by Nathan Nicholson
Second Sunday after Epiphany
Sunday, January 16
The Informed Groom
A traditional wedding is a public display of the love found by a bride and groom. When a man chooses a bride, he may admire her for her beauty, and he wants everyone to know that she is the object of his love and affection. In many cases, this is a love that has not scratched the surface of transparency or reality. But the promise of lifelong devotion is present. We present our best selves to our spouse and expect that what we see and feel on the wedding day will never change.
But Jesus knows everything there is to possibly know about us, down to the very hairs on our heads. He knows our hang-ups and negative personality traits. He knows the times we proclaim him with our lips and deny him with our actions and inactivity. Jesus sees the depths of our heart. But he always chooses to extend his grace and mercy as an open door to us. He eagerly waits for our faith to meet him down the aisle.
Lord, allow us to know that you love us and value the beauty that is your church. Let us find comfort in the secure grip of your ever-loving hand. Let us find consolation in knowing that you chose us before we ever chose to follow you. Amen.
Monday, January 17
1 Corinthians 12:1-3
Do You Recognize Jesus?
Jesus asks his disciples a question. They respond by telling him the popular opinion they hear from outsiders. Then Jesus asks Peter, “What do you say?” Peter replies, “You are the Christ.” Jesus revealed that Peter didn’t come to this conclusion on his own (Matthew 16:13-17). But the Father in heaven opened Peter’s understanding of who Jesus really was. Peter’s profession of faith finally addresses Jesus accurately as the Messiah. Although all the apostles had walked with Jesus for three years, Peter was one of the three followers who were closest to Jesus. This lets us know that being in the church does not qualify us to know Jesus. The fullness of Jesus can only be fully realized when God adds the increase to our human understanding. Directly after Peter makes this declaration, Jesus tells the disciples they will be the owners of the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Jesus is preparing the birth of the church.
Lord, empower us with your spiritual gifts. Give us vision beyond our natural sight. Open our faith to see you clearly. Amen.
Tuesday, January 18
1 Corinthians 12:4-7
In the beginning Elohim used different functions of himself and his power to achieve the goal of creation. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth….And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light” (Genesis 1:1-3, KJV). So God the Father, who has supreme authority; Jesus, who is the Word made flesh who dwelt among us (John 1:1-3, 14); and the Holy Ghost, who is the manifestation of God’s will and power on earth brought forth creation as three persons in one. The same God with different functions. Let this be a sign to us that the work of the Lord can be achieved if all members of the body use what God has given us to achieve a common goal.
Father, allow us to use our specific functions to bring glory to you and edify your people. Let us operate uniquely but in the same spirit of unity. Amen.
Wednesday, January 19
1 Corinthians 12:8-11
This Little Toe
The baby toe seems insignificant in size and importance. But when stubbed on a piece of furniture, other parts of the body do their part to see about it. A signal goes to the brain to perceive major pain. Your voice exclaims your favorite comfort phrase or grunt. Your respiratory system starts to breathe aggressively to sooth the pain. Your body takes a timeout by either falling to the floor, standing still, or seating itself. The hands lend fingers to pinch and rub the injured toe to lessen and acknowledge the pain. Multiple parts of the body do their part to see about that toe.
The pinky toe provides balance and stability to the body. Successful movement is greatly affected and almost impossible without this small piece of the body. We are many members but one body. When one member is out of place or hurting, it affects us all.
Lord, help us as the body of Christ to realize that every member matters. Bring us to know that every part of your church lends balance. Build us up individually so we can be healthy as a body. Amen.
Thursday, January 20
1 Corinthians 12:12-13
The Patchwork Quilt
My father’s family is from Three Rivers, Mississippi, about 30 minutes north of the Gulf of Mexico. My great aunt Azell, a beloved family matriarch from Three Rivers, used to make patchwork quilts. I can remember the vibrant colors and assorted sections of fabric that seemed to work together perfectly. Family from all over the country would visit Aunt Azell and return home with these masterful works of art. Patchwork quilts are not only beautiful, but they serve multiple purposes. They retain heat by insulating, decorate the space they occupy, and bring comfort.
Lord, bless your church to bring the comfort of your love to the human experience throughout the world. Let the places we occupy be made better by our presence. Amen.
Friday, January 21
1 Corinthians 12:14-27
Since its release in 1984, Tetris is the best-selling video game of all time with more than 500 million copies sold and downloaded. Success in this game means fitting tiles together to create rows. These tiles come in different colors and shapes. They don’t automatically align, but they must be shifted and moved into places where they fit. The objective is not to create a set shape. It is to continuously fit pieces until time runs out.
Members of the body of Christ come in many varieties. And just as in Tetris, the body of Christ is never finished being constructed. Even when pieces are removed, new ones appear, eager to see how they fit. This is the duty of believers, to continue to add to and build the body of Christ until the end of time.
Lord, show us where and how we fit among your body. Shift us into the spaces that are needful for the ministry. Amen.
Saturday, January 22
“How precious is your steadfast love, O God! All people may take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights. For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light” (vv. 7-9).
This psalm is a testament to God’s steady love for us. David goes even as far to say that this love is not exclusive to humans but extends to animals as well. God is the fountain of life in which all was created. He is the light source that called forth all light into existence.
Lord, give us peace in knowing that your love is the abundant, everlasting source of life. Empower us to reflect to others, the light that is your son Jesus. Amen.
About the Author: Nathan Nicholson
I was born in Chicago, and raised in Gary, Indiana, where I currently reside. I have been an ordained elder in the Church of God In Christ (COGIC) since 2014. For the last seven years I have served as the youth pastor of Pickens Memorial Temple in Chicago’s Englewood community. I’ve been married to Praniece for eight years and we have two lovely children under the age of two, Zuri and Ezra. I work as the digital specialist of the Marketing and Communications team of the Evangelical Covenant Church. I am also a mixed media artist and graphic designer. My favorite pastimes are watching pro wrestling, traveling, and playing the bass guitar. I am a self-proclaimed movie and pizza critic.