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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.
Third Sunday after Epiphany; Matthew 12:9-23; 1 Chronicles 11:15-19 – Our nation has inaugurated a new president. The peaceful transfer of power – no small matter in this widely unsettled world – has been achieved yet again, keeping our 241 year run intact. And for this, we should all be deeply thankful. And yet, significant divisions remain among the citizenry. Some citizens are elated; others anxious. Some dismiss ongoing chaotic rhetoric as just words; others are fearful those words may become policy.