There’s an amazing reversal in this Gospel text for today — very characteristic for the Gospel of Luke. Holy flipping. Jesus takes the poor and the lowly, sick and the sorrowing, the outcast and the stranger, the weak and the bent down...and Jesus raises them up. Think of poor, young Mary; the 10 lepers; the Samaritan. Jesus takes them and raises them up.
Yeah, we’re not curved inward, we’re out and up in everyone else’s business. And failing to take a deeper look at our own lives and souls. I think we all have moments in both camps.
And that’s where Jesus moves in. He levels us when we’re full of ourselves, pious, hard-working, little “holier than thou’s”. He says, “Hey, cool it, let it go, come down here with us.” Maybe there’s someone in your life for whom your good judgment seems perfectly appropriate, but your anger and frustration with them is so overwhelming, you’re so high up on your horse, you’re so right...That’s when Jesus steps in and says: “Hey, cool it; let it go, come down here with us.” Jesus brings the temple leaders down, he shames them, and in so doing perhaps there’s even a hidden gift there. “You guys are getting so obsessed with the law that you’re starting to use it as a weapon.” Remember: they were only defending the Sabbath. Nothing wrong with that. But they had started to skew it. When the keeping the Sabbath is a weapon not a gift, Christ steps in. When the Bible is used as a weapon, not a gift, Christ steps in, and says, “Where is mercy, where is compassion?” I wonder if there’s any way Jesus was actually giving a gift to those high-and-mighty religious leaders, even if they failed to see it right away. And Jesus brings us down too — has no patience for our lack of compassion and mercy showing toward our neighbor. Jesus steps in to crush our pride and to lift up those we have hurt.
Jesus comes to you this day sisters and brothers in Christ, Jesus arrives in this place in wheat and wine, water and Word, and offers us new life, a new day. The resurrection is real. You have been raised with Christ, buried with him and therefore raised with him — not just after you die, but right now. God has turned the world on its head, through Christ Jesus! We are given new life this day, and even you are free of your ailments — free to live in hope, free to live in trust that God is with us, that God forgives us, and that nothing can separate us from the love that God has for us. We no longer have to shame others or cower (like Chloe) in fear, for we are children of God, released to live as the people that God has molded us to be in this world, for this world. Alleluia! AMEN.