Thursday, September 23, 2010

Hometown Kid

And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,because he has anointed me
to proclaim
good news to the poor.He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.” And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth. And they said, “Is not this Joseph's son?” And he said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘Physician, heal yourself.’ What we have heard you did at Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well. And he said, “Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his hometown. But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens were shut up three years and six months, and a great famine came over all the land, and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.” When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. And they rose up and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff. But passing through their midst, he went away. Luke 4:14-30

I am home after being away for ten days at the House of Bishops. Today I realized what a home town kid I am. The streets are festooned with banners saying "Go Huskies!" encouraging our football team to win big. I haven't been to a game as of yet but I am sure to go in the next few weeks. The signs of fall are beginning, the seasons are turning, and being in the most familiar of places, after being away for so long, really challenges me to wonder about my ministry here and how God is using me in new ways - ways I haven't yet begun to fully understand.

We find Jesus at the beginning of his ministry taking his place in the synagogue and reading out loud as was the custom. What he read was not shocking but his revelation of being the fulfillment of the reading was. The local people scoffed at him and down played his ministry because of his familiarity. Being familiar often makes us underestimate and overlook beauty, talent and gifts for ministry. When we are in a familiar place, with familiar people, we can devalue the people and the surroundings because of our comfort level. We like people and things as they are, and we don't like change. And yet change is the only certainty we have, the only real constant in our lives. God stirs us power in all sorts of places and finds us in those places where our confusion and need meet in the changing of seasons and of lives.

Today, I want to recognize the gifts around me and see anew hoe God is calling me here. I want to affirm the goodness and beauty that is present along with the potential that is hidden in the changes to come. I pray that I will not be fearful and draw back, but rather embrace and delight in the new calling we share to serve God's people where we are planted.

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