Thursday's Thought for Sunday's Service 

January 19, 2017

If revelation about my own family is like a winter’s fog slowly dissipating, at least revelation about God’s family described in today’s passage clarifies in a more powerful, dramatic way. To begin, a great light is described… “On those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” It’s not only a light that reveals but also motivates. Immediate action is urged by the imperative, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

An inspirational response to Christ’s light is indicated by those in ancient days who walked a few miles out of their way, maybe to a distant shoreline to investigate stories about Jesus and a few fishermen.  They did this not simply out of a tardy curiosity, but because of what the light revealed in their lives.  Upon arriving, interacting with Jesus led many to repent.  It seemed the right thing to do.

The great light described in today’s passage is a powerful word that lifts my spirit and clears my mind in much the same way sunlight disperses the fog.  The water vapor doesn’t disappear from the effect of sun’s rays however, rather changes form, eventually gathering into clouds, falling back to the earth as rain which contributes to streams and rivers, lakes, and seas.  The inspiration revealed by God’s great light changing the fog of life into living water reminds me of my own effort to fish for my family relation.  As such, I connect with the fishermen who chose to join God’s family, those who followed Jesus, if only because his encounter with them happened by the shoreline.  “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, ‘and I will send you out to fish for people.’”  In this, Christ calls for another step.

Seeking out and standing next to a gravestone is only the beginning. Casting the lines, sailing upon the sea, dropping familial nets gets me thinking about my ancestors and puts me in contact with other relation who are still living… some who I haven’t seen in a long time… but there is also a greater lesson regarding God’s family.  It includes getting out of the boat, following Christ to seek friends I didn’t know I had, sharing together with moments of joy, and giving.

Pastor Rich Wagner



Dear Friends,

This week’s Thursday’s Thought for Sunday’s Service is based upon Matthew 4:12-23:

“When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he withdrew to Galilee. Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali—to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah: “Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles— the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him. Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him. Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.” (Matthew 4:12–23, NIV)

Recently, I had the opportunity to visit the graves of some ancestors.  It was a place I had to travel a few miles out of the way to visit.  Although I’m not much into investigating genealogy, over the last several years I’ve learned about my family history through occasional conversations that have slowly increased my curiosity and pulled me in a new direction, teasing out a desire to learn more.  Previously, because I’ve only occasionally payed attention to family stories regarding ancestors, I sometimes find myself in somewhat of a family “fog” – regarding who’s related to who, what they did, where they lived and such.  Among other things, the questions I’ve recently been asking reveal a tendency within me – that I’ve been slow to realize and learn about my linage, even slower to successfully fish for and snag information regarding their lives.

As I look out the window this morning the weather is hovering around the freezing point and the humidity is high…  It’s foggy outside.  Tiny water droplets hang in the air making it difficult to see very far.  I still have hope that despite the chilly temperature, the effect of sunlight (shining above) will evaporate the moisture, improving my field of view.