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His Heartbeat:

A Heartbeat for More

February 26, 2012

Luke 4:14-21


I came across an interesting site on the internet the other day. I could resist looking at it. Because even if I really didn't want to admit it, there were probable a few times when I really could have used the homespun, down to earth wisdom it presented.

Actually it makes me a little nervous referring to it. I'm a little embarrassed to share with you where I was surfing on the net. But if the spirit of authenticity let me share.

Fun Things to Do During A Boring Sermon

• The site suggests such things as:

• See if a yawn really is contagious.

• Slap your neighbor. See if they turn the other cheek.

• Raise your hand and ask for permission to go to the rest room.

While I thought some of the suggestions were funny, what bothers me is that most people who look at the sight would probably agree that at least sometimes if not often, Church seems boring.

I'm convinced it was never supposed to be that way because of an event that occurred early in the public life of Jesus. It occurred in the Synagogue in Nazareth. The event was so extraordinary the site has still been preserved today.

If you were to make you way through the Nazareth, you could easily miss seeing the entrance to a site marking an event in the life of Jesus that Luke tells. Known as the synagogue church, it is the traditional site of the synagogue in which Jesus read from the scriptures.

In Jesus' time, Nazareth was a small Jewish town of not more than 300 people, and there would have been just one synagogue that served their needs. Over the previous 200 years, synagogues had begun to appear in different parts of the holy land as well as in Jerusalem itself. The synagogue had developed first as a local meeting place, a place where people could gather and read the scriptures and discuss them together.

Attendance at the synagogue had become a regular routine of Jewish life, practicing Jews would have visited regularly. For years they would have heard the same Scriptures read, the law discussed, principles and commandments embraced. Nothing new, nothing powerful, nothing life changing. Laws and commands, discourses and meditations produced little transformation, little change in people's lives. Legalism, elitism, pharasism were bred in the synagogues. You went, because you were supposed to, it was tradition. You listened because you were told to listen.

I can picture little boys and young men, forced to sit through those services, those long boring discourses. Blah, blah, blah. Yada, Yada, Yada.

Till one day, Jesus - on a visit back to his home town of Nazareth -- was in the synagogue on the Sabbath, as was his custom, and he read out loud from the book of Isaiah. And what he read and what he did afterwards changed everything forever.

So just because I know that each of us could add to the list of things to do when we think church is boring, this morning I want us to look at a story that helps us understand Jesus hearbeat better, and hopefully that understanding holds the promise of so much more in our lives.

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