Proclaiming Liberation

Scripture is much more full of hope than accurate journalism.
This Sunday’s Gospel reading tells of Jesus reading from the scroll of Isaiah and announcing “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”  The words Jesus has read are often described as a statement of messianic mission:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free, 
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.”  (Luke 4:18-20)
For those who lived in Jesus’ time, it must have seemed a nonsense that Jesus could proclaim that the time for this liberation was “today”. The Roman Empire was firmly in occupation, many suffered from poverty, illness or wrongful imprisonment and it would likely not have felt to many like a year of God’s favour.
However, freedom is always proclaimed before it is experienced. Promises are made before they can be kept and new dreams for the world? Well they have to be dreamed before they are realised.
Jesus proclaims liberation and healing before they are known. Those gathered that day would have heard the messianic promise in Jesus’ words. Hope would have sprung to life by Jesus’ presence with them.
This is also our hope. Jesus’ presence with us means that humankind are invited into God’s dream for the world. To the suffering ones of every age – the poor, the excluded, the lonely, the despairing – we are called to be good news. Today the scripture is fulfilled, in us, by the Spirit.
What liberating dream could you dream that, by the Spirit, you could make real and make known?
Grace and peace,

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