Brother John, a devoted missionary, had labored for more than 50 years in a southern area of Africa, resulting in several churches and many converts. At his death, hundreds gathered for his funeral, held in the open near one of the churches he had organized. One of Brother John's church superiors from America was chosen to deliver the funeral sermon, and stood at a makeshift altar near the casket. As the bishop began his address, the crowd of natives began to shift their positions on the ground to allow an old warrior chief, carrying a spear, to make his way through the multitude of people.
Dean Feldmeyer Christopher Keating Mary Austin Ron Love George Reed
A big theme running through all of this week’s lectionary texts is that of “authority” -- God tells us that he will raise up prophets with authority to speak God’s words, and Jesus’ teaching in the synagogue is described as “astounding” because he “taught them as one having authority.” In this installment of The Immediate Word, team member Dean Feldmeyer examines what characteristics give us authority when we speak -- and notes that one of the traditional sources of authority in our culture, the news media, has lost much of the authority it once commanded.
Ron Love Frank Ramirez Bill Thomas Bonnie Bates Mark Ellingsen Bob Ove
God calls forward prophets. In Deuteronomy the prophets are Moses and Joshua, but today God is still calling forth prophets. Who are the prophets in our midst, those empowered by God to preach and proclaim the message of God? These prophets may come from unlikely places: women marching for freedom and equal rights; the Black Lives Matter movement; the peace movement; those spending their lives nurturing the lives of those living on the streets; those seeking veterans benefits or rights for the poor and infirm, the elderly and disenfranchised.
As Epiphany season pertains to living the Christian life, these lessons direct us to consider a particular aspect of what the faithful do or follow -- prophecy and our need for prophetic authority or the authority of Jesus to get through life. We are called to hear the voice of Jesus and his prophets and to live prophetically ourselves in the midst of all the chaos and injustice that surround us.
I recently watched a televised tribute to Dame Judi Dench, who really is an outstanding actress. She'd been selected for a special BAFTA award, so it was a glittering occasion gathering in the great from around the world.
They went to Capernaum; and when the sabbath came, he entered the synagogue and taught. They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, and he cried out, "What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God." But Jesus rebuked him, saying, "Be silent, and come out of him!" And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him.