St. Mark's Episcopal Church

124 North Sylvia Street - Montesano, WA, 98563

Epiphany 2, January 16

I really struggled to find some deeper meaning in our readings this morning.  I mean I really struggled.  I had nothing as of 11 o’clock last night.


I even decided that I would read another person’s sermon that was so beautifully crafted and was very heartfelt, but then, as often times happens, suddenly, an inspiration popped into my head.  And in this case, popped into my head late last night.


These last couple of years, the missing years, as I call them, have really brought humankind to many tipping points.


At this point in time, I believe one those tipping points is that we have a choice to make as human beings.


In our New Testament reading this morning from Paul, we get a taste that perhaps The Corinthians were also at a tipping point and had some choices to make.


Before Christianity spread to the Corinthian people, the community they lived in worshiped many deities.  They believed in the supernatural.  They were very much a superstitious people.


Paul’s words today are directed to those Corinthian’s were converted to Christianity.  A pocket of folks, immersed in a world of non-believing doubting people.  They were the minority.  The freaks.  The outcast. They were folks, trying to live through Christ without a roadmap to follow.  Except they had a teacher, Paul.


What Paul is trying to convey to these new Christians, is how to live this new life in Christ.  How to let go of the comfortable and embrace the new.


They were immature if you will, and really needed some direction.

This is illustrated, when Paul tells them:  “I do not want you to be uninformed. 2You know that when you were pagans, you were enticed and led astray to idols that could not speak. 3Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking by the Spirit of God ever says “Let Jesus be cursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit.”  He was giving them direction.


Paul the teacher.  Paul the leader.  Paul the wise man.


But let me go back to their Tipping Point.


If Paul hadn’t been so direct, so constant with his direction to these people, they may have given up, and gone back to the known.  To the practices and life that they knew and found comfort in.  The easy life.


You see, being an outcast and having a different point of view from the crowd isn’t always the easy way to live.


So really, what we have here is the question of going along with the crowd or trying to live in the footsteps and service of Christ.  Sometimes a hard decision.  But always a clear path we must take if we are trying to live a life that we were baptized into and filled with Holy Spirit.


Back to our own tipping point reality.  In many ways, our world today is much like of the Corinthians.


We see loud, disruptive forces worldwide, trying to uproot and  change institutions that have long stood the test of human progress. 


We see derision and division.  We see forces trying to tear apart the very fabric of our moral being.


Paul’s words this morning are a good reminder that even though we are one body in our humanness, we can still bring to the table different ideas and different strengths and different backgrounds.


It is this diversity that makes us a strong United body in Christ.    


Paul calls upon us this morning to recognize that through our baptism, we are all filled with the fire of the Holy Spirit.  No one but God can send this Holy Spirit to us. He sends this Spirit to Every single one of us.  Not just the Baptists, Not just the Episcopalians or the evangelists down the street. Through our Baptism we are filled and we become a Christian Soldier.  It is through the Power of God that the Holy Spirit fills us, lighting the Fire of God, and then seals us as his own.  This is the Uniting force.  The Force that makes us all One Body in Christ.  Together, not separate.


But again, what about this tipping point.


As a collective, have we as humans forgotten what it means to love one another?  Have we forgotten the path to goodness?  Have we forgotten what kindness is and what it means to love each other as Christ so loved us?  Have we forgotten what we were commissioned  through the Fire of the Spirit at our own baptism to spread the Good News of Christ our Lord?


Paul’s words today are a good reminder that being a good and decent human being in this crazy mixed up world we are trying to live in isn’t easy.


The division and ripping apart of the soul of mankind might be upon us folks.


It might be the time for those of us Children of God, to stand up, and say enough is enough.


But is it that simple?


Paul reminds us that we all have gifts from God that not only make us strong as individuals, but as the whole United body of Christ, give us the tools we need to bring an end to division and a beginning of unification through God’s love. 


These gifts give us strength to serve God and to walk in the footsteps of his son.


I also believe that Paul is trying to teach us that although we are individuals, we have a moral obligation to work towards unification, celebrating our diversities, by recognizing our own individual roles as Christians.


So are we, as human beings, at some tipping point?  Has this pandemic, climate change, hatred, immoral behaviors, lying,  pushed us to recognize this tipping point? I don’t know.


I just look around and see the world falling apart and I think to myself, is it too late? Or is there still time? 


At the end of the day, am I  willing, are you willing, are we willing to put ourselves out there to be the warriors for Christ?  To stand up for what we know is right and true and just. Or are we simply going to hide in the comfortableness of silence and complacency?


It is and can be a tough choice. 


Psalm: Psalm 36:5–10

Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, *
       and your faithfulness to the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the strong mountains,
   your justice like the great deep; *
      you save both man and beast, O Lord.
How priceless is your love, O God! *
      your people take refuge under the
                              shadow of your wings.
They feast upon the abundance of your house; *
      you give them drink from the river of your delights.
For with you is the well of life, *
      and in your light we see light.
10 Continue your loving-kindness to those who know you, *
       and your favor to those who are true of heart.