Jesus grew up in a devout Jewish home. He read and studied scripture, observed the rituals and holidays. He became a teacher and healer, respected and admired. Word of his deeds and miracles has made it back to his hometown before he stands to read scripture in his home synagogue. And as he declares the scripture fulfilled in their hearing, they all “spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth.” But within the span of eight verses, the loving crowd turns against him, threatening to throw him off a cliff.
In his words after his reading of scripture, Jesus reminds the congregation that prophets of the past were called beyond their hometowns, that God used prophets to deliver people outside their social and tribal groups, that prophets healed those whom God chose. And the people “were filled with rage” that the young man they had helped to raise and train and whom they claimed as their own would not give them preference, would imply that God worked among people of all nations. And so they drag him to the cliff.
Listening to God in prayer, following the example of Jesus, obeying the prompting of the Holy Spirit can nudge us outside of our comfort zones to work for God’s reign to come on earth. And that can make people uncomfortable, especially those who have invested the most in our spiritual formation and journey of discipleship.
We must continue to trust that the more freely we offer grace, the broader we spread love, the more deeply we work for reconciliation, the more all people sense God’s presence.
God of grace, we trust that every scripture verse we read, every prayer we offer, every act in the name of Jesus Christ will form us more completely into your likeness so we may serve you faithfully and courageously in and for the healing of the world. Amen.