Recently I took a class centered around the theme of “home.” We discussed questions like, What is home? What happens when you lose your home? How do you find your place within a home? In today’s passage, Jesus finds it hard to be at home again. The community cannot resolve the tension between the carpenter’s son they thought they knew and the prophet who works miracles. Surely this isn’t Mary and Joseph’s son! How can this hometown boy be so eloquent? How can he speak with such authority? Remember all those rumors about his birth?
A veil covers our eyes when we consider a hometown prophet. We do not see clearly. One of two things happens: We either overrate the hometown prophet’s achievements or dismiss them as impossible. The crowd wants Jesus to prove himself with signs and wonders. Why do they need signs and wonders to believe him? For Jesus, this could be a temptation just like in the wilderness. You can almost hear the devil whispering, “Show them what you can do so that they can be proud of you. They want to claim you and say that you belong to them. You will be adored.” But Jesus belongs to God. He never belonged to them.
Sometimes when we live out our calling, we meet the most resistance from the people who know us best. It’s tempting to fall back into familiar roles we once played, like slipping on an old comfortable coat, but God rarely call us to be comfortable. On the contrary, God usually calls us to stretch beyond what we know and what others think they know about us. Our God makes all things new.
Creator God, help me to step out in faith when you call me to unfamiliar territory. When others want to mold me into something other than what you have planned, remind me that you are the one true Creator. Amen.
The readings from the Hebrew scriptures share a common theme of calling. Jeremiah is called at a young age to be a prophet. God knew and set apart Jeremiah even in the womb. The psalmist also expresses confidence in God’s call, because God knew him even before he was born. In the same way, God knows each one of us and has a plan for our lives that is not an afterthought. In this First Corinthians passage (often read at weddings), Paul speaks of love. But this love is not infatuation and is not based on emotion. It is intentional, strong, gritty, and unselfish. In Luke we see that many struggle with the fact that Jesus’ calling is also to serve the marginalized. Jesus reveals that God has a missional heart.
Read Jeremiah 1:4-10. What is God calling you to do? What excuses are you making to ignore your vocation?
Read Psalm 71:1-6. God promises not to make our lives easy or perfectly safe but to be with us when we face challenges and violence. In a world that seems increasingly violent, how do you find assurance of God’s continuous presence?
Read 1 Corinthians 13. God calls us to a vocation of love. How can you be more loving in your daily work or activities?
Read Luke 4:21-30. How do you see God’s call in those you know best? Do you accept or reject the call God has placed on their lives?
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