The scripture reading today is Psalm 71:1.
1In You, O LORD, I take refuge; let me never be put to shame (NRSV).
Mission Inaugurated, Disaster Averted
This weekend brings the follow-up to Jesus’ inaugural sermon in His hometown synagogue. Jesus’ mission nearly ended the same day that He announced it:
“When they heard [Part 2 of His sermon], 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” (Luke 4:28-29).
Three days ago was the 33rd anniversary of the Challenger space shuttle disaster. The mission barely got off the ground. How could this happen? No matter the explanations given, the blame and shame surrounding such a catastrophe began immediately and will linger forever.
The Psalmist had been blamed and shamed by enemies and asks to be delivered, rescued, saved. Halfway through this Psalm, he asks for his accusers to be shamed, consumed, and covered with scorn and disgrace instead—a wish that is apparently granted by the final verse. For him, the story ended happily like Jesus’: “But [Jesus just] passed through the midst of them and went on His way” (Luke 4:30).
Blame and shame? We get it. Our politics and public discourse have become infested on all sides of every issue, it would seem. Even a hometown boy or girl can be vilified at the drop of a hat or a slip of the tongue. We begin to wonder whether or not disaster will be averted. Our call is first to follow Jesus, who “went on His Way” that day, bound for the cross, proclaiming a Kingdom that is coming to end the blame and shame.
Dear Jesus, how did You not take things so personally? Help me to act more like You and not to react unfaithfully. Amen.
Pastor Jim email@example.com
Pray for the truth to be known in all disputes, and for those who are tangled in our legal systems to be treated with justice.