Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Got me to thinking

I am preparing my assembly for the local school this morning, and it is called 'Jesus' job description'. The job description it uses is this statement at the beginning of Jesus' ministry - that he read in the synagogue concerning himself.

Luke 4
16 When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:
18‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
19to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’
20And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21Then he began to say to them, ‘Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.’

And what I thought, and am thinking, and will continue to think is -
How well does the Church fit into that role? What good news do we bring to the poor? What captives are we releasing? Who is it that is blind that we are giving sight to? Or whose oppression are we addressing? And what does it mean to proclaim the Lord's favour?

It strikes me that we spiritualise everything in that list and seem to act in terms of bringing life to the spiritual poor, sight to the spiritually blind, freeing people from captivity and the oppression of sin (or at least trying to point people to the one who does). But actually Jesus didn't qualify it in that way - and in his life and ministry set about doing things which changed people's real, solid, physical lives as well as opening their eyes to the deeper life which God offers. I think by only looking at the spiritual implications of this we are impoverishing the Gospel message.

My thoughts for today. I am happy to get comments on this - even if you disagree (or perhaps especially if you do).

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