Luke writes about the beginning of Jesus' Galilean ministry in this way: "Then Jesus, filled with the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country. He began to teach in the synagogues and was praised by everyone." Jesus has emerged from his baptism in the Jordan River. Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus has survived forty days in the wilderness, where the devil has tried to woo Jesus over to his side. Having fought off those temptations, Jesus is now ready to begin his ministry of preaching and teaching. The first place he goes is back home to Nazareth, to preach there on the Sabbath. Of all the people praising Jesus, surely those in his home town are the most fervent and excited to hear him. Jesus stands, unrolls the scroll and reads a familiar scripture from the prophet Isaiah: "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 favor." Sounds good to the Nazarites, who are quite happy to hear that the Lord favors them. This Jesus is a great preacher! But crowds can turn quickly. Soon the worshippers are enraged at what Jesus is telling them, so much so that they drive him out of town and threaten to throw him off a cliff. What happened to turn a happy homecoming into disaster? Read the gospel lesson for this coming Sunday, Luke 4:21-30, then come to church to explore why Jesus' words are such a challenge for us, too.
In 2016, ELCA World Hunger is extending an invitation to our congregations: Lift up the life-changing work of ELCA World Hunger through new levels of giving - spiritually, intellectually and financially - starting with Lent. Beginning Sunday, Feb. 7, and extending through the season of Lent, congregations across the ELCA will join together to raise $2 million to benefit the ministries of ELCA World Hunger. This support will enable crucial work to get underway and help us kick-start the ELCA year-of-emphasis. Our Wednesday Lenten studies will focus on the work of ELCA World Hunger and how we as Christians are to feed Jesus' sheep. Here's a short calendar of coming events:
Tuesday, February 9, 5:00 to 7:00 pm Shrove Tuesday Pancake Dinner at Zion
Wednesday, February 10, noon Short worship service at Zion with imposition of ashes
7:00 pm Worship service at St. Mark with imposition of ashes
Wednesday, February 17, 6:00 pm Lenten meal and study at Zion (continues each Wednesday through March 16, alternating churches each week)
Please keep Joanie Smith and her family in your prayers. Joan's daughter, Carrie, gave birth to a son, JohnRoss Olin Haynes, this past week. Carrie is still suffering from complications of pre-eclampsia and has just been released from the hospital. Joanie will be traveling to San Diego later this week to be with Carrie and her family.
I had some more medical tests done today and will let you know the results when I get them. Thank you for all your prayers and signs of support these past weeks!
"The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace." - Numbers 6:24-26