This is Sunday is the Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany. Today when we think of an Epiphany, it’s probably not about “The Epiphany” when Christ is revealed to the Magi. Rather we’re probably thinking about “an epiphany as a sudden or illuminating discovery or realization. I had that kind of Epiphany on a couple of things this week. One will remain untold. However, the other Epiphany I had was about my affinity for handwritten lists. I’m a very fast typist and even sitting in front of my computer I almost always handwrite my lists whether it’s things to do, outlines for sermons and teachings or whatever. I’m just prone to think I’ll better remember the things on the list if I handwrite them. Not sure about that though.
Have you ever noticed how much we’re into lists? Back in the late 70’s, (I’m told) one of the most popular books around was “The Book of Lists.” And there have been thousands of books published like it since. Someone recently did a search on Amazon.com and came up with 229,000 matches of books with the word “list” in their title. Let’s face it: we have a fascination with lists. Practically all of us have ongoing “To Do Lists”, whether we handwrite them on scraps of paper, in a day-timer or keep track of them on our choice of Personal Digital Assistants. It seems we humans come by this affinity for lists naturally as even God seems to all about lists (i.e., the 10 Commandments, the 2 greatest commandments, the 12 Apostles;) you get the idea.
This assigned Gospel for this Fourth Sunday After Epiphany comes from the beginning on one of Jesus’ most famous sermon, “The Sermon on the Mount.” Jesus starts this sermon with a list we have come to know as “The Beatitudes.” It’s a list telling when and how we are blessed by certain virtues, attitudes and actions; not all of them we like or want to experience. As a preacher, this very familiar list normally makes for very easy sermon preparation; only, I’m not going to be using that list. Instead, I’m going to be using a different list; one from the assigned Old Testament reading found in Micah 6:8. It’s “God’s short list for a faithful life.”
Join us for worship at Covenant, this Fourth Sunday After Epiphany. Perhaps you’ll have an epiphany and leave with an illuminating discovery or realization about your life based on “God’s Short List for a Faithful Life.” That’s my sermon title based on Micah 6:1, 6-8 and Matthew 5:1-12.