Readings for the Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany

Isaiah 6:1-8; 1 Corinthians 14:12b-20; Luke 5:1-11

Drafted! Today’s military men and women sign up voluntarily to serve their country. But many of our veterans had a different experience. Due to an urgent national need, they found themselves compelled to serve by a higher authority.

In similar fashion Peter, James and John didn’t exactly volunteer to become Jesus’ disciples. Like so many followers before and since, these blue-collar fishermen didn’t feel qualified to work for God. Jesus chose them anyway, with a miracle to demonstrate that the success of their work rested not on their abilities, but on the superior power of God’s Son. Today there is an urgent need for people to hear the Gospel; we have all been drafted as witnesses (Lk 5).

Isaiah’s call to be a prophet echoes last week’s call of Jeremiah in many ways. Isaiah thinks he’s about to die for his sins – unworthy as he is to behold the face of God. God takes care of that problem with a burning coal – a sign of atonement. Emboldened by this gift of grace, Isaiah answers the call – Here I am – send me! (Is 6)

In our epistle, Paul explains that worship is a corporate, not an individualized, activity. What is done in worship should aim at the edification and instruction of all who are in attendance (1Cor 14).