Submitted by Visitor (not verified) on Wed, 07/12/2011 – 10:50
Year A (2010-2011)
Verse: 1 – 4
Text: Isaiah 61:1-4
When I read what the RCL text for this week was, I was tempted to just post the text and say nothing more about it. There is such a depth in this poetic text!
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor … (NIV)
The wonderful images continue … comfort, …crown of beauty,… oil of joy,… garment of praise, …oaks of righteousness, ….rebuilt, …restore, …renew,…
It is wonderful to think that these are the words Jesus used when He announced His calling in Luke 4. It is wonderful to think about this new world of which Jesus said “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
But then I look around me…. and this is not what I see. And I know that just posting the text would be the ‘easy way out’. This is one of those very challenging texts, where we can say it is at the same time true and ‘not yet’ true, a reality and ‘not yet’ a reality.
Jesus said that the scripture is fulfilled, that good news has been brought to the oppressed. And yet we see many forms of oppression around us, we see many who have not heard the good news.
Jesus said that the scripture is fulfilled, that the brokenhearted has been bound up. And yet we see many with broken hearts and in pain.
Jesus said that the scripture is fulfilled, that liberty has been proclaimed. This liberty is more than a physical release of people who are in prison. It refers to freedom of many forms of captivity and oppression, of factors that prevent growth and development. And yet we see many people in the prison of stigma and rejection, in the prison of poverty and lack of education, in the prison of their circumstances.
Jesus said that the scripture is fulfilled, the year of the Lord’s favour proclaimed. And yet we look around us and see much that seems like the Lord’s disfavour.
How should we understand this?
I believe that this is not something we can understand, but rather something we should live.
In spite of the ‘not yet’ around us, we can live in this alternative reality, a reality where we can demonstrate good news, freedom, liberty, release, repair, bounding of the broken-hearted, a healed and restored world.
Every one of the prophecies in Isaiah 61, every one of the prophecies that Jesus said was fulfilled, we are the ‘proof’ that these prophecies are in fact fulfilled: every time we bring the good news, freedom, liberty, release, repair; every time we bring reconciliation and hope in a world with HIV.
To think about: How can you become ‘proof’ that the prophecies in Isaiah has become true, particularly in this time of advent