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Sixth Sunday after Epiphany; Genesis 2:4b-25; Matthew 5:13-16 – It probably began for us all with something like stickers and finger paints, crayons and markers. As toddlers, before we really speak, we make the crazy squiggles and circles, and tentative strokes on paper. Maybe random lines or dots. Before we conceive of anything particular we’re trying to express, our personalities start to show in how we work—with controlled detail, or unbounded exuberance.
Isaiah 58:1-12; Colossians 3:12-17, 4:2-6 – Jesus began with building relationships. He called disciples as new friends and followers. Family, he called them. His first act of ministry was forming community. Beyond ourselves alone, faith in God gets fulfilled in relation with others. Amid our different personalities and activities, we all need connections in our way.
Psalm 63:1-9; Matthew 4:18-5:12 – Habits, routines, patterns, for good or not so good, they are conscious choices we make, at least at first. We shape our days, our preferences, our priorities. Which flavor? How much time do I need? Do I answer now or not? And after a while, we know they can turn into more thoughtless behaviors which shape who we are. How much time we spend. How we feel after we eat. How we really connect or slip into greater distance. We humans are creatures of habit. What matters are patterns we choose and priorities we pursue.