Friday, November 25, 2016

Sunday's Minute for Mission - Columbia Theological Seminary

In Luke 2:41-52, Joseph and Mary search desperately for their young son Jesus. There is a certain irony here: Jesus’ parents think he is lost, when at a deeper level he has found his calling, which is “to be about his father’s affairs.”

Prof. Nadella leading in prayer during World Communion Sunday in Campbell Hall chapel.
Prof. Nadella leading in prayer during World Communion
Sunday in Campbell Hall chapel.
In Luke’s Gospel, the “father’s affairs” entail expanding people’s understanding of family and community. It starts in this story itself. Jesus’ parents have a particular understanding of his place in the family, and he challenges that notion by envisioning for himself an identity that reaches beyond his family. Throughout the third Gospel, Jesus subverts the narrow identities attributed to him and claims for himself a more expansive identity.

Luke’s gospel was instrumental in my discipleship and calling from early one as I saw my horizons expanded and community constantly redefined. Indian society, and in some ways the American society too, is structured around exclusive identities. Luke’s Jesus challenges us to re-imagine ourselves and our sense of who our “neighbor” truly is. As Christians, we are to watch faithfully for a God who is on the move, transforming our view of God and the world in which we live, and embrace identities that are inclusive and liberative.

Columbia Theological Seminary is “educating imaginative, resilient leaders for God’s changing world.” We do not fully know how God will use us in the future or what that future will look like. We move from fences that are limiting and destructive to bridges which liberate, heal and expand our communal vision.

Raj Nadella, Assistant Professor of New Testament

Let us pray

Jesus, we thank you for being faithful to your calling. We know that our society is fractured. Help us today to see you, ourselves and our neighbors with fresh eyes. May we live and grow courageously into the expanded community to which you have called us. Amen!

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