For the third Sunday after Epiphany we have the appearance of Jesus at the Synagogue of Nazareth. We get a glimpse of Jesus’ mission through his reading of Isaiah. A social gospel manifesto. The Spirit who inspired Jesus then comes to us as it makes us one with Christ—and forces us to ask how we know Christ when we see him.
Luke 4:14-21 “The Social Justice Manifesto”! But what is the social justice Jesus envisions? Cindy talks about good news to the poor, debt relief, freedom. And then there’s the Spirit piece—Jesus speaking as one empowered by the same Spirit that gives gifts of speech in the church. If we weave those together, we find an imperative to use our speech in the church to further Jesus’ mission of social justice.
1 Corinthians 12:12-31a The intimate unity between Christ and his people: the Spirit makes us Christ. In a moment of weakness, Daniel lets his white male privilege show. (So embarrassing—please don’t tell!) But really—how do we respond to diversity? Cindy jumps in with some wise words. And then there’s the question of where we look for Christ: Up? Down? Or left and right?
Psalm 19 Do the heavens declare with speech or without? Daniel’s so confused. Cindy recommends doing an editing job to make up for the need for… well… an editing job. And then, what do we do with the celebration of the Law? Is it, or Christ, what we want to preach as the perfect reviver of our souls?
Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10 So, really, why are the people crying? Surely the sermon wasn’t that bad? Ok, probably not. And then they throw a party—and Cindy shows us how the party brings us back to good news for the poor: the people were to share their meat with those who had none.
Don’t forget to grab your tickets (for free online or in person attendance) for the Clobbercast recording in Palo Alto on February 5!
Books cited this week:
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson
Grounded: Finding God in the World-A Spiritual Revolution by Diana Butler Bass
Cindy Wang Brandt is a blogger at cindywords.com and serves on the board of a non-profit fighting global poverty at One Day’s Wages. She has written for Sojourners, Red Letter Christians, and HuffingtonPost. Her first book is Outside In: Ten Christian Voices We Can’t Ignore, and is working on her second book on the subject of Raising Children UnFundamentalist. You can join the conversation on progressive Christian parenting, at the Raiding Children UnFundamentalist Facebook group. She’s on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. After 5½ years as a missionary, she is currently living in her hometown in Taiwan.
Daniel Kirk is a writer, speaker, blogger, and New Testament professor who lives in San Francisco, CA. He holds a Ph.D. in New Testament from Duke University and is the author of a pair of books, Unlocking Romans: Resurrection and the Justification of God and Jesus Have I Loved, but Paul? His third book A Man Attested by God: the Human Jesus of the Synoptic Gospels, is off to the printers. He blogs regularly at StoriedTheology.com (jrdkirk.com). You can follow him on Twitter @jrdkirk and on Facebook at Facebook.com/jrdkirk.