Yesterday (Sunday 27th) we had two challenging readings in our Church services.

The first reading was the account of Jesus’ first appearance in public as he went to the synagogue of his home town of Nazareth and was invited to read the scriptures and preach. The reading he chose talked of the promised saviour of Israel who would give a much better deal for the lowliest in society. Having read the passage, Jesus announced

Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Jesus was the one who would preach good news to the poor, proclaim freedom for prisoners, announce recovery of sight for the blind, release the oppressed and proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour. The year of the Lord’s favour was the Jubilee year when all debts were cancelled, and slaves were freed.

That promise was made 2,000 years ago and Christians throughout the centuries have been called to continue Jesus’ work. We are not making a very good job of it, though the intention is clearly there.

The second reading gave us some clues on how we might do better. It was St Paul’s words in a letter to the Corinthian Church – a wayward group who prized their wealth and status. Paul used the analogy of the body in which all parts have their part to play; and all are equally important. The body, at best, struggles if any one part is missing. So those who follow Christ must each take their part, each use the skills which they have to help the neediest in society. All should be respected and encourage in their work, no matter how lowly it might appear to be in worldly terms.

But does that just apply to churchgoers? I would give a very definite NO. As responsible members of our society we need to work together, respecting one another and each using the skills which we have to make our society more just and one which cares for those who struggle most.

Yesterday (Sunday 27th) we had two challenging readings in our Church services.

The first reading was the account of Jesus’ first appearance in public as he went to the synagogue of his home town of Nazareth and was invited to read the scriptures and preach. The reading he chose talked of the promised saviour of Israel who would give a much better deal for the lowliest in society. Having read the passage, Jesus announced

Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Jesus was the one who would preach good news to the poor, proclaim freedom for prisoners, announce recovery of sight for the blind, release the oppressed and proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour. The year of the Lord’s favour was the Jubilee year when all debts were cancelled, and slaves were freed.

That promise was made 2,000 years ago and Christians throughout the centuries have been called to continue Jesus’ work. We are not making a very good job of it, though the intention is clearly there.

The second reading gave us some clues on how we might do better. It was St Paul’s words in a letter to the Corinthian Church – a wayward group who prized their wealth and status. Paul used the analogy of the body in which all parts have their part to play; and all are equally important. The body, at best, struggles if any one part is missing. So those who follow Christ must each take their part, each use the skills which they have to help the neediest in society. All should be respected and encourage in their work, no matter how lowly it might appear to be in worldly terms.

But does that just apply to churchgoers? I would give a very definite NO. As responsible members of our society we need to work together, respecting one another and each using the skills which we have to make our society more just and one which cares for those who struggle most.

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