St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church celebrated the Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany with Reverend James Abernathy as pastor. Neil Nichols served as the Lay Minister. The Readers were Arthur Clark, Jose Ramirez, and David Maitland.
The First Reading was Jeremiah 1:4-10. Jeremiah tells how the Lord called him to prophesize. He felt like he was too young and did not have the necessary knowledge. God assured him that he would give him the words to speak and the power to do the work required. In today’s Psalm 71 it states, “For you are my hope, O Lord God, my confidence since I was young.”
The Second Reading was 1 Corinthians 13:1-13. Paul expresses the importance of love in our lives. He describes its meaning and how it must be the root of all of our actions. We do not know everything now, but when we are with God in heaven we will see and understand it all. “And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.”
Reverend Abernathy read the Gospel according to Luke 4:21-30. This passage continues from last week’s reading where Jesus was reading the scroll in the synagogue in Nazareth. He had read from the prophet Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.” The Jews were amazed at his words but he continued to tell them that he was not on earth to serve only the Jews, but all the people. This angered them for they considered themselves the “chosen ones” and his words implied that God cared for everyone equally.
Reverend Abernathy spoke of Paul’s soliloquy of the greatness of love. There are many dimensions of love, but he was speaking of the enduring and lasting love that we should share with God and all mankind. As God shows an unconditional love for us, we are to do the same for others. Without love, all else is meaningless.
In the Gospel of Luke it relates how Jesus has returned to his hometown of Nazareth and goes to the synagogue to read the scroll. The Jews had a difficult time understanding the greatness of Jesus for they knew him as the son of Joseph and had seen him grow up there. However his words amazed them and at first they were very pleased with him. Then Jesus indicated that He was sent by God to save the world not just the Jews, and they became angry with him. They wanted to continue their ways of the scripture to live by the law and not include the gentiles. The gentiles did not keep their laws but lived differently. The Jews were God’s “chosen ones,” and why should the gentiles also be able to inherit the kingdom of God.
Reverend Abernathy said, “God is God, not us. We belong to God and we cannot get rid of him.” We were bought with a price; Jesus’ body and blood. We remember this sacrifice each Sunday as we celebrate the Eucharist. We receive his Word and know that he is in us. Christ opened the door for all people. We live by the Word of God.
Next Sunday St. Matthew’s will have Reverend Gary Gooch as pastor at the 9:00 a.m. service. On Tuesday, Feb. 12, we will have a pancake supper to celebrate Shrove Tuesday. Wednesday evening we will have an Ash Wednesday service to begin our Lenten season. All are welcome to join us in these activities. Scan and visit our PIM web site.