Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Begin by praying the Collect for Grace and Collect for Purity.
Collect for Grace:
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us safely to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Collect for Purity:
Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hidden: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we might perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Read: Psalm 94, Ruth 4:7-22, and Luke 4:16-30
The people of Nazareth had watched Jesus grow up. They knew his father, the carpenter. In fact, he and Jesus had probably built many of their houses. In those days a carpenter was also a bricklayer and furniture maker, so there were many different things they built.
Jesus came and read the lectionary passage of the day, a passage from Isaiah. He then sat down (some say in the seat that was symbolically reserved for the Messiah) and began to teach. It impressed the crowd, who remembered Jesus as a teenager. What upset them was that he seemed to be saying that he was only sent to certain people. He mentioned that Elijah had been sent only to one certain widow, from the region of Tyre and Sidon, despite the fact that there were many widows in Israel at the time. And although there were many lepers in Israel during Elisha’s time, he only healed a Syrian general. These two great prophets did two great things for two foreigners instead of their own people.
Jesus does want us to love each other. However, he also wants us to love outsiders. Those who are not among us are the ones on whom we should focus. Churches that are inward-focused are churches that will die.
Go and serve someone who is not part of any church. Let this be your prayer.