Last Sunday — the first Sunday of February, communion Sunday, and “souper-bowl” Sunday. We gathered as is our practice round the table. And after opening in prayer (as we do) — we started with the check in time. We had the homework of thinking about the scripture which is most comforting to us (this might not be the same for folks as the scripture which might be their favorite). And there were many scriptures named…
It was beautiful to hear scriptures that had been comforting throughout life, scriptures that spoke very specifically over the past week or years, scriptures that make space for our lament. Comfort comes in many ways & it was beautiful to hear some of the scriptures whether just one verse or an entire chapter. A good reminder of how much comfort God wants to offer us…and a gift to hear the scriptures that have comforted others. (Don’t worry…I’m sure some of these comforting verses will make appearances in the future!)
After meditating & enjoying some of the comfort God has offered us we turned to Luke 4:20-30 that delightful passage where Jesus boldly proclaims that the scripture he has just read has been fulfilled — to his hometown — and at first everyone loves it & loves Jesus. And then Jesus perhaps (unnecessarily?) provokes these people who have just been speaking well of him – so much so that they take him out of the synagogue and up to the top of the hill and throw him over. Jesus tells them the truth (about their own faith & history) and his telling of the truth angers them to the point that they want him dead! Jesus in a miraculous turn of events somehow walks through the crowd and on his way — it was not the day of his death that day. It can be a challenging text. What made them so angry? Why did Jesus say what he said? Who understands that somewhat odd proverb of “Doctor, heal yourself!”? And why at this point in time would Jesus emphasize the stranger & the foreigner of the scriptures of old being helped?
Many questions exist in this text & our homework poses another — how would we react & respond if Jesus showed up? Essentially this is a creative thinking (writing) assignment. If we — our church — was the folks who were in the synagogue — how would we receive Christ? You can rewrite the whole exchange. You can imagine Jesus walking into our Sunday worship — what scriptures do you think Christ might read to us? What might he say are fulfilled? Where would Jesus come from if he were to show up? Think about this & think about how we really would respond to him…
Looking forward to hearing how we might welcome Christ (today)!
In grace ~
Rev. Sabrina Slater