Scripture of the Day
The spirit of the Holy One is upon me, because you have anointed me to bring good news to the poor. You have 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. (
Before I was a pastor, before I was a Christian, I gathered up all the evidence I had and concluded that the church was out not to worship God but to serve the church itself. What belief I had then was in the church’s calloused maintenance of a status quo I could not tolerate. Then, in a course on “Liberation Theology” (itself a confounding and exciting concept to me), I read this passage. Borrowed from Isaiah 61:1-2, it was presented as Jesus’ inaugural address, the outline that explained the totality of his ministry. It showed me a God deeply upset by the status quo, by the oppression and exploitation still so prevalent today. It showed me a God actively at work in the labor of flipping the script and lifting up the poor and downtrodden. This, I realized, was what I had been searching for in my leaving church. And it was only in the distance my flight created was I able to see clearly and commit fully to the way of Jesus.
Holy God, I will not pray for my own satisfaction or my own entertainment, only for the courage to confront bias and oppression. I will not pray for my own fairy tale ending before the stories of the poor and oppressed have their opening line. Once upon a time, Jesus, I thought you only inspired selfish worship. Now I know better. Conscript me into your service that I may liberate and be liberated, that I may be used and useful. Amen.