Learning How to Partner with God
Then Jesus began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
Jesus is preaching in his home church, and he is challenging the people of faith he grew up watching to be active and to live their faith in the world. This was a message for them and for us, that God is calling us to be partners, now. Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your midst. Do you remember their reaction?
They weren’t too happy. In fact, after Jesus finished preaching, and they first praised him, until he basically said, “You’re missing the point. You think I am talking about how God is going to save you from the outsiders, the Romans. What I am saying is that God wants to partner with you to change the circumstances that leave anyone outside. God wants to partner with you to make a difference for the poor. God wants to partner with you to make a difference for those in prison. God wants to partner with you to help give sight to the blind and to liberate the oppressed.”
Jesus is challenging them and us to roll up our sleeves and live our faith, out loud in this world. How does that make you feel? If you were in the crowd that day, how would you have responded to Jesus?
One of the challenges in the church is that if we are not careful, we can be content to do programs that make us feel good, but that don’t really have an impact beyond our doors. This is a passage that challenges us to live our purpose and be involved in serving others, beyond our doors.
There was once a neighborhood church that was doing good ministry. They did what churches do. They had worship each week. They had Sunday School and choirs and Bible studies.
Unfortunately, one day the church had a fire and most of the building burned down. There was a portion of the sanctuary that wasn’t burned, but it was badly damaged. Inside the sanctuary was a beautiful, large statue of Jesus. In the days after the fire, as the cleanup was just beginning, a contractor took a crane and moved that large statue of Jesus out of the damaged building and onto the sidewalk.
Later that evening some of the neighbors of the church were standing around looking at the damage and one of the neighbors said, “Well, it is too bad they had a fire. But at least they have moved Jesus into the street. Now if only their members can continue to take Jesus into the streets. Then this church will really make a difference in the world.”
May God help us take our faith seriously. May God help us live our faith in the world, so God can be seen in us and through us.
Loving God, you have called us and gifted us. Forgive us for those times when we are content to be comfortable in our faith. Move us beyond comfort, so we can be signs of your hope for this world. In the hope that Jesus offers us, Amen