This has been a week of manifestos. The great unveiling of plans, ambitions and intentions by our political parties as they try to convince us that they deserve our vote.
Way back in 1983, when the wonderfully eccentric, yet deeply principled Michael
Foot led the Labour Party, their manifesto for that election was called, by
political commentators, ‘the longest suicide note in history’! I suspect many essays have been written by
students of politics as to why that may, or may not, have been true.
In Luke’s Gospel we have that pivotal moment in Jesus’ life as, one Saturday
morning, he returns to his home synagogue and preaches. Being handed the scroll he read words from
Isaiah, all about: announcing good news, proclaiming release for the captives,
recovery of sight for the blind and proclaiming the year of the Lord’s favour. Then Jesus says: Today in your hearing this
text has come true. It didn’t go down too
well and I think he never got a preaching fee!!
I’m an incurable devotee of that one time American TV political drama ‘The West
Wing’. We’ve watched it right through,
series after series, probably seven times now – I think we need therapy!! The programme covers three Presidential
elections and they always begin with the candidates usually returning to their
home town where an inquisitive crowd has gathered outside the schoolhouse or
town hall to hear the one time ‘local’ utter those wonderfully aspirational
words: ‘And so today I declare my intention to run for the office of President
of these United States’.
Luke, millennia before The West Wing, has Jesus do something similar! He places
this ‘declaration of intent’ right at the start of Jesus’ ministry, just after
The Temptations. This was the moment in
Nazareth, Luke is saying to us, when Jesus launched his manifesto and told us
how he saw the future.
The next five years will reveal if the party given the keys to No.10 keep their
Jesus gave his life keeping his.
(Blog holiday next week!)
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