8 March 2021
Jesus returned to Nazareth to bring good tidings to the poor, give liberty to captives, sight to the blind, and free the oppressed. (see Lk 4:18-19), yet he was rejected by his childhood neighbors, friends, teachers, and acquaintances from his hometown.
I had a friend who was a Methodist minister. His mother was the choir director at his childhood church, and when he was a child, he used to pile up the long, rectangular cushions from the pews and make a great mound below the choir loft. He and his friends would jump from the choir loft onto the cushions.
Shortly after his ordination, he was invited back to his childhood church to preach, and he was concerned. How could he return to the church of his childhood and preach to a crowd that knew all his mischief? If no prophet is accepted in his native place (Lk 4:24), then surely a young preacher wouldn’t be accepted in his childhood church, right?
My friend had visions of being driven out of town, and being led to the brow of a hill (Lk 4:29). But that was fear speaking. In reality, the people who formed him through Sunday school and youth group were elated at his return.
Sometimes we feel tempted to let our past holds us back from doing good things in our future. We have to relinquish shame. Shame is not of God. God called Jesus back to Nazareth, and he went obediently. What will it take for you to get beyond wrongs of your past to live fully today?
You are More is a song by Tenth Avenue North. Consider the refrain:
You are more than the choices that you’ve made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You’ve been remade.