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BIG A sermon from St Kentigern’s

St Kentigern’s Church
people together following Jesus
to think about and discuss
Scottish Charity SC001324

S pringtime is not only good because the days are

becoming longer. It’s also when we think beyond our
four walls and might look forward to getting away
from it all in the summer time. Haven’t things changed hugely
ignored; who stops at the call of a blind beggar calls and takes
time to make him well; who gives a crowd of five-thousand
plus not just food for thought or for their souls, but bread for
their stomachs.
Our question ought not to be: ‘Is there a part for me to
play?’ Instead, we each need to ask, ‘What part is God asking
me to play in God’s world-wide mission to take Good News
to the poor?’
in only a generation? In the Sixties, a foreign holiday was quite And today, God is continuing to show who he is to the How do we play our part? Surely we cannot all go. It starts
something; now, it’s not so unusual to go to the other side of world. He sends into all parts of the world those who trust by our being interested, and continues with or involvement.
the world for a summer break. The world has become, in this one God-man, Jesus Christ. The whole church needs to The opposite of love isn’t hate, but indifference; the sort of
some senses, more accessible. What of our thinking about the realise that it, the whole church and not merely some small indifference which says ‘I don’t really care what happens to
world, though, particularly as people who have faith in Christ? interested sub-group, that is being sent into the whole world you.’
Our passage from Isaiah tells us primarily that God wants to tell the Good News of God’s favour in Jesus Christ. That We need to be sufficiently interested to discover what’s
his world - and the whole of it - to hear his Good News. Good News is told in actions and in words. It has to be both: going on in the world and the truth is that that we have more
Especially, God wants this news to go to those who are poor empty stomachs and empty hearts need to be filled. chance to hear what’s happening right across it than anyone
(and let’s be honest enough to say that this means those who before us. So let’s be interested. Let’s find out from agencies
don’t have much) and to those who are poor in spirit: like TEAR Fund, or Christian Aid, or missionaries with
the broken hearted. God’s Good News is for prisoners, The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD whom we’re paired. Let’s watch the news, surf the
both those really imprisoned and those who feel they’re has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent internet and read the papers, and find out what our world

in a tunnel with no end. Such folk people across the me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim freedom for the is like.
world have a special place in God’s heart. God feels for captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim And let’s also be involved. They say that for evil to
those who are poor, for those who are without hope the year of the LORD’s favour and the day of vengeance of our triumph, it’s only necessary for good folk to do nothing.
and in the dark. What is more, God is in the business of God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve Being involved has a long pedigree. The prophet was
giving real riches and real freedom in Jesus Christ. in Zion- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, involved in telling people the good news. God came to be
What does God want the world to know? He wants the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise involved with us in Jesus Christ, even though it cost him
the world to know what he’s like: that he is a God of instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of his life. God calls his followers to be involved in the
favour, and of justice, and the God who comforts. righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendour. world, and especially with the poor, with those who can’t
People dress differently for different kinds of parties. I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he speak out, with those who are imprisoned, with those
Some are solemn, like a funeral. You’d go to that soberly has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a who are too weak to be heard. And even more amazing:
dressed, possibly in black. And you’d wear a long black robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, God chooses to work through us.
face to match. Here, though, Isaiah says that God will and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. For as the soil makes So, in your fellowship, can you think about where
give to the sad crowns instead of funeral clothes, joy the young plant come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so you’re going, and what kind of gathering of the people of
instead of sorrow. They shall sing songs of hope, not the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness and praise spring up God you are? Are you going to be a people who work
despair, because God brings hope to the poor. before all nations. Isaiah 61:1-3, 10-11 together, are you going to work at increasing your
God wants the whole world to know this. So at the [Jesus] went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on confidence in Jesus and therefore risking more to follow
end of this chapter, the picture is of praise being given to the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. him, are you going to reach out and make an impact for
God in front of all the nations. Then all people And he stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was Christ in your community, and are you going to aim to
everywhere will have the chance to see for themselves handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: influence the world? Or are you going to sit back, let
who God is. “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to others do the work, and keep the good news something
God has taken the crucial steps to accomplish all this. preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom to be enjoyed privately? What do you think the church
He sent Jesus, the God-man who fulfilled this prophecy, for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the should do? Do you share your dreams with your leaders,
as Jesus affirmed that day when he read this scripture in oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.” and do you seek God’s face as we head towards a new
the synagogue. Jesus gave up everything, and came into Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat future?
this far-off world, far from the beauty and holiness of down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on Let’s ask God where he wants us to go- and let’s be
heaven, to show us what God is like. him, and he began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled bold enough to risk going there for him.
And this is what God is like: a God who speaks to in your hearing.” Luke 4:16-21
women whom men in their time and culture would have