its presence, its reality, in our world today. It is for each of us, in
our own way, with our own gifts in the Spirit, gifts given us not as rewards,
perhaps as surprises, certainly to equip us, to work together, campaign
together, for the common god and the glory of God.
Our Savior declared the good news to us,
Filled with the power of the Spirit.
It is the holy breath, the ruach, the wind of the Lord,
overwhelming, irresistible, implacable, empowering;
like a tide in the affairs of men.
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.
TODAY, in the present moment - the moment of FREEDOM,
This Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.
"Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."
Today this Scripture is fulfilled in our hearing: in the words of our mouths,
the meditation of our hearts, and the actions of our lives. Amen.
CEpiphany3 BCP JRL
1 Corinthians 12:12-27
January 20, 2007, Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, Willows California.