Epiphany Readings: Sunday, February 9

Readings:  Psalm 112:1-9 and Matthew 5:13-20

Reflection Questions:

The heart of the Sermon on the Mount is the heart. Jesus’ teaching to his disciples revolves around Matt.5:17-20 and governs what came before and his remaining (through Matt.7:28). Jesus stands juxtaposed to the religious leaders of his day and expresses the real intent of the Law that was given to God’s people on Mt. Sinai (see Matt.22:38-40). Jesus’ criticism was toward a purely moralistic or behavioral oriented religious system without a change of heart. Jesus himself embodies the entire message of the Law and the Prophets: a self-giving love for God and others. His followers are invited into a different kind and quality of life that derives its reality and way of being in the world from a Person and relationship rather than a handbook for behavioral management or modification.

  1. As you sit with Matt.5:13-20 listen to Jesus’ vivid description of his disciples:  You are salt…light…a lamp…a city on a hill. What one image captures your heart and imagination? Why? Is this how you see yourself in the world?  If so, how does the way you see yourself in the world enhance your perspective and experience of life in the world? In what ways are you salt, light…etc…in your family, at work, in your church community, with strangers? If not, how do you see yourself, your life in God? How might these descriptive images expand or change your perspective of your identity in God and way of being in the world?
  1. As you think about your life and way of being in the world, take time to discern any inner struggles, circumstantial difficulties, or real people in your life that might be diminishing your experience of God’s kingdom and goodness, and your influence or way of being in the world? Have a conversation with God about these things.
  1. While reflecting on Jesus’ teachings, what invitations do you sense from God? How might you respond to God in concrete ways today? What changes might you make to live more fully into God’s kingdom life?
  1. Read through Jesus’ descriptives of his followers again. What assurances or encouragements do you receive to your heart and life, right where you are, just as you?

– Elizabeth Khorey

Epiphany Readings: Sunday, February 2

Readings:  Psalm 15 and Matthew 5:1-12

Reflection Questions:

  1. Some of what we hear in the Beatitudes (Mt.5:1-12) is a description of the kinds people who God invites into relationship with him in his kingdom.  No one is exempt from his blessing. Can you identify with any of these human conditions of body, soul and social self? If so, how have you or do you experience God’s blessing in poverty of spirit, grief over losses in life, trouble and trouble making situations, challenges of faith, rejection from others?
  2. What ways do you need God’s intervention, comfort or support in your life today? Spend some time in prayer asking God’s Spirit to shelter with love, sustain in weakness or bolster faith in your present condition.
  3. As you talk with God about what’s going on in your life, how might you see your present condition as an open door for God to come, work, transform or bless you with his goodness?

Epiphany Readings: Sunday, January 26

Readings: Psalm 27:1, 4-9 and Matthew 4:12-23

Reflection Questions:

  1. Sit quietly turning your attention toward God; his warmth and assuring presence with you now and always.As you read and reflect on Psalm 27 notice the important questions the psalmist asks himself in v.1. In the safety of God’s presence, ask yourself: What do I fear? Fear can be inhibiting and lead to a spiritual paralysis that prevents healthy, forward movement in faith. Explore any shadowy sides of your life; any fearful illusions harbored in your heart. Bring them into the light of God’s presence as you talk to him openly about them.
  2. Jesus’ good news is the arrival of the Kingdom of heaven: it’s here, now. What perceptions or misconceptions do you have about the God’s kingdom? How might the prophetic description of the kingdom of God (Matt.4:15-16) and the demonstration of its power (v.23) shape your understanding of God’s kingdom?
  3. As he did with his first followers, Jesus still meets people where they live and work. Jesus invites us both to enter into the dynamic of God’s kingdom life and to partner with him in his kingdom mission. What invitations might God be giving to you to enter more deeply into his kingdom life or partner with him in his kingdom work? What are the things you’ll need to let go of or turn from in order to follow Jesus today?

– Elizabeth Khorey

Epiphany Readings: Sunday, January 19

Readings: Psalm 40:1-11 and John 1:29-42

Reflection Questions:

  1. Our gospel narrative points to the striking appearance of Jesus as John the Baptist designates him as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Take a few moments to pause and “Behold” Jesus as the Lamb of God. What do you see as you consider him?
  2. As Jesus engages with his disciples he asks them: What do you seek? Right now, ask what do you seek? Take a moment to talk honestly to God about the desires of your heart.
  3. In the Gospels, the frequent invitation of Jesus to those around him is come and see (v.39). How might you hear and respond to Jesus’ invitation?

– Elizabeth Khorey