For the first time since preschool, most parents in the last week heard and saw their student's excitement to return to school for the first time in five months. Parents, of course, were equally excited to get everyone back to some sort of normalcy where life has a schedule again; where life has a routine for every age, where Monday kicks off the work week, and Friday night invites us under the lights for football. Sunday calls us to rest and reflect with the Lord about what was learned in the week, which will be applied in the week, and to come in prayer, song, and community.
It is that last word that stirs our hearts more this fall then any time before. For it is communal life that most people have missed in these last months. Thankfully, we have been able to resume much of our community in worship, but living the fullness of communal life has still felt hindered until this month. But now excitement is returning!
Having excitement for community and for communal worship is what we are called by God to participate in and enjoy just as Jesus did when he walked the earth. Throughout the gospels Jesus is working, walking, and worshipping in community. We could go to countless passages of Jesus being with community, feeding the 5,000 or the 4,000, teaching on the Sermon of the Mount or in the Temple. These are all powerful works of Christ done in excitement and in community. But there is one passage in particular that meets the needs of this writing, and it is found in Luke 4:16 which reads, “He (Jesus) went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day we went into the Synagogue, as was his custom.”
If you keep reading this text, you see that in the planning of time Jesus was handed the scroll of Isaiah, and opening it to the reading of the day he read, "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor...Then he rolled up the scroll and said these words that have been fulfilled in your hearing today."
Can you imagine the excitement Jesus has to share these words of truth and grace? These words are to be our excitement as we come back to our customs of life. Be excited for Friday night, and Sunday worship, and Monday work again! Be excited to live again this September! Amen.