ENGAGING THE PRACTICAL TIP
This Sunday, Pastor Donnell continued his discussion of God, Jesus, Politics, Race and You. Near the end of the sermon, Pastor Donnell described Jesus’ reading of the prophet Isaiah when he was at the synagogue in Nazareth (Luke 4:18-21). Jesus said that he was announcing the good news to the poor, proclaiming freedom to the captives, healing for the blind, freedom for the oppressed, and the year of favor of the Lord. This was Jesus declaring his mission. Pastor Donnell summarized this mission as Jesus asking: “where does it hurt?” This question is at the heart of Jesus’ response to the Pharisees in Luke 5: 30-32). The Pharisees and teachers of the law complained to his (Jesus’) disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners. Jesus answered them: “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinner repentance.” In our meditation this week, we will use this last passage to enter into the question: “Where does it hurt?”
For our prayer this week, you might read the passage from Luke 5 slowly several times. One way to do this is to imagine yourself in the scene as you prayerfully read the passage. The first time through, you might imagine simply being an observer being present when Jesus and his disciples interact with the Pharisees and teachers of the law. Why is Jesus spending so much time eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinners? Why is the “gospel” good news for them? Who do you think are the tax collectors and sinners of our time and in our society? If Jesus spent a lot of time eating and drinking with these people (who might or might not include you), how would you feel? What would you think?
The second time through, you might imagine that you are one of the tax collectors or sinners with whom Jesus had dined. How did you feel when the prophet ate and drank with you? How do you feel when the “religious” people of the day insinuate that Jesus is doing something very wrong by doing so?
If you have time, you might prayerfully read the passage one more time imagining that you are either one of the disciples or one of the Pharisees, whichever you can imagine yourself being. If you are a disciple, why is it that you and Jesus spend so much time eating and drinking with sinners and tax collectors (i.e., traitors)? What is Jesus attitude towards them during these events? Do you share his attitude or do you have reservations about these relationships and what they convey? Invite Jesus into any conversations which you might be having in your mind.
At the end of your time of prayer, you might write down any significant thoughts, feelings or inclinations.
Feel free to share your experience with others who have also tried this prayer exercise by commenting below or emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org.