Hometown Dis-advantage

April 23rd, 2008 • Category: GLBT Affirmation, Gospel of Luke
by Tammy Mills

Today’s scripture: Luke 4:14-30 (ESV-text and audio) (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts — Rev. Tammy Mills:

Last summer I had the opportunity to go back and visit the church I grew up in and started ministry in! It was great to see how the church had grown, and my heart was moved as I saw familiar faces. Some of those folks I helped bring into the church and some of those folks helped disciple me. It was great to be able to introduce my children to old friends and parishioners. That little church has given me roots that help steady me and nourish my soul to this day.

On the other hand, it was also that church that defrocked me and kicked me to the curb when I was open about how God had made me. It’s jarring how one place can hold some of your best memories and some of your worst memories!

Reading today’s scripture made me wonder if perhaps Jesus wasn’t feeling like I did last summer as I visited my old church. On one hand, he gets to go back to his home town full of the spirit and ready to declare who he really is to those dearest to him. I imagine he was recalling growing up in that synagogue as he began to teach that day. He probably smiled at familiar faces and recalled old jokes with friends.

But the more he shared and got real about who he was, the more the crowd began to turn on him. I am sure his heart grieved as he experienced their rejection. Thankfully the crowd wasn’t able to push him off the cliff that day and Jesus went on to fulfill his mission here on earth.

This scripture reminds me to be sure that my heart is in the right place before I “out” myself — even to those dearest to me. Jesus didn’t go back to his home town until he had his time in the wilderness. His wilderness time helped him to really come to terms with who he was, and make sure his heart, mind, and spirit were all in the right place.

The other thing that struck me today was that if my heart is in the right place, even the worst rejection doesn’t harm my soul. Rejection by the hometown is painful and causes the heart to grieve, but if I am cool in my own soul I will not only get though the rejection, I will rise above it.

Thought for the day: Do I need some “wilderness” time to get my soul OK with who I am? Do I let others define me, or do I let God’s grace define me?

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

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