SECOND SUNDAY AFER EPIPHANY
This is the second of the series of “Servant Songs.” Here the Servant of God (an image for the faithful Jews who survived the exile) speaks of how God formed him for his work. The Servant’s task is to bring back to God the Jews who have wandered from the faith and to take God’s word to “earth’s furthest bounds.” The force of the reading lies in its bold images. The Servant is a sword, an arrow, and then a light. He will rise from despised slave to the ruler of nations.
First Corinthians 1:1-9
In this letter of Paul to his followers at Corinth, he speaks of how God strengthens and enhances the abilities of the faithful so they may better present themselves to the Lord on the day of judgment. Paul, and as far as I can make out all Christians of that early age, believed passionately in the immanent coming of Christ to judge the world and launch a new age, and many of our fellow Christians today believe so still. We Episcopalians, along with many other sects, say every Sunday, “he will come again,” but we are not required by creed or tradition to accept Paul’s idea of the second coming; we are not required to see it as a court trial, nor to believe that it will happen soon. Paul’s vision was the product of his time. We are free to prefigure the return of Christ in terms and images suitable for our own time.
© Arthur H. Cash