Hey Everyone –

Last Sunday we saw how Jesus’ public ministry began in John’s Gospel – with the miracle of turning the water into wine at Cana – emphasizing the gifts of transformation and extravagant abundance in Jesus.

This Sunday our sermon text from Luke’s Gospel in 4:14-21 has Jesus’ public ministry begin very differently.  Sometimes considered Jesus’ first sermon (some called it the “Nazareth Manifesto”), Jesus quotes words from the prophet Isaiah to launch his mission, and “good news to the poor” is pretty much it in a nutshell. 

One commentator describes this text as “One of the most ignored, watered down, spiritualized or glossed over texts” in many churches today.  I wonder if you agree? How – and why – do we do this?  How do we join in Jesus’ purpose today?  There’s a lot to talk about this week!

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Also, I want to invite you to a little project I am undertaking in conjunction with my latest Pittsburgh Seminary class…

Beginning Sunday February 3 right after lunch, for about 45 minutes or so, I will be doing a little 3 week experiment around the biblical literature and practice of lament with anyone who wants to stick around.  WHY? Because here we are as a congregation, having been through a very challenging time of change due to a painful church split, experiencing a great sense of disruption and loss, and now preparing to leave a familiar location and building (when? we’re not exactly sure yet!). And we’re not even exactly certain where we are going or what the future looks like! It can all be a little overwhelming, if not distressing.  (Not to mention all the personal, social and political challenges and disappointments that we are experiencing all the time that make us wonder, Where are you Lord?!) 

So, I wonder if the biblical literature and practice of lament might help us out a bit – by encouraging us to tell the truth about our situation to God, and preventing us from burying our feelings and having to act like it’s no big deal, and ultimately by helping us get to a place of deeper trust in God.

I hope you can stick around a little longer beginning Sunday afternoon February 3 and join in this little mini-experiment…

Grace and peace, friends!

Pastor Heidi

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