“The Spirit of our God is upon me: because the Most High has anointed me to bring Good News to those who are poor. God has sent me to proclaim liberty to those held captive, recovery of sight to those who are blind, and release to those in prison—to proclaim the year of our God’s favor.” Rolling up the scroll, Jesus gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he said to them, “Today, in your hearing, this scripture passage is fulfilled.” ~ Luke 4:18-21
The southern migration of shorebirds in the late summer begins with adult birds. The recently hatched young birds come along later, unaccompanied by the adults. The nesting season in the high arctic is short, based on the abundance of flying insects. It is likely that this annual parental abandonment has evolved to allow the young to have more access to the food source since the adults have gone off to feed elsewhere as they head to the wintering grounds. As amazing as it is that a creature so young can even survive a trek of thousands of miles, it is mind-boggling that they navigate a trip they have never taken before without the help of others who have done it before. Somehow, they have a reliable GPS system hardwired in them. If you or I were in a similar situation, we would have to summon a whole lot of faith to trust that this insane adventure had any chance of succeeding. Perhaps this is an advantage to being bird-brained: they don’t think, they just fly.
When Jesus told the people of his hometown that the ancient dream of God’s justice was not just a dream, but had, in fact, been realized in that synagogue on that sabbath, his first sermon was nearly his last. The congregation was so upset at the challenge of actually believing the story they had been telling for generations that they considered testing Jesus to see if he could fly, threatening to throw him off a cliff! Jesus was effectively telling them that they had the way hard-wired in them and that if they used their true spiritual instincts (or as he put it “those with the eyes to see and the ears to hear”) they would know that the story was real, that the kin-dom of God was present right then, right there.
Now before you go and judge that gathering for their lack of faith and insight, you better take a look in the mirror. Are you “living the dream?” No, I’m not asking if you are living your best life now. Rather, are you living the dream that God has dreamed for the world? Are you waiting for justice to roll down like waters, or are you finding the cracks in the dam where the water is bound to flow? We are finite creatures, who see time in a linear fashion. That makes it hard to see God’s truths, since they are outside of time, i.e. eternal. But we are also bear the image of our Creator, the great and original dreamer. So, we, too, may dream, which means seeing eternity breaking into this time and this place; the dream fulfilled in our hearing.
Prayer: Creator, we are at the cliff, help us to believe that the dream is so real that we stop thinking and fly. Amen.