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Called to Domestic Disturbance
Jesus reads from the scriptures and is the talk of the town. At first, Jesus is seen as the hometown boy made good. Then something changes. Is it the mention of Jesus being the son of a local carpenter, Joseph? Does Jesus sense that people are proud of his learning but less eager to engage in his teachings? Is it that people’s expectations are raised—but now Jesus tells them that “no prophet is accepted in the prophet’s hometown”? Jesus angers the crowd and is driven to a cliff and probable death. What does it mean for this hometown boy to create a domestic, and more to the point, a holy disturbance? God’s vision is certainly a challenge, and now Jesus, with the words of the prophets, is unleashing a disturbance in the domestic, tamed, controlled ways of the world and its powers. In the first lesson for today, Jeremiah recognizes the challenge of speaking a prophetic word and questions whether he is too young to take on God’s commission. Jesus steps into his role and finds challenge among his home community and those who have known him his whole life. In a strange twist, Jesus walks through this challenging crowd to safety.
Today, echoing Jeremiah and the psalmist, we sense a call or mission, even in the midst of dangers or among those who would do harm. Jesus and Jeremiah become key illustrations and open conversation of how we are formed, equipped, and called to live God’s agape love, even when surrounded by challenges, obstacles, or hostility. Where is God calling us? How must we confront our own or the community’s barriers? What prophetic word are we being called to speak that might cause a holy disturbance?
Gospel: Luke 4:21-30
People in Jesus’ hometown are initially pleased when he says that God will free the oppressed. Their pleasure turns to rage when he reminds them that God’s prophetic mission typically pushes beyond human boundaries so that mercy and healing are extended to those regarded as outsiders.
21Then [Jesus] began to say to [all in the synagogue in Nazareth,] “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” 22All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?” 23He said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘Doctor, cure yourself!’ And you will say, ‘Do here also in your hometown the things that we have heard you did at Capernaum.’ ” 24And he said, “Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet’s hometown. 25But the truth is, there were many widows in Israel in the time of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a severe famine over all the land; 26yet Elijah was sent to none of them except to a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. 27There were also many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.” 28When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage. 29They got up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they might hurl him off the cliff. 30But he passed through the midst of them and went on his way.