The Reverend Elizabeth Bowyer

Introduction to the readings for the fifth Sunday after Epiphany, February 8, 2015

This morning we celebrate the last Sunday in the short season of Epiphany for this year. 

In keeping with the theme of the revelation of God’s love and light in the person of Jesus, our stories from the ancient texts remind us once again of the depth and breadth of the gift of God’s providential, comforting, but also, challenging grace.

We begin with a reading from the midsection of the fortieth chapter of the book of Isaiah, verse 21-31.

….insert the reading here…

…no introduction….

Choir sings Psalm 91 “On Eagle’s Wings”

Our good news this morning consists of three stories that hang together loosely. 

The first is about the healing of Simon’s mother-in-law at her home not far from the synagogue at Capernaum. 

For all intents and purposes it appears to be a very public healing that has gathered many around the family’s door. 

The second story offers us a glimpse of how widespread word of Jesus’ capacity to heal has travelled. 

Among other things, we are told, “That evening, at sundown, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons.  And the whole city gathered around the door.” 

In the third story, we learn that Jesus has set himself apart for time with God. 

When the disciples find him at a deserted place with news that more healing is needed at Capernaum, Jesus responds this way: 

‘There is no time for staying put.  The proclamation of God’s vision of shalom for the whole world calls us still further afield!’ 

As we anticipate the annual congregational meeting after worship next Sunday, here are two questions for your consideration:

  1.  What nuggets of truth might we glean about our call to be the church in this time and in this place from today’s readings?
  2. How might the uncontainable gifts of God’s healing power and the proclamation of God’s grace as revealed in Jesus’ inform our ministries and mission in the coming year?

A reading from the gospel of Mark, Chapter One, verses 29-39. 

….reading is inserted here….

Listen to what the Spirit is saying to the church.

Thanks be to God, amen!