Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country. He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone.
When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:
"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."
And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to say to them, "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing." Luke 4:14-21
We all love a good debut. That anticipated moment of beginning. That moment in a theater after the lights go down and the curtain rises...just before the actor, the player, the concertmaster walks onstage and the experience begins. We love the feeling....anything can happen even as we expect and know that something IS going to happen, and it's going to happen SOON. It's happening NOW.
Imagine that moment being one that we look forward to at Church. Each week we gather and greet the usual players. Good friends, and perhaps a few new ones, gather to sing God's praise. In that praise we invoke the presence of the living God. We call on the Father, Son and Holy Spirit to be wholly present to us, and through that arrival change and recommission us to renewed service in the name of all that is holy to the people we are called to serve. We should be ready for anything. We should be.
Usually, though, we are performing a faithful check-in with the Almighty and each other. We are topping off the spiritual reserves we need for the coming week. We look to the prayers to give consolation, to the sacrament for comfort and reassurance of God's presence alongside us, and to the sermon for a wise word or thought that will challenge us just enough over the coming days.
We are not usually expecting to get knocked off our rockers by having God ACTUALLY show up.
And yet, one day in the local synagogue just on the outskirts of the marketplace in the little town of Nazareth, a young man takes his turn to offer the reading as the prayer service begins. He steps to the bimah and is given the scroll of scripture consisting of the writings of the prophet Isaiah. He open the scroll, pulls his prayer shawl up over his head, and finding his place he begins to sing the words. They might even have been the passage he chanted and preached on during his coming of age ceremony. He sings that passage above, and instead of speaking interpretation there at the lectern he returns to his seat. From there, he speaks while seated...like one with authority.
The scripture has been fulfilled today in your hearing.
That answer is given....now.
That answer is given...the one before you, speaking.
This is the moment, the beginning, the first moment when doubt dissolves and light shines.
Are you ready? Really, that is the question of Epiphanytide. Are we ready is the big question. Sunday, and every day, we have to be ready to have God show up. We have to be ready to go beyond the comfortable and routine expectations that this day, this Sunday, this moment will just like any other. We have to be ready to allow that with Christ present in our lives, today and every day, that NOW is the time that HE is speaking to CALL us to life. New life is ours....and all we have to do is say AMEN and start living it.