Readings for Epiphany 3

Luke 4:16-30; 1 Corinthians 12:12-31; Nehemiah 8:1-10

“I believe in…the holy Christian Church”. We say these words every time we confess the Apostles Creed. Do we realize the significance of what we’re saying? 

Each of Sunday’s Scripture readings has something to do with what it means to be and live as God’s people (aka “Church”). In the Gospel lesson, Jesus preaches at a synagogue in his hometown and is run out of town afterwards. What was so scandalous about his sermon? It was the idea that God might show favor to someone other than Israel. God’s Church is bigger than any one denomination, country, or culture (Luke 4).

The apostle Paul uses a metaphor of the human body to teach us about Church in the epistle lesson. Here we learn that a healthy congregation is one that recognizes a diversity of gifts among its members. It’s about community, not competition (1 Cor 12). The Old Testament lesson is a good reminder of where a congregation finds its true joy and strength – in hearing God’s Word read and clearly explained for them. Preachers, take note! (Neh 8). “The joy of the LORD is your strength!”