Take a few minutes to push the “pause” button on whatever is going on around you and be still with God.
16 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, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:
18 “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,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
20 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. 21 Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
The most successful organizations in history have taken great pains to create a mission statement. The mission statement is used to measure everything a successful organization does. The best organizations train their employees to know the mission statement. All energy, focus, and attention of the organization are formed to this statement. The mission statement becomes the standard by which decisions for the organization are made. The mission statement gives direction and defines success for organizations.
Celtic Christians had developed something like a mission statement. Monastic Christianity flourished in Ireland in the 6th and 7th centuries. Each monastic movement had a “Rule.” This rule acted as a mission statement, which everyone that joined agreed to follow. Some monastic movements emphasized asceticism, some piety, some on scholarship, and some focused on mission work. There was a variety of movements, but each was distinct and insisted that every person who joined lived by the particular rule of each monastery.
The popularity of monasticism declined over the years, but the idea of a Rule of Life has gained popularity in recent times. A Rule of Life is a spiritual vision or mission statement. The Northumbria Community describes a Rule of Life as, “A Rule then is a means whereby, under God, we take responsibility for the pattern of our spiritual lives. It is a ‘measure’ rather than a ‘law.’ The word ‘rule’ has bad connotations for many, implying restrictions, limitations, and legalistic attitudes. But a Rule is essentially about freedom. It helps us to stay centered, bringing perspective and clarity to the way of life to which God has called us. The word derives from the Latin ‘regula,’ which means ‘rhythm, the regularity of pattern, a recognizable standard’ for the conduct of life. A Rule is an orderly way of existence, but we embrace it as a way of life, not as keeping a list of rules. It is a means to an end – and the end is that we might seek God with authenticity and live more effectively for Him.”
In our scripture passage today, Jesus gives his mission statement for his ministry. Jesus declares that he will fulfill the vision of Isaiah 61:1-2. Nothing will turn him away from fulfilling God’s plan.
Help us Lord to be steadfast in service to you and our fellow humans, especially those in the margins. Amen
Go with God!