Fellow Passengers: This week’s Prophetic Passage* (Isaiah 61:1-3) transports me to the sacred salon where the Holy Stylist is pouring oil on the preacher’s head. After a decade of dryness (the wet head was dead, long live the dry look), Brylcreem makes a comeback – a little dab’ll do ya; it puts LIFE LIFE LIFE back into your dry hair. Or maybe it was Vitalis, with wonder-working B7. At any rate, the squeaky-wheeled prophet comes out greased, anointed with the wonder-working pomade of the Spirit of the Lord, ready to proclaim LIFE LIFE LIFE back into a dry and brittle community of faith. And he promises a good oiling for everyone – a treatment of laughter to replace tears of lamentation.
There is a point to this anointing; the prophet is being groomed for a sweet position in the prophetic world. He’s going to announce some much awaited good news. Holy anointing is purpose-driven; it’s not for the sake of a personal spiritual high. There’s a “what for” to the oily-haired prophet’s sanctified status. Isaiah is called to go out and give the people what for, to give them hope of what God is about to do. The audience is specific: the poor, the brokenhearted, the captive, the prisoner. And the message is specific: good news, healing, release and liberation.
This must have been one of Jesus’ favorite scripture passages. It is what he read in his inaugural sermon in his home-town synagogue. Most of our pictures of Jesus have him donning the long golden locks of the dry look generation, but I imagine his dark Middle-Eastern curls were dripping with anointing oil that day as he preached his one line sermon of fulfillment. Any experience we have of the Spirit’s anointing must have some resonance to how Jesus fulfilled that promise. We have to give the same “what for” to a dry and brittle world that Jesus gave. What good news do we have for the world’s poor? Jesus fed them. What good news do we have for the world’s brokenhearted? Jesus healed them. What good news do we have for those in the world’s jails and prisons? Jesus gave them release, liberty. Jesus announced that this is the time, this is the year, of God’s favor. It’s time to pray for an anointing, for some oil-pouring. For some serious hair jelly. And if I have a choice, I don’t want no Fop, I’m a Dapper Dan man.
How about you? Where does this Prophetic Passage take you on your journey of faith? Feel free to comment.