Summary: How does Jesus' Mission Statement effect you?

Luke 4:14-21

“Jesus’ Mission Statement”

In 1977 NASA launched Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 to explore the galaxy.

A recording called The Sounds of Earth was attached to each of the twin spacecrafts—it was a message from earth to anyone out there in the universe who might be listening.

It contained both music and the sound of a human heartbeat.

Over thirty years later the person who served as the creative director of this famous Project, reflected on what she chose to include in The Sounds of Earth:

"The first thing I found myself thinking of was a piece by Beethoven, something called the Cavatina Movement

… When I [first] heard this piece of music … I thought …

… this a great, beautiful, sad piece of music, on which Beethoven had written in the margin … a word which is German for 'longing.'

Part of what we wanted to capture in the Voyager message was this great longing we feel.

So in the end, NASA chose a great song of human longing and launched it into space.

It's as if NASA's scientists were saying to the rest of the universe: 'This is who and what we are as human beings: creatures of longing.'

And hidden in that basic 'introduction to who we are' there are implicit questions for possible extraterrestrials: 'Do you feel this too? Are we the only ones?'"

In our Gospel Lesson for this morning Jesus proclaims that part of His Mission is to "preach good news to the poor."

What makes you poor?

Are you poor?

When we think of what it means to be poor we usually think in terms of the material.

And there is no doubt that being poor can be a terrible tragedy...

...especially if being poor means you are unable to get enough to eat, put a roof over your head, take care of your family.

But I've known many folks who are poor in the worldly sense of the term, but are, in reality, very rich...

...very full...

...happy, content, filled with love, and making considerable contributions to society.

And quite often, persons who are poor, in this sense, but not in the spiritual sense--don't even necessarily think of themselves as being poor.

If a person has a reason to live, a mission, a driving passion... this not what makes them rich?

Money is not so important to folks whose lives are filled with the Holy Spirit.

Mother Teresa was quoted as having said, "The spiritual poverty of the western world is much greater than the physical poverty of our people.

You, in the West, have millions of people who suffer much terrible loneliness and emptiness.

They feel unloved and unwanted.

These people are not hungry in the physical sense, but they are in another way.

They know they need something more than money, yet they don't know what it is."

Do you feel this way?

Do you have a "great longing..."...

...a great longing for something which means so much more than stock portfolios, big homes, fancy clothes, nice restaurants, and competing with the Jones' next door?

If so, you are not alone.

I have a wonderful sister.

She has been extremely successful in the business world, and for good reason.

She has worked hard.

She is also a member of a local United Methodist Church in her area.

Last month she was telling me about a really fantastic sermon which her pastor delivered.

She called it a "Wow" sermon.

She was so impressed that she sent me an audio copy.

In any event, one of the reasons this sermon impressed my sister so is because in it her pastor gives his testimony.

He had an extremely difficult childhood, and was very angry at God for a long while.

In any event, my sister said to me, "I love that sermon so much because it shows that he is just human too."

Now, here I am, her brother.

Listening to her say this.

And I'm thinking, "I'm a United Methodist Minister.

And unless my sister has completely ignored me for the past 40 some-odd years, she knows that I am an incredibly flawed human being.

Why would she think her pastor had it any more together than me?"

Now, he probably does, but that's not the point I'm trying to make.

The point I'm trying to make is that my extremely successful the worldly sense, whom so many persons look up to, looks at some preacher who doesn't make a fraction of what she earns...

...doesn't even come close to her financially in any way...

...and she is impressed by the fact that he is just human, like her.

What's up with that?

I know many poor persons who are rich.

I also know a number of wealthy persons who are rich.

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