Stewardship Resources

Posted: Jan 12

Preaching - Epiphany 2, Year B

Preaching Resources

By Lance Ousley

The readings for the  Second Sunday after the Epiphany are 1 Samuel 3:1-10(11-20); Psalm 139:1-5, 12-17; 1 Corinthians 6:12-20;  and John 1:43-51.  

I can't help but keep the fact that we will celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s life in our nation the day after this Sunday.  It is part of our context as we discuss, teach and preach on the lectionary this week.

What strikes me about this fact as I read the lectionary is that so much of what is in our readings is about stewardship of the Spirit.  Dr. King understood what it meant to be a steward of the Holy Spirit within; and he responded to that call with his very life, even in the face of danger, danger that eventually took his life.

In our reading from 1 Samuel we hear that the word of the Lord was rare in those days.  Many commentaries speculate this is because no one was being attentive to the Spirit so the Lord rarely spoke, lest the divine word "fall to the ground."  But Samuel in his youth was not blemished by the distractions of the world and therefore, he was open to hear God's voice.  And even in Eli's waywardness he submitted to what the Spirit had to say.

The portion of Psalm 139 for this week recognizes the ever-presence of God's Spirit in our lives.  It is both a comfort and an awesome responsibility to know this fact.  If we believe this is true as a people of faith shouldn't we be good stewards of this faith reality in our lives?  Others are watching to see if we really believe it or not, by the way we steward it through our actions.  And the Spirit of God spoke through the Letters from the Birmingham Jail to the world outside because Dr. King understood this.

Likewise, Paul explains to the Corinthians that the actions they take with their bodies as the Body of Christ in their community have implications on their bodies as well as the Spirit within.  Continuity of faith and action impacts more than those looking on from the outside.  It also feeds the Spirit, and therefore the body.

Our Gospel lesson this week has Philip paying attention to the Spirit, even echoing Jesus' voice when he told Nathaniel about Jesus simply saying, "Come and see."  Upon seeing Jesus Nathaniel even in his prejudicial skepticism recognizes the Holy Spirit within Jesus and he responds to his call.  As a result Nathaniel would "see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man."   And I think because of Nathaniel's and Philip's attentive stewardship of the Spirit in their midst we, too, have seen even greater things in our lives, like the witness of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

We never know what God's Spirit might say to us or where the Spirit might lead us.   Our job is to be attentive stewards of the Spirit's presence in our lives and to follow the Spirit's voice, even into the face of danger for the sake of the Kingdom.  To be good stewards of the Spirit is to say, "Speak Lord, for your servant is listening" with our very lives.

Peace be with you!

The Rev. Canon Lance Ousley

Canon for Stewardship and Development

The Episcopal Diocese of Olympia

1551 10th Ave E.