Second Sunday after Epiphany 17 January A.D. 2021

Second Sunday after Epiphany                17 January A.D. 2021       Morning Prayer

Psalms. 62     First lesson. Isaiah 54:11-17        Second lesson. John 1:35-51

                                    Almighty and everlasting God, who dost govern all
                                    things in heaven and earth; Mercifully hear the supplications
            of thy people, and grant us thy peace all the days
                                    of our life; through Jesus Christ our Lord.           Amen.


As we continue into this new year, the third decade of the twenty-first century, fear seems to be the prevailing theme on many people’s minds.  Why?  The hype of the media, the ratings race, who gets the most viewers, listeners, etc., all seem to play into this great caldron of fear.
Why are we so fearful?  Most of the world has no concept of hope. There is chaos, warfare, riots, famine, economic malfeasance, all to the production of FEAR.
The enemy of mankind, Satan, knows that the biggest concern of humans is uncertainty. What better way of keeping that going but by using the constant threat of danger which of course equals fear.   
 So beloved, let us look at someone who knew fear. Who knew uncertainty, who knew danger. When David was being pursued by Saul, or his own son Absalom, he knew fear and yet what did he write time after time in the Psalms?  Look to God, look to the LORD, look to his salvation.
We are truly entering a very strange period of American history. There will be many changes and programs designed to “equal” out the supposed injustices that riddle the U.S. landscape at this time.  Of course you must take into account the media and academics who are reporting such injustices are looking at the envy based system called socialism or communism. 
If you take some time to research the failed concepts of socialism and communism, you will see they are based on covetousness. What?  “Yes, you have more than me, so you must give me enough of your wealth to make us equal...after all isn’t that justice?”   The whole basis of communism/socialism/equality of economic means is really all based on envy and greed. “...thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s.....”  Hmmm.  Pretty interesting that Marx and Engels were so angry about those who had, and they had not, so they came up with a system that would even out the injustices and unequal wealth found in Germany. It didn’t matter that those who worked to gain that wealth had every right to the wealth, no, Marx and Engels wanted what wasn’t theirs, that my friends is called coveting.
Ok, so where does that leave us with David and FEAR?
Look at the first two verses of the Sixty-second Psalm.  David wrote that he waited upon God. That from God came his (David’s) salvation. And then to drive the point home, he writes that He, God, only is his rock and salvation. He, God, is David’s defence. He shall not be greatly moved.
Sounds like strength and a solid foundation. 

 Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from him cometh my salvation.
He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defence; I shall not be greatly moved.

Now look at verses five through eight. Again and again, David writes about not being moved, about waiting upon God and only God.  Look at the next couple of words, salvation, glory, rock of my strength, my refuge.....is in God.
Then look at this declaration....TRUST in Him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. !!!!!   Wow what powerful words. 

My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.
He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defence; I shall not be moved.
In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.
Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.

  Now just to give us a sense of reality, look at the next two verses. Nine and ten.  David writes that no matter who is against you, the low-lifes or the high and mighty (as they see themselves) neither is valued much. They are both light weights when placed in a balance.  Then as a warning to all. Don’t be an oppressor and don’t rob others, no matter of riches will help you. Do not set your heart upon wealth. Gosh, that almost sounds as if David had looked down through the ages at the likes of Marx and Engels and said NO.  Communism/socialism is a direct abrogation of the Ten Commandments. Don’t steal, don’t covet, don’t tell lies about your neighbors. By saying that someone earned a living makes them evil, (telling lies about them) again speaks to the whole concept of communism/socialism. Coveting what is not yours.

Surely men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree are a lie: to be laid in the balance, they are altogether lighter than vanity.
Trust not in oppression, and become not vain in robbery: if riches increase, set not your heart upon them.

 Now let us return to the fear-factor.  What have we, as believers, have to fear? See what David wrote about that:
Power belongs to God. Mercy belongs to God. Each person will be rewarded according to their work.  Work for evil...evil will be your pay.  Work for God in His province and as a child of the King, you will be rewarded accordingly.  Not too hard to see that there is most definitely a good and bad to all life.  If you are with God, you should choose good.
Beloved, go and do likewise.

God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God.
Also unto thee, O Lord, belongeth mercy: for thou renderest to every man according to his work.

Let us pray:

O LORD Jesus Christ, who didst say to thine Apostles, Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you; Regard not our sins, but the faith of thy Church, and grant it that peace and unity which is agreeable to thy will; who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.

O GOD, our heavenly Father, who didst manifest thy love by sending thine only-begotten Son into the world, that all might live through him; Pour thy Spirit upon thy Church, that it may fulfil his command to preach the Gospel to every creature; send forth, we beseech thee, laborers into thine harvest; defend them in all dangers and temptations; and hasten the time when the fulness of the Gentiles shall be gathered in, and all Israel shall be saved through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

REMEMBER, O Lord, that which thou hast wrought in us, and not what we deserve; and as thou hast called us to thy service, make us worth of our calling; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.