Sunday, 27 January 2013

Fourth Sunday of Epiphany

 ‘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,
 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’ Isaiah 61.1-2

The search for community, as longed for by Nehemiah in our first reading this morning,  and lived for by the first followers of Jesus, is rooted in the person of Jesus.

In our Gospel we turn to Jesus in his home town reading from the prophet Isaiah. Jesus has just returned from the desert following his baptism which marks the beginning of his public ministry. 
In the gospel of Luke this is the first thing that Jesus does in his ministry – before he calls his disciples as recorded by St Mark and St Matthew and before he performs Miracles and wonders as recorded by St John.
Luke records Jesus declaring what his ministry is going to be about, a manifoesto is revealed if you like. The words of Jesus reveal what will be found at the heart of his ministry and work in Galilee.
It is interesting that this declaration of intent is not about teaching us a better spirituality, but about doing God’s justice, and creating God’s community? The Christian body that Paul is pleading for, in our second reading from his first Epistle to the Corintihians, will be recognisable by the way it treats others. To be the body of Christ, we have to do as Jesus did.
As we hear these words of Jesus we should ask ourselves in what way does our life together reflect the “manifesto” of Jesus declared in the synagogue of Nazareth?
In what ways do we as a community, as a congregation, as individual members of the body of Christ:
Bring good news to the poor?
Proclaim release to those held captive?
Give sight to the blind?
Set the oppressed free?
And proclaim a year of the Lords favour?

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