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Reflections, Images, and Videos for the Second Sunday after Epiphany

January 16, 2017

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Embedded below are the videos we watched before our 10 a.m. Service on January 15 to help prepare us for worship.

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Here’s the Gospel passage we read at both 8:30 and 10 a.m. Services. Note how this depiction has Andrew run to tell his brother Simon about Jesus.

I like the way that the following depiction of our Gospel passage shows the excitement the Andrew and the other disciple must have felt to be invited by Jesus to “come and see” where he was staying.

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[Here are some excerpts from the sermon at our January 15 Services.]

I’d like to begin the sermon with a clip about the US Affordable Care Act in action from the well-known left-wing, pro-Obama media source Fox News.

When we have Good News of life, we want to share it. And when we do, we’ll find people we may have thought would be opposed to be receptive.

We’re in the middle of the Epiphany Season, in which we focus on the Light shining and spreading. Part of our focus in this Season is the role we can play to help Jesus be made manifest to people through evangelism: sharing the Good News.

1b665cb08c31487cdfd965d065c84e4cThere are two kinds of evangelism. First, there’s what we could call objective evangelism: the presentation of the basic Gospel message that sets forth how God created the world and redeems it through Jesus. We see a great example of this in Peter’s preaching in our Acts 10 passage last week. John the Baptist in today’s Gospel engages in objective evangelism, when he says: “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” John uses Passover imagery to talk about who Jesus is and what he does for us. Further on, John says, “He is the one who baptizes [saturates, floods] with the Holy Spirit.” Objective evangelism shares how Jesus brings life to the world

71y8jsijtil61r848hffnlsimply-christianIt’s important to learn this objective Gospel message. The Book Nook outside my office has several books that can help us do that, and I commend them to anyone who’d like to get a firmer grasp on the essentials of the Gospel.  

But our Gospel today shows us a second way of bearing witness that many find less intimidating. It’s something we all can do, what we could call subjective evangelism: telling our story, like the heart patient in the video.

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Subjective evangelism, as D. T. Niles famously said, is “one beggar telling another” where they’ve found bread – the Bread of life.

432544817-templeIn our Gospel passage, we see this kind of sharing by Andrew, after he’s spent the day with Jesus: “He first found his brother Simon [i.e., “The first thing he did was find his brother Simon”], and [he] said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah.’ He brought Simon to Jesus.” William Temple, commenting on the last sentence, wrote: “The greatest service that one man can do another.” We have the measureless privilege of helping bring people to Jesus, as we share the story of how we’ve found life in him.

nestIt’s not only an individual thing, though. We live out the call to discipleship with others – the Church. Andrew said: “We have found the Messiah.” His invitation was: “Come and see Jesus with us, in our midst!” This is the same toddlers2invitation we can make as members of St. Paul’s. “Come and see Jesus Present in our midst,” we can say, “as we live out life in worship, teaching, fellowship, and outreach as his disciples.” I’m always struck by how Our Lord has been actively moving in our midst when I read through our Annual Meeting Reports this time of year, in preparation for our Annual Meeting. I invite us all to read them and see if we’re not filled with this same conviction. 

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Epiphany is all about the light of Jesus shining forth, revealing his glory. This light shines in our hearts, and then through us to the world. It’s the light of love – for Our Lord, one another, and the whole world. Simply by being who we are, by showing what it’s like to go through life with Jesus, we’re offering the invitation: “Come and see Jesus at work in and through us.” 

I began this sermon with the story of a saved life. I’ll end with another.

People are freezing to death, fallen, paralyzed. Let’s care enough to be faithful companions on the journey, who risk drawing close, so that they may experience the warmth of Jesus’ love through us, for our mutual blessing, and Our Lord’s everlasting praise. Amen.

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At our 10 a.m. Service, we resumed showing Stewardship talks on our screens. We watched the following video just before our Offertory Hymn. 

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We left our Services with a message of Good News to embody and share in word and deed with all with whom we come in contact. The following videos, which played after our 10 a.m. Service, pour out our praise to the One whose Light illumines our lives.

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