In the fourth chapter of Luke’s Gospel, we are told that our Lord goes to his home synagogue at Nazareth and there he reads the following passage from Isaiah: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.
Then, Jesus says, Today, this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.
It is quite easy to tear down. Tearing down does not take much courage nor intelligence nor faith. Within this past year we have witnessed many instances of tearing down in our nation … and add on to this all that Covid has torn down in our lives and in our society. Yes, some things must be torn down, yet, it remains all too easy to just tear down. It is not easy to build. To build takes intelligence. To build takes courage. To build takes cooperation. To build takes perseverance and faith in God, faith in oneself and faith in one’s neighbor.
During his public ministry, our Lord dismantled the structures of sin in our world by building the Kingdom of God. This is important to realize. … bring glad tidings … proclaim liberty … let the oppressed go free … proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord. These are all actions of building. These are actions of moving forward in trust, hope and true liberation. Yes, our Lord certainly called sinners to repentance and he cleansed the temple but this was all within that primary mission which our Lord was about – to usher in and build the Kingdom of God.
Today, this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.
In light of all that has occurred within our country this past year and what has occurred now even in the capitol of our nation; it is time to forswear the easy work of tearing down and time to begin the hard and mature work of building. Build true civic engagement and responsibility. Build systems of justice and mercy that strive to right injustices for all persons who are oppressed. Build and fortify true community. Build forums of dialogue that do not isolate people in their own opinion but rather bring people into real encounter. Bring the glad tidings of education and the awareness of the dignity of every man, woman and child. Proclaim a true liberty founded not on bias, fear and baseless conspiracy theories but on truth, humility and honesty.
It is so easy to tear down. It takes work to build.
The Gospel of Mark ends with these words; So, then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that attended it. Amen. (Mk. 16:19-20)
Strengthened by Christ and gifted with the Holy Spirit, the disciples go forth into the whole world to do the work of building the Kingdom and in this work the structures of sin are dismantled and triumphed over. This is what we do as Church, we build.
May God bless our nation and, in this particular moment of our history, call us all back – each and every one – to the continuing work of building a more perfect union and may God bless us as Church in the most sacred work of building his Kingdom.