Second Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B   17 comments

Above:  The Right Reverend Keith Whitmore, Assistant Bishop of Atlanta, at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church, April 25, 2010

Image Source = Bill Monk, Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta

The Call of Discipleship

JANUARY 14, 2018

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1 Samuel 3:1-20 (New Revised Standard Version):

Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the LORD under Eli.  The word of the LORD was rare in those days; visions were not widespread.

At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his room; the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was.  Then the LORD called,

Samuel! Samuel!

and he said,

Here I am!

and ran to Eli, and said,

Here I am, for you called me.

But he said,

I did not call, my son; lie down again.

Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, and the word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him.  The LORD called Samuel again, a third time.  And he got up and went to Eli, and said,

Here I am, for you called me.

Then Eli perceived that the LORD was calling the boy.  Therefore Eli said to Samuel,

Go, lie down; and if he calls you, you shall say, “Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.”

So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

Now the LORD came and stood there, calling as before,

Samuel, Samuel!

And Samuel said,

Speak, for your servant is listening.

Then the LORD said to Samuel,

See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make both ears of anyone who hears it tingle.  On that day I will fulfill against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end.  For I have told him that I am about to punish his house forever, for the iniquity that he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them. Therefore I swear to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be expiated by sacrifice or offering forever.

Samuel lay there until morning; then he opened the doors of the house of the LORD.  Samuel was afraid to tell the vision to Eli.  But Eli called Samuel and said,

Samuel, my son.

He said,

Here I am.

Eli said,

What was it that he told you?  Do not hide it from me.  May God do so to you and more also, if you hide anything from me of all that he told you.

So Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him.  Then he said,

It is the LORD; let him do what seems good to him.

As Samuel grew up, the LORD was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground.  And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel was a trustworthy prophet of the LORD.  The LORD continued to appear at Shiloh, for the LORD revealed himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the LORD.

Psalm 139:1-5, 12-17 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):

1 LORD, you have searched me out and known me;

you know my sitting down and my rising up;

you discern my thoughts from afar.

You trace my journeys and my resting-places

and are acquainted with all my ways.

Indeed, there is not a word on my lips,

but you, O LORD, know it altogether.

You press upon me behind and before

and lay your hand upon me.

5 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;

it is so high that I cannot attain to it.

12 For you yourself created my inmost parts;

you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

13 I will thank you because I am marvelously made;

your works are wonderful, and I know it well.

14 My body was not hidden from you,

while I was being made in secret

and woven in the depths of the earth.

15 Your eyes beheld my limbs, yet unfinished in the womb;

all of them were written in your book;

they were fashioned day by day,

when as yet there was none of them.

16 How deep I find your thoughts, O God!

how great is the sum of them!

17 If I were to count them, they would be more in number than the sand;

to count them all, my life span would need to be like yours.

1 Corinthians 6:12-20 (New Revised Standard Version):

All things are lawful for me,

but not all things are beneficial.

All things are lawful for me,

but I will not be dominated by anything.

Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food,

and God will destroy both one and the other.  The body is not meant for fornication but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.  And God raised the Lord and will also raise us by his power.  Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?  Should I therefore take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute?  Never!  Do you not know that whoever is united to a prostitute becomes one body with her?  For it is said,

The two shall be one flesh.

But anyone united to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.  Shun fornication!  Every sin that a person commits is outside the body; but the fornicator sins against the body itself.  Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own?  For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.

John 1:43-51 (New Revised Standard Version):

The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee.  He found Philip and said tohim,

Follow me.

Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.  Philip found Nathanael and said to him,

We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.

Nathanael said to him,

Can anything good come out of Nazareth?

Philip said to him,

Come and see.

When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him,

Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!

Nathanael asked him,

Where did you get to know me?

Jesus answered,

I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.

Nathanael replied,

Rabbi, you are the Son of God!  You are the King of Israel!

Jesus answered,

Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree?  You will see greater things than these.

And he told him,

Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.

The Collect:

Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ is the light of the world: Grant that your people, illumined by your Word and Sacraments, may shine with the radiance of Christ’s glory, that he may be known, worshipped, and obeyed to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever.Amen.

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Some Related Posts:

Second Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A:

https://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2010/09/20/second-sunday-after-the-epiphany-year-a/

1 Samuel 3:

https://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2011/06/06/week-of-1-epiphany-wednesday-year-2/

John 1:

https://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2010/09/15/twelfth-day-of-christmas/

Feast of St. Bartholomew/Nathanael (August 24):

http://neatnik2009.wordpress.com/2010/06/13/feast-of-st-bartholomew-apostle-and-martyr-august-24/

Feast of St. Philip and St. James, Son of Alphaeus (May 1):

http://neatnik2009.wordpress.com/2010/06/12/feast-of-st-philip-and-st-james-son-of-alpheus-apostles-and-martyrs-may-1/

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The readings for this Sunday relate to the demands of discipleship.

Young Samuel had to tell unpleasant news immediately to his mentor, the elderly Eli.  The fact that Eli responded as well as he did has stood him in good stead.  In the long term, of course, Samuel became a priest and a judge of pre-monarchical Israel and the man who anointed two kings.

Paul reminds us through the ages that our bodies are temples of God, so we ought not to fornicate with them.  But with what else ought one to involve his or her temple?  I think immediately of excessive consumption of junk food.  There is nothing wrong with eating an occasional hamburger or cheeseburger or doughnut, for example.  Yet I have found that want fewer of these as time passes.  No, I would rather eat home-boiled and mashed potatoes, for example.  And the combination of a sedentary lifestyle with too much high-calorie food is physically dangerous.  This is a medical fact, one which affects society as a whole by driving up insurance and health care costs.  Beyond food and physical activity, there is the question of drugs, some of which are legitimately medicinal.  Yet many others are not.  If there were less demand for illegal drugs, there would be less violence involving street gangs and drug cartels.  Bodies are temples; may we treat them respectfully.

We read in John 1 of Jesus calling Philip, who invites Nathanael/Bartholomew to follow Jesus too.  The process of Nathanael/Bartholomew agreeing to do this is the theme of that text.  I have consulted commentaries, including some written by major league, heavy-hitting New Testament scholars, in search of an answer to the question of what was so impressive about Jesus seeing Philip under a tree.  Even Father Raymond Brown, in the first volume of his commentary on the Gospel of John for the Anchor Bible, could do nothing more than offer several possible answers without settling on one.  I have concluded that why Nathanael/Bartholomew was impressed was irrelevant, but that the fact he was impressed did matter.  More than that, the facts that he followed Jesus as an Apostle, became a great missionary, and died as a martyr matter a great deal.

Perhaps the most important aspect of the call of discipleship is the realization that one’s actions affect others.  Samuel told people uncomfortable truths out of reverence for God.  Eli listened in 1 Samuel 3, but the masses chose to act contrary to Samuel’s warning in 1 Samuel 8  (https://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2011/06/06/week-of-1-epiphany-friday-year-2/).  Whether we manage our physical and psychological appetites or they manage us can determine whether we wreck our lives and those of others.  And would Nathanael/Bartholomew have followed Jesus and brought others to him had Philip not spoken to him?

What will discipleship demand of you, and what will your legacy be over time?

KRT

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/07/22/proper-4-year-b/

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17 responses to “Second Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B

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