Worship Notes

January 30, 2022

Hometown Surprise

In today’s gospel, Jesus has returned to his hometown, a community eager to welcome him back into their midst. Perhaps they assumed Jesus would meet their familiar welcome with special favor. But instead, Jesus shakes things up by pointing to God’s presence in the lives of outsiders. This is not exactly the message the hometown folks were expecting to hear!

Jesus recalls the widow at Zarephath and Naaman the Syrian, two outsiders in whom God chose to demonstrate divine healing power. This text is an invitation for people in every time and place to consider how whenever we think we have God figured out, God instead shows up in the lives of those we least expect. Every time we place God at the center of our own world, God’s Spirit nudges us to expand our horizons to notice the Holy at work in other communities too.

In homeless shelters and prisons, in immigration detention centers and tense board rooms, in ritzy hotels and dingy bars, in hospital rooms and messy kitchens—in every ordinary, imperfect, and painful place, God is here bringing about new life and freedom. In traditions we don’t understand, in cultures unfamiliar to us, in people we would rather write off as “other,” God dwells, creating and loving and restoring.

Even within our own churches, God defies any logic about what is holy and what is not. God shows up in the ordinary objects of bread and wine and water, in the bodies of flawed and fragile people gathered for worship, in the sticky hands and juice-stained mouths of children waving their Sunday school crafts. In these imperfect and beautiful things Jesus declares the presence of the kingdom of God.

May our hearts be open to notice Christ in the places we least expect him to be.

From sundaysandseasons.com. Copyright © 2022 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.

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