Bible readings & reflections

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Weekly Bible Readings and Reflections

3rd Sunday after Epiphany - 23 January 2022

THOUGHTS FOR THIS WEEK

Readings

Nehemiah 8.1-3,5-6,8-10: Ezra reads the book of the law to the people. They respond in remorse, but Nehemiah encourages them to be joyful and to celebrate.

Psalm 19: A celebration of God’s word, proclaimed and revealed in creation, which makes naive people wise, which gladdens the heart, which gives light to see by, and which is a valuable treasure.

1 Corinthians 12.12-31: Paul teaches that the Christian community is like a body with many parts. Each has a gift, and each must use their unique gift for the benefit of the “Body of Christ”.

Luke 4.14-21: Jesus reads from Isaiah’s scroll about God’s anointing for ministry, and God’s liberating work through God’s anointed. Then, he claims this prophecy for himself.

Rev Tania writes:

The readings this week offer a range of options for themes.

There is the word of God, revealed in creation and through the book of the law. There is the mission of Christ proclaimed in his reading of the scroll from Isaiah. And there is the call for us to be the body of Christ, working together with each part taking their place.

All of these ideas come together in the theme of purpose and call. We are all recipients of God’s calling word, and we are all called to participate in Christ’s mission. To do this work, we need to collaborate and each take our place in the body.

In a world that can sometimes seem so random, this week in the 3rd week of Epiphany gives us a vision of purpose.

God’s purpose – God’s message – was read from the book of the law by Ezra to God’s people. It is proclaimed, as the Psalmist declares, through all of creation. And it was the guiding force in Jesus’ life and ministry. As he began his work, he proclaimed as his mandate the words of Isaiah’s prophecy – God’s saving and liberating “Jubilee” purpose.

Now, as those who follow Christ, we are called, individually and together, to fulfil Christ’s purpose, in our world and in our time. To do this, God has gifted each of us, and called us to work together as one Body, as Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 12.

Hearing God’s word, allowing it to call and direct us, and working together as a body, a called community – these are the elements of this week’s theme.

May our worship this week reignite our sense of call, and teach us to find our place in God’s called community.

In prayer, Rev Tania.