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The Fifth Sunday after Epiphany – February 6, 2022

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The Fifth Sunday after Epiphany – February 6, 2022

To your faith, and to mine, God’s awesome and divine holiness confronts us in the bread and wine as if they were a burning and fiery ember on our lips calling forth our confession, “Woe is me!” It is no more said than the messenger of God comforts us with a “Fear not, for I am with you!”

Peter’s call to follow Jesus is the first call story of the New Testament. However, it has many precedents in scripture. Many call stories of the Old Testament witness to the sudden encounter with God’s awesome and fearful holiness. Consider Moses in Exodus 3, tending sheep, but God calls him out of the burning bush, announcing the holy ground demands Moses remove his shoes. “And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God” (vs. 6). Take Gideon in Judges 6. His fear of the Midianites had him hiding in the wine press as he tried to thresh out some grain. Later, as he sacrificed, a messenger of God, an angel, brought fire out of the rock, consuming Gideon’s sacrifice. Gideon lamented his fate:  death, for he had “seen the angel of the Lord face to face” (vs. 22). Take Isaiah in Isaiah 6. His experience came in a vision, one which elevated him to the throne room of God. There, in the temple of glory, Isaiah confessed the truth of his existence: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts” (vs. 6). Take Peter in Luke 5. Standing armpit deep in a catch of fish as huge as it was unexpected, this struck him: he was in the presence of divine holiness. The confession of prophets, judges, and now, an apostle burst from his lips, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord” (vs. 8).

I must admit to some coveting here and you, in all honesty, must possess some, too. Oh, for the certainty of being confronted and called out by such manifestations of God’s holiness as were that prophet, judge, and apostle! Yet only our presumption and pride stand in the way of our knowing such holiness for we are confronted by it in every worship service. The pastor invokes the hallowed name of God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Jesus has promised his presence in the midst of those who gather in his name. The name of God… the personal presence of Jesus Christ… the bread and wine… do you covet more holiness than that?

Table Talk: Discuss why the call stories begin with a confession of sin.
Pray: Heavenly Father, grant me faith to know your holiness. Amen

Luke 5:1-11 ESV

1 On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret, 2 and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. 3 Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. 4 And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” 5 And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” 6 And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. 7 They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. 8 But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” 9 For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, 10 and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” 11 And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.

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