Grace Notes February 10, 2019
Fifth Sunday after Epiphany
Jesus says, Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.
Caught by God’s Grace
Fishing requires patience, as Simon’s words in today’s gospel reflect: “We have worked all night long but have caught nothing” (Luke 5:5). Imagine that long night, full of silences and frustrations as nets are cast and recast, first in one place and then in another and another. Maybe these words evoke a period of long waiting in your life or something you are experiencing right now. Waiting is hard and can feel doubly so when it is marked by repeated failed attempts at something.
So, when Jesus calls his new disciples to fish for people, he is both warning them of the challenge ahead and assuring them that they are well practiced in the patience it will take. Life as a disciple is no less challenging than the rest of our lives, yet sometimes in the church we expect quicker results with less effort. The word evangelism
itself often evokes the image of a brief encounter, where a direct and focused witness leads to a quick conversion. But today’s gospel points to a different reality. Jesus calls us to be present with others, to stay by them through long days and long nights, and to cast love in many directions. When we build true and deep relationships, God will choose the right moment, like Jesus does in the gospel, to tell us when and where to drop our nets with a word of witness to the God we have come to know.
Jesus invites his disciples, including us, into a long journey with him. He calls us not to be members of a club, numbers in an attendance count, or dollars for the budget. Rather, Christ sends us to catch others up into God’s activity in the world, into the story of Jesus Christ, into lives as disciples. In worship today, let yourself be caught up into God’s grace. Then go forth to patiently cast lines of hope to those around you.
From sundaysandseasons.com. Copyright © 2018 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.
Lectionary Notes by Gail Ramshaw—Readings for Sunday, February 10
At the beginning of Jesus’ ministry in Nazareth, in a passage with no parallel in Mark or Matthew, Luke stresses Jesus’ dual focus: while teaching in a Jewish synagogue, he speaks of God’s historic care for non-Jews. Jesus compares himself with two of the central prophets and miracle-workers of Jewish tradition, Elijah and Elisha, who functioned during the reigns of lesser kings of Judah and Israel. The identification of Jesus as “Joseph’s son” suggests that during Jesus’ lifetime, no story of an extraordinary birth circulated. The attempt at assassination foreshadows Jesus’ execution. So, to summarize the excerpt: between his birth and his death, Jesus embodies God’s care for all people.
Jeremiah’s career as preacher and writer took place about 626–586 bce Accounts of his adventures and sermons, along with other material in chapters 46–52, were compiled afterward, largely by his secretary Baruch. Jeremiah railed against the people’s unfaithfulness during a period of excessive social and political unrest in the Near East, and he assured them of God’s coming judgment against them. The call of a mere boy fits with the recurrent biblical theme of God’s attention to the lowliest.
1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Paul’s emphasis on unity within the body of Christ has its apex in this much quoted praise of the loving spirit that ought to characterize the Christian community. Despite its popularity as a reading at weddings, Paul is describing not a bonded couple, but the whole community in Christ. The Greek noun agape refers to love so other-directed as to be realized only by God.
Comments from the Cloud of Witnesses
It is interesting how power weaves its way through daily routines. We find security through work and play, but we bump into some authority or other that defines our lives. We find that instead of shaping our own identity, we are being shaped by some power outside ourselves. There are authorities in the world with real power over us, and most of them function without our even knowing it. We are caught in our own nets. But the way of Christ we follow is different from all the worldly authorities. The invitation is to share in the work of Christ, to show forth God’s dominion. Interesting: such fishers can’t find a home in the world in the same old way. The old identities don’t stick with conviction any more. And yet, following Jesus leads you right back into the world, right into the thick of things, principalities and powers and all. But those authorities no longer enslave. Follow me, Jesus says. Redeem the time. In the midst of this world, join me in the Way. And in the grace of God, some drop their nets and follow. —Richard Eslinger
[Richard Eslinger, in Homilies for the Christian People
Prayer of the Day
Most holy God, the earth is filled with your glory, and before you angels and saints stand in awe. Enlarge our vision to see your power at work in the world, and by your grace make us heralds of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.
From sundaysandseasons.com. Copyright © 2018 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.
Read Every Day
Monday Psalm 115; Judges 5:1-11; 1 Corinthians 14:26-40
Tuesday Psalm 115; 1 Samuel 9:15—10:1b; 1 Timothy 3:1-9
Wednesday Psalm 115; Isaiah 8:1-15; Luke 5:27-32
Thursday Psalm 1; Jeremiah 13:12-19; Acts 13:26-34
Friday Psalm 1; Jeremiah 13:20-27; 1 Peter 1:17—2:1
Saturday Psalm 1; Jeremiah 17:1-4; Luke 11:24-28
Sunday Sixth Sunday after Epiphany
Jeremiah 17:5-10; Psalm 1; 1 Corinthians 15:12-20; Luke 6:17-26
Cyril, monk, died 869; Methodius, bishop, died 885; missionaries to the Slavs
Thursday, February 14, 2019
These two brothers from Thessalonika, Greece, were monks and were sent to bring Christianity to the Slavic people. In the course of their work they created a written language, inventing the Cyrillic alphabet for it, and translated the Bible and the liturgy.
