The Second Sunday after the Epiphany – January 17, 2016

Reading 1:  Reading 2:  Reading 3:  Reading 4: 
Isaiah 62:1-5
Psalm 36:5-10 1 Corinthians 12:1-11 John 2:1-11

The Second Sunday after the Epiphany – January 17, 2016

By Bruce G. Epperly

January 17, 2016

Today’s readings are about abundance. God’s resources for us are more than we ask or imagine. The world lives by God’s moment by moment incarnations, appropriate to each life situation. God is constantly providing us with inspiration and the energy to embody the visions that emerge in the divine-human call and response. Process theology is grateful for achievements and leans toward new possibilities. Our gifts and experiences inspire to move forward in exploration and adventure.

The passage from Isaiah is about restoration. The days of exile and scarcity are no more. We no longer need to look over our shoulders, fearing the powers that be, and we no longer need to scrimp and save. God restores and rejoices in God’s new creations. God has vindicated the people and given them a new identity as free people, able to chart their destiny and deal with their neighbors on equal terms. No longer imprisoned by fear, we can stretch our spiritual and physical wings, imagine new possibilities, and soar. The one-exiled people – and we who have been limited by our own expectations or the actions of others – need to flex our spiritual muscles, imagine ourselves as agents, and get about the business of creative transformation in our communities and the world.

The spirit of Psalm 36 is abundant and energetic. God’s fountain is bubbling over. God’s light illumines us.   God’s love is steadfast and unlimited. God protects us, so that we may move forward in co-creation. In the spirit of German mystic Hildegard of Bingen, God’s “greening” energy gives life and vitality to all creation. Our calling is to let the divine greening flow through us, interject our own gifts, and enable God to be even more energetic in transforming our world toward the ways of Shalom.

The passage from First Corinthians sees the giftedness of life as theocentric in nature. Invoking the name of Jesus authentically is the result of divine inspiration. No one inspired by God will curse another. Cursing and damning divide and destroy, as we see among Islamic terrorists and Christian hatemongers. In contrast, Christ inspires healing and blessing. Our hatred perverts the good news of Jesus Christ.

The words of I Corinthians 12:1-11 celebrate divine creativity and diversity. God rejoices in diversity and the Spirit endows humankind with a variety of gifts. All of our gifts are aimed at the common good. In the dynamic interdependence of life, our giftedness is intended to bring healing to the world and nurture God’s evolving presence in the world.

I Corinthians 12 boldly inspires us to self-affirmation and the affirmation and evocation of others’ gifts. The process preacher can encourage each member of the congregation to proclaim:

I am gifted.
God’s Spirit energizes my gifts
I support the gifts of others.
Our congregation is a nursery for growing gifts.

The wedding feast at Cana in Galilee is a further celebration of divine abundance. Despite his initial reluctance, Jesus transforms nearly 200 gallons of water into an equivalent amount of wine. Moreover it is the best wine, whose quality surprises the feast’s steward. Divinity seeks bounty and beauty. God wants us to rejoice in life and bring forth new possibilities from ordinary materials.

God’s Spirit is bountiful, omnipresent, and omni-active. The Spirit parents forth our gifts and delights in our achievements. God’s glory is a human fully alive and God inspires us toward full humanity, embedded in interdependence and making our lives a gift to our Creator.