First Congregational Church Winter Park
Is this not the carpenter’s son, the son of Mary and the brother of James and Joses and Judah and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us? And they took offense at him. - Mark 6:3
Have you ever felt unwanted, rejected, or unwelcome?
In this passage from Mark (which actually comes under the heading, “A Prophet Without Honor,” Jesus goes home to Nazareth after calling his disciples and preaches in his home synagogue. We’re told people are amazed at his teaching, but not in a good way. They know him, and to them, he’s just the carpenter’s son, Mary’s son, the brother of James, Joses, Judah, Simon, and his sisters. Because he’s “just” another hometown boy, they take offense at his teaching. A prophet has honor everywhere but their own home town.
Jesus’ return home is a cautionary tale for us. Why do we often look for talent, creativity, new ideas, and fresh energy anywhere but right under our own noses? Often, that which we seek is right nearby but if it’s too familiar we run the risk of overlooking it or discrediting it like the citizens of Nazareth did with Jesus.
It is also a lesson in looking inward. Why do we likewise too often discredit our own ideas and minimize our own creative and powerful thinking? As often as the story of an unwanted Jesus happens with groups of people, we also do it to our very selves: “That idea couldn’t possibly work,” “I’m not smart enough,” “I’m not this-or-that….”
We would do well to better honor one another and lift up one another’s gifts; especially those that belong to people right next door, in our own classrooms, places of work, houses of worship, and most poignantly within our own selves. There is an ocean of abundant gifts waiting to be found.
Creative God, help us have better eyes to see and better ears to hear the amazing gifts of those who are familiar to us, and those that reside within our own hearts and minds as well.