A Matter of Proximity

Life Notes—January 28, 2010 

“…and you will say, ‘Do here also in your hometown the things that we have heard you did at Capernaum.  And he said, ‘Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet’s hometown.’”   Luke 4:23b-24 

When I was in high school and college I played in rock bands.  Although the bands were mostly based in Topeka, most performances were out of town.  We were much better known and popular in areas outside of Topeka than we were in our hometown.  The band Kansas, which had huge national success in the 1970s and 1980s, was also from Topeka.  Until they hit the ‘big-time’ they also had a relatively modest following at home, paling in comparison to their following across the country.  I often wondered why it seemed so difficult to obtain the same level of appreciation and notoriety at home as was experienced elsewhere.  I think it might have something to do with familiarity. 

Jesus, too, had problems establishing legitimacy at home.  The powerful words he spoke drew cynical comments like, “Is not this Joseph’s son?”  Does being familiar with one’s lineage automatically disqualify them from being recognized as something special?  How often do companies hire in-town consultants?  In my experience, not very often. There seems to be a bias that someone from out of town will be more knowledgeable and worthy of attention, as if distance and credibility were directly related. 

Of course the bias against my bands of old, if it actually existed, worked to our advantage out of town where local bands probably scratched their heads wondering what we had that they lacked.  It’s a matter of proximity.  Can Jesus and his message become too close and familiar?  Perhaps we become blinded because we’ve lived around them so long, when we need to be living with them, internalizing them.  Familiarity can make something seem so commonplace we lose our sense of urgency to experience it, our sense of wonder and our sense of appreciation.  We become complacent cynics, rather than zealous participants.  Unfortunately, it happens in families, too. 

This Sunday’s theme is The Power of God’s Word.  Tom’s sermon will be drawn from Luke 4:21-30.  Life service is at 10:45 in Brady Hall.  Traditional worship in the sanctuary is at 8:30 and 11:00.  Contemporary worship at the west campus is at 9:30.  Does the fact we worship together every week make it less valuable?  Hopefully, through regular participation, weekly worship becomes more vital in our lives, not something made easier to overlook. 

Come home to worship this Sunday! Good fellowship in close proximity is awesome!

Greg Hildenbrand, Life Music Coordinator

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