Includes Sermon Audio
Epiphany – 6th January 2019
Do not fear, the Lord, your God, is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory, he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love. Zephaniah 3:16 – 17
Zephaniah 3: 14 – 20
Song of Isaiah
Philippians 4: 4 – 7
Luke 3: 7 – 18
Collect of the day
Almighty God, you sent your son into the world where the wheat must be winnowed from chaff and evil clings even to what is good, let the fire of your spirit purge us of all corruption, so that, purified, we may wait eagerly for him whose coming is certain, whose day draws near, your son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the holy spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen
A thought to ponder upon
Some thoughts on Luke 3:7 – 18
Today’s gospel is unique to Luke’s Gospel: a summary of the themes of John’s preaching.
The baptiser is approached by 2 groups whose professions were scorned by the Pharisees: tax collectors, who usually made handsome profits by gouging their fellow Jews, and Jewish soldiers who belong to the Roman peacekeeping force. John requires of them not a change of professions but a change of heart and attitude, that they perform their duties with honesty and integrity. John calls for selfless concern for one’s disadvantaged brothers and sisters.
John assures his Jewish listeners that he is not the Messiah; in fact, John considers himself lower than the lowest slave (only a non-Jewish slave could be required to loosen his Masters sandal strap and John does not presume to do even that).
In proclaiming the Messiah a “baptism in the Holy Spirit and fire,” John employs the image of “a winnowing – fan.” a winnowing fan was a flat, wooden, shovel like tool, used to toss grain into the air. The heavier grain fell to the ground and the chaff will blow away. In the same way, John says that, the Messiah will come to gather the “remnant” of Israel and destroyed the godless.
Like John’s proclamation at the river Jordan, we are called to be witnesses of God’s love by the love we extend to others; precursors of his justice by our unfailing commitment to what is right and good, lamps reflecting the light of Christ in our forgiveness, mercy and compassion, harvesters of souls through our humble and dedicated servant-hood.
Every act of compassion, justice and reconciliation is a sign of the “expectation” that “fills” every human heart for the coming of God’s kingdom in our time as well is in the time to come.© Connections/Media Works
The Reverend Josie Steytler preaches from the text after the gospel reading.