The Second Sunday after the Epiphany
January 20, 2013
Isaiah 62:1-5 Psalm 96
I Corinthians 12:1-11 St. John 2:1-11
Hymns: 410, 423, 304, 433
The reading from First Corinthians today focused on the gifts God gives to the church and to individuals. And we all know that God blesses us with many gifts in our lives. In the Gospel of John for today we hear the story of the first of the signs or miracles of Jesus, turning the water into wine. The passage ends with the statement that “his disciples believed in him.”
I have always found this rather interesting. We are told that after his sign they believed in him. What exactly does the author mean by this? After all, they had already left everything, family, jobs, friends to follow this itinerant preacher. They must have already believed in him at some level already. They had made sacrifices already just to follow him.
Honestly, would any of us given up our lives, our livelihoods, and our family to follow someone we didn’t believe in?
But I think as we look at the development of the followers of Jesus, as we continue to watch them in the Gospel stories, we see that their faith continually deepens as they live with and follow Jesus. As they see him at work in the world, their faith is strengthened at every turn. So they obviously had an advantage we certainly don’t, they got to see Jesus at work, they had the opportunity to know him. They could see him touching the lives of those around Him, they could see him performing signs, and they could see him living out a life which they experienced every day.
It is true that if we look we can indeed see Jesus at work in the world around us too, but perhaps it takes us a little more effort to see it. We hopefully see Jesus in different ways and in different places in the world. We hopefully see Jesus in our actions and in the actions of our fellow believers. But in order to do this our eyes must be attuned to different things.
Hopefully we see Jesus in the life and work of the church, although since it is filled with humans like each one of us there is always the potential for failure. We may see Jesus just by observing the miracles of nature around us, particularly in a beautiful place like Alaska. We see Jesus in the work of our community food back. We see Jesus in others around us as we see them living a life of faith seeking to serve and help others.
But I think the most important way to see Jesus in the world around us it by becoming more sensitive to what Jesus is doing in each of our own lives. Unfortunately, it is far too easy to overlook. We can so easily get caught up in all the activities and events in our lives that we actually miss seeing Jesus at work in our lives.
How do we tune ourselves in to seeing Jesus at work in our life? While there are probably many answers to that question, I’m convinced of the power of a very simple practice. That is the practice of gratitude.
As we get in the habit of being attentive to the things we have to be grateful for in life, we become more and more attuned to what is occurring our own lives and how God is at work in our lives.
This practice has transformed how I look at things in my life and my ability to see God at work in my life. I encourage you to undertake this gratitude challenge. With Lent approaching, perhaps you can adopt it as your Lenten challenge to list the things you are thankful for every day. And don’t forget the “small” things to be grateful for. I think that is where we really tend to miss the boat in remembering thankfulness.
A thankful person is a transformed person and a thankful church is a transformed church. Let us work together to transform ourselves and St. Peter’s. We can turn St. Peter’s into an oasis of gratitude and recognition of God’s work in our life and in our midst.