The Hebrew bible text assigned for this Sunday is one of my favorites in the whole of scripture. Isaiah declares, “the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners.”
You often hear this piece of scripture read at ordinations, but it’s a job description that each of us has been commissioned to fill. It is a succinct summary of what God is up to in the world – but as the ELCA’s new tagline reminds us: God’s Work – Our Hands.
Luther is remembered (among other things) for reminding the church of the “priesthood of all believers.” This doesn’t mean we’re all called to be pastors, but that in our daily lives we are all called to be messengers of God’s good news and agents of God’s work in the world. As a prime example of this, we’ll be blessing and commissioning our sister Betsy Bowen this Sunday. Betsy leaves shortly after the new year for a ten-month excursion to Malaysia where she’ll be teaching English.
I hope you can join the rest of us this Sunday as we celebrate the lives and ministries of people like Isaiah, and John the Baptist, and Betsy Bowen – and you and me!