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Year C, Ordinary 2 (Epiphany 2), 2019 – Abundance

January 16, 2019 / Molly Douthett / Epiphany, Ordinary Time

Greetings! Welcome back to the show! We’re continuing to examine only two intelligences per episode, and this week we also switched the order of the passages. Each of them celebrates the abundance of God’s love and God’s gifts. In the Gospel, a great quantity of fine wine saves a wedding and hints at a new age dawning. Paul writes to the Corinthians that they are all blessed with gifts from the Spirit. The Psalm sings praise to God who is simultaneously shading us from above and holding us under a protective wing. Isaiah encourages returning exiles who were discouraged about their present to look to the future where God will restore them and call them My Delight.

You can see what we did three years ago, here: Year C, Ordinary 2, 2016. We had a lot of fun with MATH smart in the Gospel passage, so go check it out!

Smarts of the Week – [01:58]

We take a few minutes to talk about our two smarts of the week in the episode, and here you can download our worksheets for each of them.

Texts for the Week

John 2:1-11 – [06:01]

Jesus tries to keep his mother from blowing his cover, because he thinks the time is not right for him to be revealed. However, she pushes on, and Jesus finds an interesting way to follow her lead and still keep his identity close to the vest. Running out of wine may be a cause for shame, but what happens if we run out of water? David pursues this line of thought in NATURE smart. Also, environmental factors affect wine quality, and the process to make wine takes time. Jesus found a short cut, for certain!

For SELF smart, I was struck by the way Jesus revealed his glory – to the disciples. He both followed his mother’s lead, doing as she asked and kept to his own timeline to reveal himself as Messiah. This is a brilliant move and shows a strong sense of SELF knowledge and quick thinking. I share a story about a chef who takes delight in watching people enjoy his food; another subtle instance of glory.

1 Corinthians 12:1-11 – [15:26]

For NATURE smart, David takes a step back from the particulars of this passage and looks at the whole, which is pretty much Paul’s point, as well. Paul is attempting to get the Corinthians to look at themselves through God’s eyes, so why not use an ecosystem? Illustrate the different gifts functioning to serve the entire body as all the layers of the soil, the different ways water nourishes it, types of flora that grows there, and the fauna that feed on it. Don’t forget the sunshine that sustains it all, like the Spirit.

In these verses in Corinthians, we often attempt to force our lives and personalities into the gifts mentioned. Why not turn it around and consider the gifts as tailored clothing, made to fit us? Illustrate this fit by bringing in a favorite sweater or outfit. If you have made use of a spiritual gifts inventory in the past, you can use it here. Encourage SELF smart people to keep their gifts in mind as they live their lives this week.

Psalm 36:5-10 – [20:12]

This psalm, like many others, is full of NATURE smart images. Talk about how being out in nature is delightful because it is so expanding for us. Experiencing God in the scope of nature is life giving and frequently makes us aware of our place and role in creation.

I’ve heard many people refer to national parks and the great outdoors as their church – the place where they experience God. Wherever we choose to be in the Presence, we are taking Sabbath time to do so. The majesty of God’s provident nature in the psalm prompts a response from us wherever we are marking a sabbath. For SELF smart, use this psalm’s imagery to encourage people to look for God’s abundance in their lives.

Isaiah 62:1-5 – [27:42]

In this passage, God redeems and renames Israel. This got David to thinking about naming and reclassifying objects in NATURE and particularly, in our own solar system. Pluto suffered the shame of being de-classed from planet to dwarf planet a couple years ago. New Horizons has shown us that while Pluto is not on par with the other eight planets in our system relative to size, it is by no means the smallest (maybe we should call it Bethlehem?). It is in fact, one of the larger Kuiper Belt Objects. Just as we’ve seen Pluto in a new way, God sees Israel as a people worth adoring and adorning. Wow.

Staying with the idea of being loved, adored, and saved in SELF smart, give everyone in your congregation a crown. Encourage them to consider themselves as royalty, named and loved by God. Allow them – and yourself – time to sit in this idea. We frequently call ourselves God’s children, but how often do we consider ourselves crowned by God? If this gives you the urge to shout in excitement, you are not alone!

Image credit: Photo by Zachariah Hagy on Unsplash. Used by permission.

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