Monday 27th July 2020 Basis of Union 13
St Luke 4:16-21
When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:
‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’
And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to say to them, ‘Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.’
The United Reformed Church believes that, in the ministry of the Word, through preaching and the study of the Scriptures, God makes known in each age his saving love, his will for his people and his purpose for the world. (13)
Scripture: the Old and New Testaments, as it says in the previous article of the Basis. Our Basis of Union does not describe in detail what Scripture is. It talks more fully of what Scripture does, how we should use it and what we might gain from it.
Study matters to our Church. The Bible deserves the most careful attention we can give and the best thinking we can do. But study is not an end in itself. It is a way of tuning our ears to the voice of God.
The ministry of the Word is important for our Church. We help one another to drink deep from the Bible’s wisdom – wisdom stored from ancient times, yet ever fresh and never stale.
Preaching matters in our Church. The message of God’s goodness is worth sharing, with one another and with the world. Faithful preaching is a bridge between Scripture and living, attending honestly and seriously to both.
Would Jesus have been at home in our Church? Certainly he knew his Bible, his people’s Testament of faith in God. He found a fresh word in it, to direct and inform his own living and serving. He believed in preaching, speaking from and through Scripture of God’s purpose and power in his own day.
So Jesus might have been at home with at least this bit of our Basis. But when I read his sermon in Nazareth, and his commitment to people whom life had dented and damaged, it challenges and stirs me. It reminds me of God’s loving and demanding will. It tests and energises my love for God’s world today. It reminds me to follow more truly. For it is in following that we shall be at home with Jesus.
Lord Jesus Christ,
we ask you to beckon us forward,
sharing your Word,
serving your world,
seeking your will.
Help us to make a difference
in damaged places.
Help us to discover
more of your truth and purpose.
Help us to discern
your demand and promise.
For your love’s sake. Amen.