As mentioned in yesterday’s post, I was back to work for the first time in a week since taking a stay-cation. And I know we’re all familiar with what was waiting for me when I got back: the tremendous pile of papers and bills and work on my desk. My office looked like someone had forgotten to turn in their TPS reports for the last thirty years, just letting them pile up again and again. I was disorganized. I was disoriented. There was only one place left to turn:
The office supply store.
I know I’m a nerd, but come on! There’s nothing better than an office supply store, right? Pens and pencils and tech and binders and notebooks and furniture and that smell, like someone is constantly sharpening pencils in the back room just to keep up appearances. It’s all lovely!
I went straight to the place that I thought would most help my cause: Binders and dividers. With a mission trip coming up next week, and a whole bunch of other notes and meeting agendas sitting around on top of my desk, I needed a way to hold everything together, label it well, and keep things where they needed to be. I wanted to be able to grab a hold of one binder for a mission trip and have everything I needed right there in any given moment, able to access it well. Everything needed to be together.
Could it be that there is something theological going on in the office supply store?
When Jesus rolls up to teach in the synagogue in Luke 4, he reads from a passage in Isaiah. I think Luke was trying to save parchment, because he only has Jesus read select passages, but this is what the whole things says:
The Lord God’s spirit is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me. He has sent me to bring good news to the poor, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim release for captives, and liberations for prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and a day of vindication for our God, to comfort all who mourn, to provide for Zion’s mourners, to give them a crown in place of ashes, oil of joy in place of mourning, a mantle of praise in place of discouragement.
What a delightfully beautiful passage! I know a bit what it’s like to feel brokenhearted, don’t you? When it feels like all your emotions are scattered within you, like pages on a messy desk? When it feels like you can’t make sense of what’s going on in your life? When it feels like nothing makes sense? How beautiful is it that we have a God who came down among us in flesh to say “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled (by which I mean I’m totally taking care of it for you) in your hearing.” Today, the brokenhearted can be bound together. All those messy parts of our lives can be brought under one roof, under the God who loves us enough to look after our mourning, to give us a crown in place of ashes, oil of joy in place of mourning, and a mantle of praise in place of discouragement. All of that can belong because it does, in the Kingdom of a loving God.
Maybe you are reading this today and you are the brokenhearted. Maybe you’re walking in a valley of pain so deep you don’t know how or even why you’d climb back out of it. I’ve got good news for you. Jesus wants to bind you together again, to make the numb places feel alive, to make the broken places whole. Or maybe you’re not in the brokenhearted places just yet, and thanks be to God for that! You have a role to play in all of this too. You are called to proclaim the good news of the loving King come to bind us all together under the banner of peace. You have a holy responsibility to reach out to the brokenhearted, to actively seek them out, and to work for reconciliation, healing, and wholeness. And how beautiful is it that we can live in to that holy responsibility by following our Jesus, who leads us there!?
I pray today that whatever phase of live you’re in, you found yourself bound in love.