Rector's Thoughts on this week's Readings

Beware short sermons! (Luke 4. 14-21)

Today we hear a familiar text, Jesus’ first sermon given back in his home town. If you pay attention, the sermon is actually this; "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing." Everything Jesus says before his sermon is simply the bible reading, just as we have a bible reading before the preacher preaches. But note, things are a tad more complicated than it appears.

Jesus takes the scroll and turns to the passage in Isaiah. This might be a specially chosen passage or it might have been the set one for the day, just as ours are. Either way, what Jesus does to the passage is telling. He reads the positive bits about releasing captives, sight to the blind, freeing the oppressed, announcing the year of the Lord. He omits the darker bits, the judgement on others, the imposing of servitude on neighbours. In a way, that is Jesus’ sermon. God, says Jesus, is in the business of releasing us from all that would stop us being complete individuals, flourishing in a just world and setting us free to be involved in the injustice imposed on others.

And here’s our question; are we? Are we involved, as individuals and as a church in contributing to a world where basic human dignity and justice is promoted, spoken about and responded to? There is some way to go before that is “fulfilled.”