January 9, 2022: Epiphany 1

Let us pray:  Lord, we need a double portion  of Your help this new year.  So today we ask for it!  Pour out the Spirit upon us all so that love, mercy, strength, hope, and a spirit of steadfastness may fill our hearts with Your peace which surpasses all understanding.  Amen


TEXT:  Titus 3: 4-7

Dearly Beloved By Christ:

          Recall the words to: “Jesus Loves Me.”  Recall especially those words: “I am weak, but He is strong.”  I’ve been thinking about that phrase a lot over the past months.  Mentally and emotionally all the stuff that has occurred has made me feel weak and rather powerless.  When people ask me about situations beyond my control I’ve taken to answering with: “It’s beyond my pay grade, it’s God’s problem.”  We’re all caught up in a maelstrom of evil and nastiness and we all feel helpless.   But you’re here today to have me remind myself and all of you that: We’re not alone or weak or helpless.  For when we’re weak, Christ is strong—in each of us.


          Right now our synod president is recovering from covid.  So are many of our pastors, not to mention members of our churches.  Congregational attendance has been negatively impacted in every church.  God’s people are tired and worn out.  We all want it to go back and be normal—whatever that is.  Our comfort zones have been turned upside down.

          So it was in Paul’s time and so it is sometime during every generational change, such as we’re currently in.  God’s humble people often suffer the worst, since this evil world takes advantage of their kind hearts and stomps on them.  It’s no fun being a “stompee.”   But when we are at our lowest and plead for God’s help—He always hears and He answers!  This is the point of our text here in Titus.

          “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.”   Christ came to Bethlehem when the world and those people had hit low, low, low tide.   They had done nothing perfectly in their lives to deserve or warrant or earn His coming.  No, He came out of and because of His pure mercy.  And what a coming it was!  Angel choirs, Magoi from Babylon, a miraculous escape to Egypt and more marked His coming and His star.  All this and more saved them from the morass of despair and hopelessness and gave them comfort and joy.


          Then, as now, it was the application of the Spirit and His comforting work which wrought a change in the attitude of the heart.  “He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified (made right with Him) by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.”

          The powerful uplifting of the Spirit is transferred to us by faith.  And for most, faith begins when we’re at our weakest—infants—whom the Spirit anoints with the loving power of Christ, the power over sin and death that He won for us on  the cross.  He did all of this generously  Paul says because that the meaning of grace.  And thus, out of darkness we are given light and hope—from Christ the Light of the world.  In Him we will live, not just survive.  In Him we will triumph in the end.  That’s the message of Christmas, Epiphany, and the whole of Christianity.  It’s what gives us fortitude and good cheer.  Yes, in Him when we’re weak, HE is strong!  So, Yes, Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.  Amen

THE peace of God which….

Pastor Thomas  H. Fox  

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