The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Jesus. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Then Jesus rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” Luke 4:17-21
I came across a letter from my dad who encouraged me with these words, “I pray you will rejoice in the Lord this day, ‘there is not enough darkness in all the world to put out the light of one candle.’” In this season after Easter, I give thanks for the light of Jesus that could not be snuffed out even by religious and political rejection, torture, and death. The resurrection and the distribution of the Holy Spirit are testimony that God is still fulfilling the Isaiah prophecy through the followers of Christ. We are called to reflect Christ’s presence and light as we live out a proclamation of God’s Good News.
Charles Tindley reframed this gospel gift from God as offering “hope to the hopeless, forgiveness to the guilty, help for the weak, friendship for the friendless, peace for the troubled soul and home for the homeless.” I certainly yearn for all these gifts and promises of God, don’t you?
We are certainly in the midst of a time of upheaval and unrest in our world. We can name intense personal suffering, grief, disappointment and struggle of our family, congregation members, friends and even ourselves. We can list the societal and denominational unrest that envelops us that can easily lead to our despair. Yet, may we remember even more that “the Spirit of the Lord is upon me.” I love Corrie Ten Boom whose family helped many Jews escape from the Nazis during World War II. Reflecting Christ during that horrific time took courageous faith. The Ten Booms affirm, “There is no darkness that Satan can create that can shut the love of God our for you and me. No pit is so deep that God is not deeper still.”
It is reported that the final words before John Wesley’s death were, “The best of all, God is with us.” My friends, God is with us! Let us receive that Good News! Then, may we ponder how we can reflect God’s grace to others as we live our lives this day.
Let us pray in these words of St. Francis:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace: where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy. Amen.