I wanted to share a snippet of what I preached this week. Here are the passages and a brief synopsis of my understanding of them as they relate to this week’s inspirations.
Psalm 19: The Heavens are telling the Glory of God and the wonders of God’s love are all around us.
1 Corinthians 12:12-31: We are uniquely created and uniquely gifted by God and are to use those gifts for the betterment of the whole.
Luke 4:14-21 Named and Claimed by God, Jesus declares his mission, call, and ministry as God’s anointed one.
In this week’s gospel story from Luke we learn that Jesus returned to his home church, read a passage from Isaiah and proclaimed that he, Jesus was the anointed one sent to bring preferential treatment to the poor, to free God’s beloved from what binds them, help the blind to see, to remove oppression and to bring equality among God’ people.
Jesus was specially gifted by God to do these things, and we are specially gifted as well. We each have a place deep within where God has planted a sense of mission, of drive, of a call to work in partnership with God to bring beauty, healing and wholeness into this world. We are each uniquely gifted in ways that are meant to build up the whole community and it doesn’t matter how young or old you are, how rich or poor you are…..each person’s gift is vital to helping the community flourish.
I just learned about a band of workers whose call is to clean up the streets of Hyannis; collecting leaves and stuff that litters our village. They are living into their their gifts and they bring beauty into the whole community, not just for themselves but for everyone. This is what I’m talking about!
In today’s reading, Jesus owns his giftedness, his role, what he is supposed to do to bring about God’s vision for how we are meant to be together. Jesus is also the lens through which God shows us how we are to be in the world and how we are to use our God given gifts.
What gifts do we have to bring beauty into our community? What gifts do we have to bring healing into so many places of hurt? In the spirit of the Isaiah passage that Jesus read, I wonder what gifts we have to help those who are blind to need open their eyes? What gifts do we have to have to help those who are deaf to the cries of the poor open their ears? What gifts do we have that can loosen the binds that hold people back from living into their true selves? What gifts do we have to tell the Good News of God’s love, compassion, grace and forgiveness? How can we use our gifts to bring restoration, to close the gap between the “haves” and the “have nots”, to create just and peaceful community for all?
Surely we must have gifts that can offer, hope, peace, justice and love. I wonder how we can use them.