Contributed by Heather Gomez (Lay member of Post-COVID Re-Entry Group [PRG] team)
Then Jesus said to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” Luke 4:21
First a humble confession – I have an unfortunate bad habit of interruption. It is not an attempt to be rude or disrespectful. In fact, I thought I was affirming and supportive. I jump in to help others to finish their sentences or share my agreement and mutual perspective for what is being stated. However, I am reminded by my family that (that) in fact is not supported and can be distracting or disturbing. It can rise to the level of being an obstacle or causing misunderstandings.
I am working on this. Promise!
That being said, I found myself reflecting, “What about the events and disruptions that we experience as we move through our day?” Are these also obstacles to us? Sure, they are disturbing but could they serve a purpose? Could Jesus have stated to his listeners in the synagogue that day, “Today Scripture is being fulfilled in your disruptions.” At first glance, this seems to be a paradox -– a fulfilling disruption. But then as we examine Scripture we cannot look long before we find enormous disruptions that fulfilled Scripture — an unexpected pregnancy; getting lost while following a star; unjust incarceration; an earthquake — that actually ended aforementioned incarceration; being kidnapped and sold by your brothers; affliction; being consumed by a sea creature; losing your spouse and all they provided; being robbed and beaten by roadside gangs; ethnic persecution; losing your voice; losing your sight; even losing your life. These were all life-altering disruptions –- truly awful events — that took place resulting in a powerfully fulfilling outcome. Don’t get me wrong. I fully reject the tired refrain, “Bad things happen for a reason…” No. But bad things do happen and God can use all of it for good. The Scriptures came to be fulfilled in disruption.
Also, I am thankful for the life of Congresswoman Barbara Lee who chose to use her voice to be truly disruptive. On September 14, exactly 20 years ago this month, she stood as the only member of Congress to vote against the unrestrained use of force against our perceived attackers and surrounding Islamic regions. She spoke on the floor of Congress just before the vote. Her testimony, hastily prepared as she grieved and struggled to find her bearings, advised, “We cannot become the evil we deplore.” The Scriptures were fulfilled in her lone voice of disruptive dissent. The only presence that stood with her that day was the Holy Spirit and the assurance of a truth that does not change in the face of fear.
So as I reflect I ask you to join me in considering:
How are we as a church fulfilling Scripture today?
Are we being disruptive to the complacency and change-resistant, auto-pilot motion of some in our church to return to normal at all costs?
Could COVID or other enormous crises in our lives be holy disruptions?
Have I taken advantage of the disruptions in my day to readjust my thinking or to reorient my focus?
Is Scripture being fulfilled today in our hearing; in our speaking: and maybe- just maybe in our disrupting?