January 24, 2016
Third Sunday after Epiphany
The regular Seekers service for this Sunday was canceled due to a blizzard. Twelve Seekers gathered via conference call. After some informal sharing, they joined in prayer and heard a reading of “Filled with Power” a reflection on the Gospel lection for this Sunday by Kayla McClurg and originally published on inward/outward.The full text of Kayla’s reflection follows..
Filled With Power
When Jesus returns to Galilee, he is filled with the power of the Spirit. He does not claim to be filled with the power of the Spirit; he simply is. Sometimes we spend more time making claims about ourselves than just being ourselves. We can claim to be not enough for what is needed now, or we can claim to be the best gift the world has recently seen; either way we miss the mark. Jesus proclaims himself neither a nobody nor a God-sent miracle-worker. He is just himself, filled with Spirit, back in his hometown synagogue reading the scripture.
Today he reads Isaiah’s words, which echo his own growing sense of call. He seems to hear it more clearly himself—“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 favor.” Jesus does not self-select a scripture to fit the calling he wants to have; he reads what he is given to read, just as he responds to it in the way he is given to respond. Being filled with the power of the Spirit means he listens as though for the first time, open to what new message he hears now, in this time and place. Not in order to be more like Isaiah, but to become more and more himself.
To be filled with the power of the Spirit is not to mimic the mighty works of others or to live up to expectations or to present ourselves in the worst or best light possible. It is simply to humble ourselves and listen again, making space for Spirit to be and do more, or less, than we could imagine being or doing. To claim that we are Spirit empowered, all filled up with God, gains nothing. But oh, how the world waits for a people committed to acts of mercy, befriending the vulnerable, learning day by day to listen anew to the Spirit that falls upon us and dwells within us. To start taking this beyond-us-working-through-us power more seriously, and to humbly follow its guidance, would be to relax and respond with confidence. This could be the good news to truly remake the world