Tomorrow, February 6, will be our last worship service on Zoom-only (we hope). We look forward to holding in-person services again as of Sunday, February 13 and we welcome Henry Cobb back at the piano. However, we will resume our previous pattern of in-person services which will also be zoomed. The good news is that the audio-mixer – the last piece of the live-streaming equipment that was ordered last summer – finally arrived and Peter McDougall has been hard at work becoming familiar with its capabilities and its quirks. Of course, we will continue to maintain physical distancing and wear masks until we hear differently.
Theophany is a Greek word meaning “appearance of a deity in an observable way.” Greek literature is full of such ‘God-sightings’ and in these stories, the experience can be fatal. Theophanies are rarer in the Bible and are almost never fatal, though a sense of fear and danger in God’s presence is common. The writer of the letter to the Hebrews speaks of offering God “an acceptable worship with reverence and awe; for indeed our God is a consuming fire.” Here are depictions of Moses getting close to God’s force field, first at the Burning Bush and later at the top of Mount Sinai when he receives the Ten Commandments.
Tomorrow, both our readings are theophanies. In both cases, the experiences give rise to great unease and fear and a sense of utter unworthiness before the holiness and glory of God. The young Isaiah is overwhelmed by a vision of God in the Jerusalem temple; Peter gets a jaw-dropping glimpse of Jesus’ true identity. No doubt Luke was thinking about Isaiah’s experience as he wrote his gospel. The parallels are striking. In both cases, theophany is tied to a call from God. In Isaiah’s case, it a call to be a God’s prophet. For Peter, it means dropping his nets and selling his boat in order to follow Jesus as a full-time disciple.
Order of worship
SUNDAY, February 6, 2022
Prelude: Duruflé, Prelude for Epiphany
Call to Worship
Hymn # 313: “Holy, holy, holy”
Prayer of Adoration
Prayer of Confession
Declaration of Grace
Responsive reading: Psalm 99
Isaiah 6: 1-8 (The Message)
Anthem: “Veni sancte spiritus” (Taizé)
Luke 5: 1-11
Hymn: “Christ is the world’s true light”
Meditation: The Otherness of God
Hymn #828: “You are holy, you are whole”
Prayer of Thanksgiving and Intercession
Hymn #592: “I the Lord of sea and sky”