For today, we return to the words of Isaiah 61:1-4…
The spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me;
he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed,
to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and release to the prisoners;
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
to provide for those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a garland instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, to display his glory.
They shall build up the ancient ruins,
they shall raise up the former devastations;
they shall repair the ruined cities,
the devastations of many generations.
The opening verses of this chapter are mentioned in this Sunday’s text as Jesus preaches before his hometown crowd. Jesus reads the text and then declares, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled.” The folks that remember Jesus as a boy, sitting on his dad’s lap or coloring on the floor between Mary’s legs during worship, are lulled by their nostalgia into a false sense of comfort.
It’s so hard to not allow our own expectations of what should happen to keep us from missing what is actually happening. I so badly want to believe in the “world’s greatest democracy” that I learned about as a young student that I have been shaken at discovering how tenuous such a claim truly is. What I want to be and what is, can be two very different things.
Perhaps you’re not as troubled by my same naivete but I suspect this is something that catches us all and discovering the disappointing truths can be an unsettling, disorienting experience. What beliefs are you holding on to today that might be keeping you from seeing the world as it truly is?
And to be honest, people of faith are not immune to allowing what we want to believe about God to keep us from seeing God and God’s vision for the world as they truly exist. And this is hard to reconcile. Especially, when we want the “mistaken” to so obviously be “those other people.”
Let’s give thanks then today that God has come to us, the holy mistaken, who remain to be God’s most beloved: the oppressed, the heartbroken, and the captive.
May God’s peace find you this day. -Pastor Peter
Let us pray:
Holy God, creator of light and giver of goodness, you anointed Jesus at his baptism with the Holy Spirit and revealed him as your beloved. Immerse us in your grace, and transform us by your Spirit, that we may follow after your Son and continually rejoice to be called children of God. Be with us this day as we seek to do your will, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Friend, Amen.