1/20/19 – God Has Anointed Me

Posted on : Jan 17th, 2019 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

After Jesus’ Baptism at which time the Spirit descended upon him, Jesus gained a profound sense of purpose for his life.  The way the Bible describes that self-awareness is in the words of the prophet Isaiah: “The Spirit of God is upon me, because God has anointed me to:

Preach good news to the poor
Proclaim release to those in prison
Give sight to those who are blind (not necessarily physically blind)
To set at liberty those who are oppressed
To proclaim the acceptable year of God.


Beginning this Sunday, we are going to look at what each of these directives mean for us and our faith today.  This Sunday we begin with “God has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.”

Yesterday I was walking from the parking lot into the church.  It was still raining.   Everything, including all the litter and clutter around the parking lot and on the sidewalks, was waterlogged.  As I walked toward the telephone pole near the entrance to the parking lot, I saw a pile that looked like old sheets and a blanket.  They were soaked.  As I walked by, I saw a shoe sticking out from under the pile of wet bedding.  I said to myself, “Oh dear God, there’s a human being under that pile of wet sheets and blankets!

Note to self:  we need to preach good news to the poor.  That just isn’t happening in our country.

This Sunday falls on the weekend celebration of The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday.  Most people remember Dr. King for his now famous “I have a dream” speech.  But what most people don’t remember is that Dr. King’s major organizing was for “The Poor People’s Campaign.”  Dr. King knew that race and poverty in America were intentionally woven together.  The “Poor People’s Campaign” was to highlight poverty and the economic system that perpetuated it for workers such as garbage collectors, shoe shiners and those who worked as servants.  Black/African American women at the time were almost all forced to work because they couldn’t afford to live on their husband’s income.  Meanwhile, white women stayed at home raising their families.  Just as immigrant workers and undocumented workers today are often forced to work for far less than the minimum wage, so Black Women in the 1960’s worked as low paid Nannies, Maids, Housekeepers and House Cleaners.  Even with two wage earners, most African American families lived in poverty, especially in the South.

Fifty-two years later, we have about the same proportion of our country living in poverty as we did when Dr. King started the “Poor People Campaign.”  That is not very good news!  In fact, it is terribly depressing.

Today, poverty is not only supported by the same economic forces of race and education, it is being exasperated by drug addiction.  So, what is the good news to be preached with the poor?  And why in the world did Jesus care so much about the poor and economic justice?  We’ll look at that this Sunday as we begin our winter worship series, “The Spirit of God is upon me, because God has anointed me to….”

God Bless You!

Dan

Luke 4: 14-21

Jesus reveals the purpose of his life.

And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee, and a report concerning him went out through all the surrounding country.  And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all.

And Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and went to the synagogue, as his custom was, on the Sabbath day.  And he stood up to read; and being given the book of the prophet Isaiah, Jesus opened the book and found the place where it was written,

“The Spirit of God is upon me,
Because God has anointed me to preach good news to the poor,
And has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
And recovering of sight to those who are blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed,
To proclaim the acceptable year of our God.”

And Jesus closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Jesus, who began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

 

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