From sundaysandseasons.com. Copyright © 2018 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission
Taking faith home
Caring Conversations: Discuss in your household or small group:
• What makes you scared or afraid? • Read Luke 5:1-11. Why was Simon Peter afraid? What was Jesus’ response? • Jesus calls his followers to be “fishers of people”? What does this mean to you?
Jesus calls his followers to be “fishers of people” - to cast his Word into the world so that others are drawn to him. In your home devotion times this week, pray by name for up to three people in your circle of friends or relatives who do not know and follow Christ. Pray that God will be able to use you and others as an influence in their lives, and that they are brought to faith in him.
Consider performing one of these “random acts of kindness” for others during this next week (or even better, think up one yourselves!): • Offer your mail carrier a refreshing drink, a kind word or a thank you note. • Pick up any litter you see as you go through the day. • Leave a bouquet of flowers on someone’s front door step. • Buy a balloon bouquet and ask the nurses at a children’s hospital to deliver it to a child. • Clean up the yard or garden of someone who is elderly, sick or busy with small children. • Send a thinking-of-you card to someone you know who is struggling. • Call a friend or relative and tell them why you love them.
Rituals and Traditions:
God places his call upon the lives of all Christians, whether they are fisherfolk, preschool children, tradespeople or businesspeople. Take some time to bless and send one another as disciples of Jesus into the various settings in which you live and/or work. Use the following words of blessing and sending based on Isaiah 6.
Leader: God is seeking to send someone into ______________ (name of workplace, school, college, community group) as his representative. Who will go for him? Response of household member: Here am I – Send me! Household members place their arms on the back/shoulder of the person as the following blessing is given: May God make you courageous, strong and wise in sharing him with others. May he bless as you his servant at ______________ (name of workplace, school, college, community group), giving you all you need to do his will. Amen.
Verse for the Week:
Then I heard the voice of the Lord. He said, “Who will I send? Who will go for us?” I said, “Here I am. Send me!” - Isaiah 6:8 (NIRV)
Prayer for this Week
: Lord Jesus, take away my fears. Make me a fisher of people. Amen. (Luke 5:10)
For Throughout the Day:
Here am I, Lord. Send me to do your work. Amen. (Isaiah 6:8)
© 2009 Vibrant Faith Ministries. All rights reserved. Written by Pr. Greg Priebbenow and edited by Vibrant Faith Ministries
Pray Without Ceasing
Mighty God, in whom we know the power of redemption, you stand among us in the shadows of our time. As we move through every sorrow and trial of this life, uphold us with knowledge of the final morning when, in the glorious presence of your risen Son, we will share in his resurrection, redeemed and restored to the fullness of life and forever freed to be your people. Amen.
Almighty God, you have given us this good land as our heritage. Make us always remember your generosity and constantly do your will. Bless our land with honesty in the workplace, truth in education, and honor in daily life. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogance; and from every evil course of action. When times are prosperous, let our hearts be thankful; and, in troubled times, do not let our trust in you fail. We pray in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.
ELCA and NWPA Synod and our Bishops, Bishop Elizabeth Eaton and Bishop Ralph Jones
Our Companion Synods, Protestant Church in Central Germany and Evangelical Lutheran Church Tanzania, Karagwe Diocese
Loving God, we come to you trusting in your mercy and knowing that your steadfast love endures forever. Look with mercy on those who are homeless, hungry, cold, ill, addicted and those who work and volunteer on their behalf. Protect the under employed and the unemployed, the uninsured and the under insured.
Sustain this congregation with your Word and Holy Sacraments. Increase in us the urgency of proclaiming the good news of your love for all in Christ Jesus. Bring into our fellowship those who need your Means of Grace. Reveal to us those in doubt and fear, those who are broken, and those who see your presence. Increase our fellowship that we may extend your grace to more and more who are in need of your care.
Gracious God, out of your love and mercy you breathed into dust the breath of life, creating us to serve you and our neighbors. Call forth our prayers and acts of kindness, and strengthen us to face our mortality with confidence in the mercy of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Praise God, from whom all blessings flow; Praise him, all creatures here below; Praise him above, you heavenly hosts. Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.
LUTHER’S MORNING PRAYER
I thank you, heavenly Father, through your dear Son, Jesus Christ, that you have protected me through the night from all harm and danger, I ask you to keep me this day, too, from all sin and evil, so that in all my thoughts, words and deeds I may please you. In your hands I place my body and soul and all that is mine. Let your holy angel be with me, so that the evil one may have no power over me. Amen.
LUTHER’S EVENING PRAYER
I thank you, heavenly Father, through your dear Son, Jesus Christ, that you have graciously protected me today. I ask you to forgive all my sins and the wrong which I have done. And graciously keep me this night. In your hands I place my body and soul and all that is mine. Let your holy angel be with me, so that the evil one may have no power over me. Amen.
THIS WEEK AT GRACE
Sunday Worship, February 10 8:30AM and 11:00AM Holy Communion
Communion Assistant Norma Knapp
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