2nd Sunday after the Epiphany [by Rev Dr Rachel Mash]

Anglican lectionary:
Catholic lectionary:
1st Reading
Isa 49:1-7
2nd Reading
1 Cor 1:1-9
John 1:29-42
by Rev Dr Rachel Mash, Environmental Coordinator, Anglican Church of Southern Africa


Isaiah 49 : 1-7

“I have labored in vain;I have spent my strength for nothing at all.”

2019 was a very difficult time for climate activists. Vast areas of the Amazon burnt – we felt like the lungs of the earth were burning out of control. And we ended the year and began the new one with devastating bushfires in Australia and news that so many lives and homes have been lost and as many as a billion creatures lost their lives. Some of Australia’s iconic animals such as the koala have been pushed the brink of extinction.

And still the politicians want to deny that climate change exists. The Climate change gathering of COP25 in Madrid was a damp squib.

What hope is there for 2020?

This passage gives great encouragement, affirming where we must place our hope.

God formed you in the womb to be his servant (v5). We base our environmental work on the fact that God created this Earth, God loves this planet and we are following him. Across the globe servants of God are rising up – planting trees, inventing energy saving devices, saving water, challenging politicians, divesting their funds from fossil fuels. We are part of a great movement inspired by our love for the Creator and Creation.

Salvation will come to the ends of the Earth (v6). God loves this Earth so much that he sent his son. The most beloved verse of John 3:16 actually says in the Greek “God so loved the cosmos that he sent his son”

And the passage ends with a call of hope, that even kings and princes – and politicians too – will hear the voice of the prophet. (v7)

There is a prophecy attributed to the Hopi Nation which says:

“when the earth is ravaged and the animals are dying, a new tribe of people shall come unto the earth from many colors, classes, creeds and who by their actions and deeds shall make the earth green again”

2019 was painful, in 2020 let us rise up with prophetic words and actions and make the earth green again , A prophet is someone who proclaims the will of God. The will of God we know is a restored and renewed earth. So let us be of good courage, and take up our task as servants of God – reaching the good news to the whole of creation . Mark 16:15

by Rev Dr Rachel Mash, South Africa