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Interactive 8 am Homily for 1/15/23, 2nd Epiphany: Following God (The Rev. Dr. Deborah White)


Today we are going to try something different. On Family Sundays at Grace, I preach a Children’s Homily. During the Children’s Homily, I interact with our children to help them think about the meaning of our scripture readings for that day. This is different than a “normal” sermon, in which I teach and preach to the congregation without interaction. Since this new 8 am service is different (and smaller) than it has been in the past, I thought this might be a good time to try something new. What we are going to do is an interactive sermon, which is like an adult version of the Children’s Homily. I am going to give you some ideas and questions and I will ask you to share your impressions and responses with me.

Reflection (Hebrew Scripture): Today’s readings include part of a prophecy from Isaiah in which he talks about a “Servant” who was created to do God’s work in the world. This servant is to be “a light to the nations.”

Reflection question for Isaiah:

-The servant identified in Isaiah’s prophecy is never named, but many people think it refers to Jesus. Why do you think this is?

Reflection (Psalm): Today’s psalm is a song of praise to God for answering prayers. The writer talks about both thanking God and spreading God’s word.

Reflection question for the psalm:

-How do you thank God when your prayers have been answered?

Reflection (New Testament Scripture): Today’s New Testament scripture was a letter from Paul to the members of a church he planted in Corinth. In it he thanks the community for their faithfulness and encourages them to continue to grow in their faith.

Reflection question for 1 Corinthians:

-Does encouragement from your fellow Christians help increase your faith?

Reflection (Gospel): Our gospel from John is the story of how people are drawn to Jesus and testify to his power. First up is John the Baptist, who tells the story of Jesus’s baptism. Then we meet Andrew and Simon Peter, Jesus’s first disciples, who decide to follow Jesus after hearing of him and talking to him.

Reflection questions for the Gospel:

-Who brought you into faith in God?

-Who have you brought into faith in Jesus?

Summary reflection:

-What would you say are the major themes of today’s readings?

-How do they help us know how to live our own lives?

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