Prayer for the Mind of Christ
God of compassion, grant us humility to seek what we need to bring
us to fullness of life; to recognize in the stranger your spirit at
work. Call us again to compassionate helping in the world you have
created. We pray especially for small denominations inside and outside
of ecumenical structures; for racial and cultural minorities; for
individuals who feel they are not heard and tended to. Enable us to
follow the example of Jesus, to reach out without bias to those who
are needy and searching. Give us the mind of Christ, we pray. Amen.
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a sermon based on Luke 4:14-21
by Rev. Thomas Hall
In one memorable painting by Norman
Rockwell entitled, "Homecoming," a neighborhood welcomes a young man back home.
But we immediately know that this is no ordinary homecoming. The scene that greets our
eyes tells us much about the young man. He stands in military dress almost at attention in
front of what looks like low rent housing. Narrow porches are bunched together one after
the other; packed dirt forms the frontage of where grass should have grown. A makeshift
clothesline dangles in front of the family apartment with wooden pins tacking freshly
washed clothes. Electric wires crisscross haphazardly in front of the building. The young
soldier has returned home. It is an impoverished, dilapidated place.
Yet, that is not what greets the young man. For a menagerie of neighborhood folks have
gathered to welcome him. A huge aproned woman stretches her arms out, her face beaming; a
man and several children stand in the doorway behind her waiting their turn at the young
soldier. Neighborhood kids watch the young man from their second story window and another
kid hunches midway up an elm tree to get a view. A dog is running from the porch toward
the young returnee. Even the landlord atop the stoop stops his repairs to watch the
soldier. Off to the left and scrunched up against the corner is a woman about the young
mans age. She wears bobby socks and jumper, her hair well-groomed. She stands there
in the shadows tall and shy, peering around the corner at him. The neighborhood has come
to welcome one of their own home....
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