1 Cor 13: 1-13; Jeremiah 1: 4-10; Luke 4: 21-20
It is not easy to be a prophet; usually it means you are given hard words to share. Words that will be welcomed by some and rejected by others.
It’s not easy to be the prophet.
Our readings this morning concern prophets; in the Old Testament Jeremiah, and young man who feels ill-equipped for the task ahead. In the New Testament – Jesus, who is bold in his approach and stirs up strong feelings for all who listen.
You may remember that last week I told you to come back for “what happened next?”!
Jesus, is at home, in Nazareth; this is the synagogue he grew up in; these people have known him all his life. He is Joseph’s boy. One of them, already he has been out, teaching, working miracles, showing wonders of God’s touch. Already, he has stirred things up by doing these things in neighbouring Capernaum with the rival village… the scene is set, and everyone waits with baited breath.
“Today this has come true in your presence!”
Here…. You… really?!
The pride in one of their own achieving quickly turns to indignation that this upstart carpenter’s son seems to be claiming that he is the Messiah!
As I said, it isn’t easy being a prophet – you doubt yourself, or others doubt you; people don’t always want to hear what you need to say – but you say it anyway -with love.
The call of Jeremiah reminds us of God’s call to each of us to engage with the world; Paul’s hymn of love – which is Holy Love – shows us the need to suffuse our engagement with love, whilst Jesus’ teaching is a reminder that responding to this call does not always lead to recognition and appreciation
Paul called all who follow Jesus’ teaching to love first and foremost, if we listen with love – then the prophet’s words bear fruit.
All the images of mirror writing, mirror images and reflections… reminded us that we do not always see the full picture. We cannot always see clearly. Sometimes we need others, we need a wider view, we need to wait to see the full picture.
On our own we can’t see clearly. With God. With Love we can see… Jesus
Howard Thurman’s poem, the work of Christmas is a timely reminder; traditionally this weekend is Candlemas (Feb 2nd) it is the true end of the Christmas season, the time to start up into the year ahead:
(The Mood of Christmas and Other Celebrations, 1985)
When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,When the kings and the princes are home,When the shepherds are back with their flocks,The work of Christmas begins:To find the lost,To heal the broken,To feed the hungry,To release the prisoner,To rebuild the nations,To bring peace among brothers,To make music in the heart.
It is holy love that calls us to do things we feel inadequate to do. It is holy love that strengthens us and gives us courage and perseverance in times of trial. It is holy love that enables us to speak words of truth to a questioning and sometimes hostile world.
It all comes together in this summary: in the beginning is love. Through the journey is love. In all that is left… is love.
The work of Christmas begins:To find the lost,To heal the broken,To feed the hungry,To release the prisoner,To rebuild the nations,To bring peace among brothers,To make music in the heart
Love, Holy Love, indeed, is the greatest of these.