Now when he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee. And leaving Nazareth he went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, so that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:
“The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,
the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—
the people dwelling in darkness
have seen a great light,
and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death,
on them a light has dawned.”
From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
The weather is cool and spring like this morning. The end of April has proved to be cooler than her beginning, with more rain and wind now than late in the winter. We woke this morning, groggy and somewhat glad to be alive after a long day and night of illness. The sun is radiant and the sky is a brittle bright blue. I had no idea what yesterday looked like, never having ventured out, only rising to let the dog out and in. That kind of darkness can hit us all, whether through illness, depression, oppression, or a multitude of the world's ills. Sometimes we can get so pushed down that we can't even look up to see the light, can't gain traction enough to look anywhere but down. What a gift to be able to see the light of day and walk in it. A normal privilege but thrilling when missed for some time.
The Gospel of Matthew continuously connects ancient prophesy to the ministry of Jesus. The ancient prophetic tradition which continually held justice, compassion and release was to become identified with Jesus' message and ministry. We are invited likewise to be people who preach justice, healing and reconciliation. And more than preach those things, we are to live those things, opening our arms to all people, and acting on behalf of those who are poor, silenced and shrugged off from society and the light of God's love.
Today I ask God to help me remember my gratitude for the dawn, and to live that gratitude in the service of others. May we be carriers of the light. May we be servants of justice and health for all. May our strengths be offered for the weak, our abundance for the poor, and our joy to those who only know darkness. May God give us all the strength this day to live the prophetic expectation, and walk in the light of God.