It seems rather poetic that as we draw near to July 4 and all the celebrations of our “independence” that I have been challenged to read Luke 4:14-21 each day this month and ponder the different ways the passage touches my heart, soul. Luke records Jesus quoting Isaiah 61, “the Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news.” Isaiah feels “anointed” by God to share his message, that Jesus said was fulfilled in him, and which the church uses today to cry for justice.
It seems to me today that one of the difference between the Declaration of Independence that professes the belief that all people are created equal “with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life liberty and the pursuit of happiness…” and our Luke text is the word “anointed.” The Declaration is a statement of belief agreed on by our founding fathers and that we are still trying to work into reality. But the good news being preached is an anointment, is a message sent from God, about a fact that happened. Both documents have very similar themes but “anointing” implies divine authorship. It talks of a reality that we may not experience but which is true and backed by a God who has the power to make it happen. Anointing is mentioned 168 times in the Bible.
Baptism is a kind of anointing, marking a child with the sign of the cross, affirming God’s declaration of faithfulness to that child, sealing a relationship. God holds on to that child and to me even when I am weak, confused, doubting and He is creating the conditions that follow. Jesus affirms, “today this scripture is fulfilled.” Perhaps as we prepare for the celebrations of this weekend and all the fireworks and concerts, we could take some time to ponder the freedoms we have in Christ. I am so faithful that my freedom of faith is “anointed” and sealed with the cross and secure for eternity. I look forward to the freedom of worship on Sunday that our government allows, even if we are sheltering! Amen! Blessings.