Hovering Over the Unexplained Potential

02.06.22 | by Jennifer Parks-Snyder

Second Scripture Lesson: Luke 4: 14-22
The Beginning of the Galilean Ministry
14 Then Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him
spread through all the surrounding country. 15 He began to teach in their synagogues and was
praised by everyone.
The Rejection of Jesus at Nazareth
16 When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the
sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was
given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the
poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let
the oppressed go free, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
20 And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the
synagogue were fixed on him. 21 Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been
fulfilled in your hearing.” 22 All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that
came from his mouth. They said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?”
Sermon: Drawn In: Living the Creative Life with God. Step 1: Hovering Over the Unexplained
Potential by Pastor Jenn
If I were to ask you the question: What drives you? Meaning what keeps you going?
What would you say? Some of us would confess it’s coffee or some other energy drink. Others
may say chocolate. I once knew a church member who lived to be 107 and before she passed
she claimed the secret to her long life, was treating herself at the end of the day with a piece of
chocolate. Maybe what drives you isn’t such a treat, but rather the love you get from family and
friends. Or maybe the joy you experience when a project is completed, or an assignment done.
Or a competition is won. I would say there are lots of things that can drive us, but do you ever
wonder if we are being driven too much and not taking the time to be drawn in? What I mean
by that is how busy we are, feeling compelled to do so much as a way of work and helping
others. But when do we allow ourselves to be drawn in? Drawn into the heart of God that will
not only heal and bless us, but also energize and inspire us to draw others to God’s heart too.
When Jesus went into the temple that day to read the words of Isaiah, he had just
experienced a time of testing and strength for his connection with God for 40 days and 40
nights in the dessert wilderness. It was also at that time that the devil tempted him three times.
However, each time Jesus was tempted, he drew on God, by way of the Spirit that was upon
him. It was a time of soul searching and discernment for him, and in the end he knew what he
was called to do, what the Spirit was leading him to do, to carry on God’s design for the world,
for all to have a personal relationship with God.
So Jesus began to invite others to do the same, starting his ministry career by going to
the Temple of his hometown and proclaiming to them words Jesus chooses from Isaiah 58 and
61: 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news
to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the
blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Jesus claims those words will be fulfilled, words of promise given to the people of Israel. And
he claims they will be fulfilled because he is anointed by the Spirit. In other words, the Spirit is
upon him to do those things, to make things better. Further he will go on to say such blessings
will be offered to all, even beyond Nazareth. Meaning: No more emptiness for the poor; no
more oppression due to illness, ethnicity, gender, or even sins; and no more darkness, but light
for guidance and salvation for all. The times were going to change according to Jesus, because
as the Spirit hovered over him, anointed him, Jesus looked around his hometown and saw God’s
dream, the potential to set things right. Further he was not about to limit it to just them because
God’s grace is never limited to boundaries of towns, people, race, or gender, with the Spirit,
Jesus was able to go proclaim God’s favor for all.
Friends, as his Church, the body of Christ on earth, we are people called to continue that
change as the Spirit has anointed us too. You see all that Jesus proclaimed and did, we carry on,
by way of the Spirit. In John 14 Jesus says this to his disciples, truly, I tell you, whoever
believes in Me will also do the works that I am doing. He will do even greater things than
these, because I am going to the Father. 13And I will do whatever you ask in My name, so
that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14If you ask Me for anything in My name, I
will do it. This is where the tradition of ending a prayer in Jesus’ name comes from. And then
he goes on to say how he will do these things we ask of him: 15If you love Me, keep My
commands,16and I will ask the Father, and He will give to you another Comforter, that
He may remain with you throughout the age: 17the Spirit of truth, whom the world is not
able to receive, because it does not see nor know [this] One, and you know [this] One,
because [this] One remains with you, and will be in you. The Holy Spirit is with us. It is
the Spirit of truth, a Spirit of Comfort that works in and through us to bring about God’s will
and kingdom to all, using each of us, and the creative ideas, notions, and ways that we each
In 1997 two women, Janet Bristow and Victoria Galo attended the Women’s Leadership
Institute in Hartford, Connecticut. There they studied applied Feminist Spirituality that looked
at Scripture that focused on acts of compassion through prayer and spiritual practice. One of
those acts was the giving and receiving of prayer shawls, mentioned in both the Old and New
Testaments. Originally, prayer shawls were commissioned by God and only worn by men after
their Bar Mitzvah. In Numbers 15:38-40 God told the Israelites to make for themselves a
garment with fringes on the borders called a tallit (ta-leet). It was a rectangular piece of cloth
that looked like a blanket. The blue stripes and fringes and knots on the border of the tallit are
significant as they represent the 613 commandments or laws the Israelites were to follow. The
men wrapped their tallit around their head and shoulders as a personal secret place to pray. It is
believed that Jesus wore a tallit. Mark 5:25-30 tells of the woman who was sick for 12 years
and touched the edge of his garment or shawl tassel and was healed. This would be the same
garment he would have used probably at the reading in Nazareth, those times he went off alone
to pray, and tradition would have him buried with it, in his grave, and therefore found alone on
the day of resurrection.

In 1998 upon completion of their program in Hartford, Bristow and Galo combined what they
learned with their love of knitting and crocheting and developed a prayer shawl ministry for
those in need of comfort, or those celebrating joy. As Bristow once explained, “Shawls ... made
for centuries universal and embracing, symbolic of an inclusive, unconditionally loving, God.
They wrap, enfold, comfort, cover, give solace, mother, hug, shelter and beautify. Those who
have received these shawls have been uplifted and affirmed, as if given wings to fly above their
troubles..." Earlier you saw how that is one way the Spirit is at work in some of our members, to
continue the creative work of God’s favor for all. How about with you? How is God using your
creativity to draw yourself and others closer to God’s heart?
Offering of the Creative Spirit & Lord’s Prayer:
Today offer a brief exercise to get in touch with that hovering Spirit during this time of prayer.
Take the post it note...and as we hold it we will consider some answer that you can write on the
post it notes with a pen, a pencil, but I am going to suggest your finger. Because this is between
you and God. Let’s imagine we are hovering over this world. What do you see that reveals the
beauty of God’s creation? The joy and inspiration calling people to God? Let us offer those
things to the Lord silently or outloud. And yet not all things are good, some are broken. What is
broken in this world? Let us offer those things to the Lord silently or outloud. Now, what do
you think would make this community, this nation, this world, better? Take a moment to
consider that. Take a moment to draw close to the heart of God and discern what would make
God’s favor known. Imagine, Create, with the Hovering Spirit, what that answer would be....
Let us join together in praying for God’s will....Our Father (sins).
Offering Prayer: This is our creative spirit in the world, this is our offering. May the
things we do, no matter how small or mundane, contribute goodness to the world, creating
more life, more joy, more love. Praise be to God, the Creator of all that is! Amen.