Sunday, February 3, 2019
The 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time (4th Sunday after Epiphany)
The Revised Common Lectionary passages for the Lord’s Day are:
First Reading: Jeremiah 1:4-10, Psalm: 71:1-6
Second Reading: I Corinthians 13:1-13
Gospel Reading: Luke 4:21-30
The liturgical color for the day is: Green
When God came a callin’—“Jeremiah, here is what you will be about.” Jeremiah was filled with excuses.
Too old. Too young. Too busy. Too overwhelmed. Too involved. Too…anything… ah, yes, it is all excuses. Excuses. They are excuses to stay in our little cocoon.
- No excuses. No fear. No limits.
Excuses, fear, limits—it was the case for the town’s people in Nazareth that day in the synagogue. How was it that they could so quickly turn on Jesus? Here he had just made his purpose clear. “Today this is fulfilled in your hearing?” Immediately we read, “All spoke well of him.” And then just a few verses later, we read that they are taking him out to the edge of town where they want to throw him off a cliff.
It is about the limits. We like to know the limits and boundaries. We like to know where is the edge. We like to know who is in and who is out. We like what we like how we like it in the way that we like it and that had better not change, or we really will not like it. Limits and boundaries—they are our comfort zone.
Jesus pushed those. Jesus invited them to see that day that God was using people beyond the boundary of how they understood their world to be. They understood this God of theirs to be for them. They understood this God of theirs to be for Israel. Their God was too small.
Jesus showed them that in the widow of Zeraphath and in Naaman. They were outside Israel. God used them. They were part of the circle. But for the town’s people that was beyond their boundary. It was past their limit. They could not conceive of a God that big—they demanded a smaller God who was just for them. And so, they wanted to toss him off the cliff.
Jesus emerges from them. No limitations. No boundaries.
We have drawn the limitations. We live within the lines. We love the boundaries. We have drawn them about who is in and who is out. We have drawn those limitations and boundaries about what our capabilities are. We have drawn those limitations and boundaries about what we are willing to do and what we are not willing to do.
We have drawn those limitations and boundaries even to our God in order to keep God small enough to not challenge our own sacred limitations and boundaries.
Listen disciples, no limits. No boundaries. No fear. This is a big, holy God who calls us to live beyond the limits and beyond the boundaries.