Holy Textures is a spot for my musings on the various Biblical texts that come our way through the Revised Common Lectionary.
My goal is to provide timely, short, easy to use and faith-provoking background commentary for your sermon or bible study preparation.
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Year A - Season of Epiphany - 2023
I'm never sure when to send out this Holy Textures update preparing for Epiphany. The malls are already playing Christmas carols. And worship planners are busy with all the preparations for Advent and the celebrations of Christmas Eve and Day. Who has time or energy to give any thought to Epiphany! That is so next year.
But the gift of time is that it is so steady, so reliable. It neither rushes nor procrastinates. And. Like all epiphanies, January 6 will arrive whether we are ready or not. My prayer is that Holy Textures will help you find whatever space and place you need to continue to let the light of The Holy One's grace, peace, and love find a home in your heart. Blessings to you and those you love.
This year, the Season of Epiphany is 7 Sundays, which makes it almost as long as it can be. This is two pieces of good news for working preachers.
The first is that we can get our breath before launching into the intense work of Lent, Holy Week, and Easter.
The second is that we get a chance to do a sermon series and/or Bible study on the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew, Chapters 5, 6, and 7. Matthew's collection of these teachings of Jesus provide an excellent map of the Christian life: the attitudes, values, and behaviours we should cultivate.
But covering all of the Sermon on the Mount, means adjusting the Epiphany readings so that 6 of the 7 Sundays in Epiphany are used for the Sermon on the Mount, and that would mean opting out of using either the Baptism reading at the start, or the Transfiguration reading at the end. Or. Not using all 6 of the Sermon on the Mount readings. Here's one option:
January 6 (or Sunday, January 1, replacing Christmas 1), Epiphany Day, Matthew 2:1-12
January 8, Epiphany 1, Baptism of the Lord, Matthew 3:13-17, OR the first Sermon on the Mount text below,
January 8, Epiphany 1, Matthew 5:1-12
January 15, Epiphany 2, Matthew 5:13-20
January 22, Epiphany 3, Matthew 5:21-37
January 29, Epiphany 4, Matthew 5:38-48
February 5, Epiphany 5, Matthew 6:24-34
February 12, Epiphany 6, Matthew 7: 21-29
February 19, Transfiguration Sunday, Matthew 17:1-9
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Here are the readings as assigned by the Lectionary:
Epiphany of the Lord
January 6 or May be used on the First Sunday of January
"That this comet is understood to be a sign of the birth of a “child who has been born King of the Jews” is particularly frightening to Herod since HE is King of the Jews and this unknown child is a threat to him and his heirs."
Baptism of the Lord
January 8, 2023
"Fulfilling of righteousness requires letting go of our personal sense of what is right and proper in order to let it be God's will that is fulfilled. For Jesus, as at the end, so too at the beginning: a deep and profound aligning of his heart and will with the will and Spirit of God."
January 15, 2023
"This text has two questions and an invitation that are at the heart of the Gospel of John: What are you looking for? Where are you staying? Come and see."
January 22, 2023
"The command / invitation to Peter, Andrew, James and John is: Come, follow me. And not: I wonder if you would consider the possibility of tagging along if you have the time and it's not too inconvenient?"
January 29, 2023
"The poor, the hungry, and the sorrowing will never confuse these things as being their salvation. And THAT is the blessing. They KNOW their need of God."
February 5, 2023
"Don't think that my teachings replace or reduce the law and the prophets. And don't think you can skip the details. Details count. But something more than the details is also needed. You must align your whole self with what God desires - that is what those in Heaven are like."
February 12, 2023
"Why not take Jesus at his word? Take your offering home this week, and carry it to remind you to take safe, practical steps toward reconciliation and peace wherever there is brokenness in your life."
February 19, 2023
"Matthew 5:38-41 has a tragic history of poor translations and even worse interpretations. This passage is NOT recommending becoming a doormat; nor does it tolerate domestic violence. The translation, “Do not resist an evildoer,” fails to convey the full meaning of the underlying Greek. It would be better translated as: Do not VIOLENTLY resist an evildoer. Thus the teaching is primarily about non-violence. It is not about acquiescing to evil. Jesus then goes on to offer three quick examples of how to non-violently resist an evildoer."
Not used this year.
"Having our intentions aligned with God's desires plus trusting God frees us from being anxious / worried / fearful about what will happen next; allows us to let go of expectations."
Not used this year
"It is not enough for us to hear these words of Jesus; to study them; to be inspired by them; to have hopes / aspirations / dreams based on them. We must ACT on them; practice them; live them in our everyday lives."
February 19, 2023
"I wonder how much in our heart of hearts, we are still cheering for Jesus as the triumphant Victor, and still longing for a Messiah, when God has already given us all that God has to give: the Beloved?"
And here are the key calendar dates for 2020.