January 27, 2019: The Power of the Spirit

Third Sunday after the Epiphany

Do you have life goals? Do you make “to do” lists that help you translate those goals into the nitty-gritty choices of your daily life?

Jesus has goals that inform his choices as he goes about his ministry. He speaks of them early on in his inaugural speech in the Nazareth synagogue: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18–19).

These audacious goals require Jesus to take on the political and religious forces that oppress the poor, the exiled, the occupied, the sick, and the guilt-ridden. Where will he find the courage to embrace these goals and then the wisdom and power to follow through and accomplish them? The answer rests in Jesus’ certainty that the “Spirit of the Lord is upon me.” “It is the Spirit of the Lord who calls, directs, and empowers me.”

Do we believe that the Spirit of the Lord can rest upon each of us as it rested upon Jesus, that it can rest upon our churches and social institutions? Do we believe that today, this scripture has been fulfilled in our own hearing, that God is still calling us to do what is audacious and bold?

Consider your “to do” lists for the day, week, and year. Do they reflect your call as a follower of Jesus? Is the Spirit of the Lord resting upon you and the goals you claim? Surely, we all need the Spirit of the Lord strengthening us whenever we join Jesus in overturning the powers that wage war on the poor, that send immigrants back into oppression, that blind us to God’s clear call for justice and peace.

Lynnette Delbridge, pastoral staff, Central Moravian Church
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania