Friday, February 3, 2017
Blessed Brokenness Part Three
And I thought I had sermons that did not go well...but up this point no attempted cliff throwing yet. I feel somewhat secure living in an elevationally-challenged flatland of Florida! Quick review. Jesus' birth is proclaimed as a sign of Good News...God interrupting and disrupting the world. Jesus is sung to by angels and prophets and people of all sorts. Jesus is baptized and claimed by God's belovedness. Jesus is tempted. And now...it is time for his sermon debut.
Jesus reads from a part of Scripture, Isaiah, that echoes Mary's hymn and John the Baptizer's sermon. Jesus reads from a part of Scripture that will inspire perhaps a later sermon he gives on the plain as the beatitudes. Jesus reads about the Spirit (that pesky Spirit) interrupting and disrupting out lives not to ignore the plight of the poor but to notice and respond as we are able. Great passage. Hopeful passage. The congregation is feeling great. Okay, boy-wonder, Jesus let's hear about how this passage is fulfilled. Are you going to over throw Herod? Are you going to help cure my sick uncle? Are you going to help give us hope every day with your preaching? I don't know exactly what was said when the crowd was "amazed" and "spoke generous/gracious words"...what I do know is that it sounds a bit like an echo of the temptation story.
It is always tempting in the church..as religious leaders...to let ride the wave of public opinion known as - "shaking hands at the back door". If I ever invent a time machine, I am going back to the moment this became a thing and try to altar the course of history. For me, worship/preaching/writing is an art. Like any artist my ego gets wrapped up in what I put out there. I am not neutral on a sermon or prayer or blog post. It is my heart and soul out there. Such vulnerability means that people's words matter...they can help puff up or hurt/harm.
Jesus upsets the apple cart of expectations...and challenges people. He brings up Elijah...a pesky prophet who had the gall to go to a Gentile home and heal that person rather than help his own kind. Rather than do what others wanted...he marched to a different beat of a drummer. Too often, I find myself somewhere in the messy middle. Wanting to respond to people...and also trying to be faithful to God's call for me in such a time as this. Wanting to meet people where they are...but also knowing I can't be all things to all people. I find solace in the fact that maybe this is a bit of where Jesus is at in the passage above. He reaches out to his family/friends...but also know that God's expectations are most important. I am not sure that gives me a crystal clear sense of what I need to do every day this week. But it does tell me that when like Wiley E. Coyote I find myself dancing near the edge of the cliff...it is a good time to walk away.
May God's grace and that pesky Spirit stir in your life and help you live your discipleship in such a time as this.