Sermon - NORA
The Good News of Epiphany – Christ has come
a. The Angels proclaimed it to the shepherds
b. The Wise Men proclaimed to the Word that He had been found.
c. On this His baptismal day, The Father has proclaimed (Matthew 3:17) …”This is my Son, who I love…”
The season of Epiphany that we will celebrate until Ash Wednesday incorporates the revelation of God’s plan for salvation – the coming of the Christ – to save us.
Today, once again, there remains no doubt as to who He is. His baptism – into our baptism – his coming death into our own, his resurrection to be our own resurrection – yet, will we take the revelation and make the connection to our lives? That’s what the revelation is all about – the question is will we make the connection?
Well, there is the “Good News” about how God is working in our lives and it is the Holy Spirit.
Aside for a moment, you have probably been wondering what is the acronym “NORA” all about – it doesn’t stand for the Holy Spirit, but there is some interesting comparisons.
Have you heard of NORA – well I was reading some material about today’s scripture – I Corinthians 12: 1-11, but first I have to tell you a joke and see if you can make the connection – it is a simple test.
Tell the story of “Sally and the Navajo Indian”
Did you pass the first test? Make the connection to Epiphany?
Now let me tell you about NORA – which by the way is an acronym that stands for “Non-obvious Relationship Awareness.”
NORA is a sophisticated data –missing program developed by a high-school drop out, self-taught hacker named Jeff Jonas.
Well, do you see the connection here – Epiphany?
By the way, the reference to Paul’s letter to the Church of Corinth makes the connection to the gifts the Holy Spirit gives each of us – vs. 4 that reveals different gifts but the same Spirit. Vs. 8 “to one there is given through the Spirit the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit ---
The revelation of Epiphany can only come by the way of the Lord – through the Holy Spirit. And, this only by our openness and through the Holy spirit, just like Paul said.
Let’s go over just what is revealed – the answer to
1. Who He is
2. Who we are or can be
3. And where we fit into the Kingdom of God.
Much more sophisticated than NORA – or like any other sophisticated computer system or artificial intelligence will be how God make a moment of revalation happen. – Epiphany. God Immediately sorts out all we need to know – if we are open to it. The Spirit make all the connections in us:
1. Who He is – God, the Creator and Father of All; the Son the Savior and Shepherd of all; and the Spirit, the power and wisdom in all and through all.
2. Who we are or can be: - the Created, sinners in need of salvation – the saved through grace, the sheep of his fold, who are made perfect in love.
3. And where we fit into the Kingdom – called to be disciples and agents of God to save others.
Jesus’ Baptism is the moment of revelation where the Father confirms the identity of the Savior, the Son of the One who has designed our salvation, who makes his love known through the Holy Spirit. We just have know idea when a power bigger that NORA connects the dots for us and in an instant, if we are open to it, allows us to recognize the truth. If you were to calculate how many connections God is making through the Holy Spirit in all the people He created it would put the most power computer to shame.
This is the power of Epiphany-
1. You see now how NORA fits in
2. You see Paul’s message – The spirit
3. But what about Sally and the Navajo women?
Well you must know the rest of the story. Before the end of the journey, the Navajo Indian come to faith through the way the Holy Spirit put Sally at that place and time, using the truth of God’s love; and she came to understand when Jesus’ love was revealed to her during the worship service when her sister was baptized.
This story confirms that if we don’t allow the Holy Spirit to make the connections – and allow the revelation of Epiphany to be the truth for us, everything will be the same. SOOOOO our response, our openness to the most power connector, information processor, truth interpreter – the Holy Spirit must be open – otherwise the revelation, made perfect by the Father at Jesus’ birth, baptism, and soon His death, will be missed.