The Gospel reads:
John 1: 43 The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.” 44 Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. 45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 “Nazareth*! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip.

*Nazareth has Portuguese and Spanish spellings of Nazaret and Nazaré

Having lived in two Nazaré(s) myself (Bairro Nazaré in Salvador, Brazil and Villa Nazaré in La Romana, Dominican Republic), I can say I know better—good things do come from Nazareth. And, like Philip, I extend the invitation to come and see.

People who come from a Nazaré know that much good comes from places that get dicey after dusk. Much good comes from places where loud music mixes with commerce in the streets, where neighbors know each other well enough to love each other. Much good comes from Nazaré(s)—where relationships are not so artificial, time not so selfishly used, and property not so individually viewed.

Yes–there are negative things that come with the Nazaré territory. There is bad modeling passed from adults and older children. There is a disregard for safety and even sometimes for life. There is sometimes a culture of promiscuity, an environment of risk, and an fatalistic acceptance of poverty.

And yet–in our Savior, who came from Nazareth, there is a different future written for us than the notorious hometown would suggest.

This is my prayer for the week for the students at the wonderful schools Edify is blessed to work with. Some of them come from Nazaré(s).

May Our Sustainer be with you so you can persevere through today if today is hard. May Our Father bring you a wider definition of family, even if your family doesn’t reflect His love and remind you daily that you are a delight. May the Lover of your Soul show you a little more of his plans for you each day as you grow. May the Light of Christ shine through you to others. And may you feel the support of community under your feet. Amen.