You may have heard a theme running through our lessons this morning. We started with faithfulness to the covenant that our faithful God has made with us; we saw that one of the functions of all of Creation is to bring glory to God, the Creator; we heard that God has knit us to one another, in the community of faith, to be and to function as the body of Christ; we discovered, along with those gathered in Nazareth’s synagogue, that Jesus’ mission is to bring freedom and healing.
In hearing these Scripture passages, we are challenged in our own commitment to God, who has shown Himself committed to us: how do our lives respond to His goodness to us? We are challenged in our own identity as God’s creatures: unlike the rest of Creation, human beings have options – sinful rebellion does not glorify God. Are we living lives that are in accord with God’s purposes in Creation? Do we live to bring God glory? We are challenged to live, not only in peace with each other, but in harmony: the Church should move in accord with itself, each part fulfilling its role for the building up of the community of faith and the carrying out of Jesus’ purpose. Are we living in continuity with God’s purpose for us? We are challenged to make Christ’s mission our mission – for all of the many things that are parts of being an identifiable community in the world we live in, and for all of the many things that are a part of carrying out Christ’s mission, do we – Christ’s body – keep Christ’s mission before us at all times?
In hearing these Scripture passages this morning, we are presented with the opportunity to respond to God’s goodness with transformative, life-saving faith; to live for the glory of God; to move purposefully together, as one, in the Church; to carry out Jesus’ work, bringing healing to the broken. It is so easy to live lives of discord: discord with God’s covenant, with Creation, with Jesus’ collective purpose for us, with the mission of Christ in the world.
It is easy to live disordered lives, devoid of the love of Christ: when we cultivate fear, suspicion, and bitterness, we fail to live the life that God has called us to. When we operate deceitfully, or greedily, or with arrogance, we fail to live the life that God has called us to. When we are inconsiderate, intolerant, or just plain nasty, we fail to live the life that God has called us to. So instead, let us be people who reject these things.
Instead, let us rise up and embrace the fullness of life that Jesus calls us into, through embracing His purposes for us in Creation, in calling us together into the covenant community of the Church, which is His body, and in carrying out His mission. Amen.