Monday, January 21, 2013
Hearing the Word
Hearing the Word is our worship theme for the third Sunday after Epiphany, January 27, 2013. Our focus scripture is Luke 4:14-21.
Jesus is baptized. As he prays he hears God’s voice claim him as beloved son. The sky tears open and the dove of God’s Spirit soars down from heaven and alights on him. Spirit fills him, then drives him deeper into the wilderness. He prays and fasts for forty days. He wrestles with his call. Discerning God’s will from Satan’s he goes to Galilee to begin ministry. Things go well. He comes to Nazareth, his hometown. He’s guest preacher. Isaiah is given to him. He finds chapter 61 and reads:
God’s Spirit is upon me.
God anointed me to preach good news to the poor.
God sent me to release captives, give sight to the blind,
liberate the oppressed, and proclaim the year when God will save the people.
Then Jesus sits. Everyone watches him. He says:
Today this Word of God is accomplished as you hear it.
What can Jesus mean? The kingdom doesn’t dawn. Quite the opposite, his townspeople soon chase him out of town. None of this comes literally true on a grand scale, even after Jesus works and provokes miracles. Yet, he says, this Word of God is accomplished. Accomplished by the people in his hometown hearing it read by him.
Perhaps Jesus is contagious with the Word of God. Perhaps the Word is like a spiritual virus, infecting those who hear it. Perhaps once it settles into our brains it reproduces so that even the inoculations of “the way things are supposed to be” that we hear from the day of our birth can’t suppress it. Perhaps once we hear it, the Word creates a vision that lives within and between us; that drives us like the Spirit drove Jesus. Perhaps once we hear it we are convicted by the realization that the reign of God is the “pearl of great price” that is worth giving everything to attain it.
Here is a call to worship based on Luke 4:18-19. Please use or adapt anything helpful to you.
Call to Worship Luke 4:18-19
L: Sisters and brothers, let us recall Jesus’ inaugural sermon:
"God’s Spirit fills me. For God anoints me to tell Good News to the poor.
P: God sends me to announce release to prisoners,
L: sight to the blind,
P: liberation to the oppressed,
L: and that the time has come when God will save God’s people."
All: May it be so today! Let us worship God.