Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Sunday: The Year of the Lord's Favor
Click here for the readings.
The lectionary folks did this pericope a disservice by dividing it between 2 Sundays.
Jesus is home visiting and is called upon to read in the synagogue. He proclaims the great liberating texts of Isaiah
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."
And then it says:
"And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to say to them, "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."
All seem to be nodding, "oh yes, very nice young man, he grew up here you know" but he won't do miracles for them and he goes on to say:
"Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, 'Doctor, cure yourself!' And you will say, 'Do here also in your hometown the things that we have heard you did at Capernaum.'" And he said, "Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet's hometown. But the truth is, there were many widows in Israel in the time of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a severe famine over all the land; yet Elijah was sent to none of them except to a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. There were also many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian." When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage. They got up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they might hurl him off the cliff. But he passed through the midst of them and went on his way."
Once he started saying that the widow of Zarephath and Naaman, foreigners and not even of the correct religious tradition, have received God's grace and are welcomed at the table, he was in big trouble with those who knew who is "in" and who is "out." They want to toss him off the nearest cliff, but he passes through them like Obi Wan and the droids in Star Wars
Stormtrooper: Let me see your identification.
Obi-Wan: [with a small wave of his hand] You don't need to see his identification.
Stormtrooper: We don't need to see his identification.
Obi-Wan: These aren't the droids you're looking for.
Stormtrooper: These aren't the droids we're looking for.
Obi-Wan: He can go about his business.
Stormtrooper: You can go about your business.
Obi-Wan: Move along.
Stormtrooper: Move along... move along
These passages are the foundational basis for Jesus' ministry and message. Always he brings us up short when we think we can box him into being our Jesus, our homie, our god. Jesus is the incarnation of the wild creator God, the Spirit who goes where she wills as the Gospel of John says. He cannot be limited to our pet. He will reach out to all who cry for liberation, healing, and freedom from the oppressive systems that keep them from becoming that which God intends. Jesus proclaims sight for the blind. If it is our prayer that we receive sight to see -we will continue to be amazed by the abundance in our midst. Abundance of love, of gifts, of abilities to join in ministry of reconciliation.
Posted by Ann at 1:08 PM