Wednesday, February 3, 2016

You Are The Body, Broken, Given

Notes from last Sunday's Sermon. Hope they are useful! 

Then [Jesus] began to say to them, 

"Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing." 

All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They said, "Is not this Joseph's son?" He 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.”

And he said, 
"Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet's hometown. 

But 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; 

yet Elijah was sent to none of them except to a widow at Zarephath in Sidon.

There were also many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian." 

When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage. 

They 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. 

But he passed through the midst of them and went on his 


-Luke 4:21-30

For me, today’s Gospel lesson at first read, is a little bit unsettling. 

Which is a good thing, because that means the Gospel is challenging me. 

And the day the scripture stops challenging me, provoking me, reshaping the way I see the world, is likely the day I’ve stopped taking the scripture seriously. 

And if that ever happens, I better immediately go out and find a different job. 

For me, today’s Gospel lesson at first read, 

is a little bit unsettling.

It’s challenging. 

And what challenging, for me, is this: 

When I read it, 

I hear it saying that 

Jesus, the prophet, the messiah, the Son of God.

The one who came to declare Good News to the poor 

and liberty to those in captivity… 

and the year of the Lords favor for those down-trodden and left out…

(all the things we read about last week, just a few verses ago in the Gospel)…

I hear the Gospel saying to me 

that Jesus, 

Just like Elijah who was a prophet in the Old Testament,

and like Elisha, another prophet who was his successor, 

and (really) even like Moses, the great liberator of God’s people from their first slavery, 

or Sarah, the mother of a whole nation…

What I hear is that 


just like all these other fully-human people 

just like every other person in the whole Bible 

and in all of known history that God has ever sent 

into our own captivities and wildernesses, 
into dirty mangers and old rugged crosses… 

What I hear Jesus saying in this Gospel 

it that Jesus, 

the one who came with Good News, 

The one who is the Good News… 

The Word of God made flesh… 
The light that shines in the darkness, 
and the darkness does not over come it…

Just like the bearers of God’s word who came before him…


did not 



all of a sudden

make everything all fixed.

Jesus didn’t just come on down and didn’t fix everything.

Jesus didn’t stop the whole world from bleeding. 

On the contrary…


And, he implied, at least as I read the Gospel, 
that’s not really what those sent by God do. 


Just like the prophets and leaders chosen and sent before him, 

Jesus didn’t make everything alright. 

When he died the world was still broken. 

Or maybe Jesus died because the world was still broken. 

What’s more: 

Jesus’ Good News to the poor did not eliminate poverty. 

Just look around you. 

And Jesus’ proclamation of release to the captives did not keep Jesus or any of his disciples from winding up imprisoned themselves—they all did time in one jail or another as they went about the world preaching and teaching. 

Jesus’ proclamation of the year of the Lord didn’t 
change the sense we sometimes get that 
time is running out, 
that “the clock” is ticking, counting down,
that time is slipping away. 
Even if we do find ourselves sometimes imagining about God’s promised eternity or heaven or forever.  

And, as we learned reading 1 Corinthians last week, 
(and perhaps observed here and there in our own Christian experiences) 
Jesus’ grace 
didn’t even cure Christians from being mean 

Jesus’ grace didn’t even keep Christians from being mean to one another
or resentful 
or inconsiderate 
or unforgiving 
or impatient or unkind or unloving 

(Although we definitely rely on that grace,

on God’s unconditional love 

when we inevitably revert and digress into those 
fully-human dispositions…) 


Thank God for grace. 



What a challenge. 

No wonder his friends and neighbors tried to chase Jesus off the edge of a cliff. 

Full of excitement, 

hanging onto every word, 

the eyes of all in that house of worship fixed on him, 

the guy 

who was supposed 

to fix everything…

and Jesus proceeded to the “Good News” 

that neither Elijah nor Elisha cured anyone in their hometowns. 

Not even in their home countries!!!

(Everyone they healed was a foreigner.)



as prophets, 

they offered (mainly) words:

just… words!!!

Calls to faithfulness, 

Admonitions toward justice and love, 

and responsibility, response, responsiveness toward neighbors in need… 

Just… words… 

The ones God sent didn’t fix everything,

The ones God sent didn't stop the world from bleeding, 

but instead

the one God sent told people what to do, 

and how to treat one another. 

How to lives of the Resurrection, 

as the broken but Resurrected Body of Christ,

loving God and loving neighbor,

caring for those in need, lifting up the lowly. 


“Physician, heal thyself,”


“Children of God, build one another up.” 

“Build up the Body.” 

“Children of God, when you pray, 


Thy kingdom come… Thy will be done…”

“Together, as One…” 


One of the great mysteries of Christmas and Epiphany
The birth of God, and God’s “showing” 

is that: 

At Christmas and Epiphany, 

Rather than the world becoming the Word, 

(instead), the Word became flesh, 

Rather than the world becoming the Word,

the Word becomes flesh,

God becomes us, 
lives in us, dwells in us, 

God calls us to live in the Word, 
to conform to the Word 

and (in so doing) to be transformed (Romans 12), and being transformed, to transform the world 

for the better—for the sake of Love. 

God call’s us God’s body. 

Our bodies are God's body. 

We are the Body of Christ. 

We are to help the world as it is bleeding, as we are bleeding. 

Broken as we are, given for the healing and sustenance of all.  

Good News to the Poor
Release to the Captives
Recovery of sight to the blinded, 
Freedom to the pressed down 

Proclamation of the year of the Lord's favor:

This is the mission of Christ’s Body.

The message we heard him proclaim last week. 

The message we hear again and again when we gather in his presence.

Said more concisely: God’s call for each and everyone of us, for us together, 

is Love.

God desire is for Love made flesh:

Love made real, Love embodied, Love acted out. 

Love in action. 

(As St. Paul says it in Galatians 5:6, “the only thing that matters now is faith active in Love”) 

And it is about Love, Christian love, neighborly love, 
that he writes to us today: 

“Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth.” -1 Cor 13:1-6 

“It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” -1 Cor 13:7

“Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end.” … -1 Cor 13:8 

“If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” -1 Cor 13:1-3

“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many.” -1 Cor 12:12-14

The author of 1 John says it this way: 

“God is Love and those who live in Love live in God, and God lives in them.” -1 John 4:16 

Love is embodied in you, Among you. 

“You are the body of Christ.” 1 Cor 12:27

cracks and all, in all our imperfections, and insecurities, and brokenness and doubt, there is God, wherever we gather, wherever we are alone.

and though the world may still be broken, 

God’s love and light shines into it, through us, 

transforming us

as we gather

the body of Christ broken, 

the body of Christ given and shared for the sake of a broken world.  

“you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part.” -1 Cor 12:27

Teresa of Avila, Christ Has No Body

Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

God make us your body. God teach us to love. 

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