Epiphany 3c – Sunday 27th January 2012
Luke 4: 14-21
If you get a sense of depression whilst reading this I do apologise. You see I’m writing this on Blue Monday. The third Monday in the New Year has become known as Blue Monday … well, mainly to those who want to rant about it not being a depressing day and those who want to sell you something to help ease you through Blue Monday. They say that the hopes and dreams of a new year have passed, the winter blues of coughs, colds and bad weather have built up and everything else is going down the pan … making this the most depressing day of the year.
The media is full of articles discussing whether this is a valid use of our time or not. The Telegraph suggests that if you’re depressed buy a puppy. The Guardian says it’s a complete waste of time, “…gibberish, bilge, rubbish, stupid, and any other polite way of saying utter garbage that you can think of.” The Daily Mail blames the European Parliament for Blue Monday – mind you the Daily Mail blames the European Parliament for everything!
If you do need cheering up read this passage from Luke’s gospel:
God’s Spirit is on me; he’s chosen me to preach the Message of good news to the poor,
Sent me to announce pardon to prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind,
To set the burdened and battered free, to announce, “This is God’s year to act!”
Without a doubt these words (here taken from The Message) have a rejuvenating effect. They make me want to shout out from the rooftops “Come, Lord Jesus, Come!”
You see 9 times out of 10 I do feel burdened and battered. Not just on Blue Monday. But on Monday 21st, Tuesday 22nd, Wednesday 23rd, etc, etc. There always seems so much to do and so little time to do it. There seems to be so few workers in the harvest field. I don’t know if I have the necessary gifts and talents, and the get-up-and-go to make a dint in this kingdom building job I’ve been called to. And besides which, I get knocked down so many times I really feel the exhaustion of it all. So to hear once again those liberating words of Jesus that he’s coming to set the burdened and battered free is like a breath of fresh air. I’m burdened. I’m battered. I’m out for the count. I need rescuing. I need salvation. And would you believe it, there he stands … hands outstretched … just for me. He truly is an amazing God. It’s not what I deserve … but he does it anyway. He lifts me up, he dust me down, he walks with me. He forgives my sin, he clears my vision, he renews my call, he provides. Amazing.
Come, Lord Jesus, Come.
That’s enough to shake off the blues any day of the week.
But more than that, here’s an invitation to take part. “This is God’s year to act!” God wants me as a good news teller, a compassion giver, a kingdom builder, a prayer maker, a worship singer. Amazing.
He can’t do it on his own. He needs me. I’m the one who usually says that … “Lord, I can’t do this on my own.” But in this mission he calls me to be his hands, his voice, his feet, his heart.
I pray that God will send his Holy Spirit to fill us all to do this good work for the kingdom. May our vision be compelling, may our tiredness be lifted, may our depression be deflated, may our fears be defeated, may our hearts be spirit-filled and may God’s kingdom be victorious.
Come, Lord Jesus, Come.