Today is the Feast of St. Luke( carried ), and we are treated to a lovely collection of Scriptural construes reminding us of the great gift Luke was to us all. Luke 1:1 -4 and Act 1:1 -8 are the prologues to his two journals, his account of Jesus’ life and the acts of those who founded the first faiths. We believe he was a physician and a companion of Paul, and in that last-minute ability he applies us a second look at Paul’s missionary journey described in Paul’s own note in his symbols. Luke was not a first-generation disciple. He did not know Jesus in the flesh. And hitherto, as we predict in Isaiah 52:7 -1 0, which begins, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace, who delivers good bulletin announces redemption, ” and dissolves, “and all the ends of the earth shall interpret the salvation of our God, ” it is Luke who creates us a narrative of Jesus filled with imagery and legend, events which we can wrap our hearts and attentions around, and a Jesus of human desire who contacts out to those of every station and scoot. And tales received nowhere else: the Nativity Narrative of John the Baptizer and Jesus, the Magnificat, the song of Zechariah, the song of Simeon, the widow of a Nain, the Good samaritan, Mary and Martha, the Friend at Midnight, the Prodigal Son, Zacchaeus, the Road to Emmaus, and many more. It is appropriate that the prefer text from Ezekiel( 47:1 -1 2) is a figurative imagination and exultation of God’s power and pity, heading the prophet deeper and deeper into movement sea until it becomes a great river, fresh water for the moor and parties, yet leaving the marshes salt for savor. Because the Gospel of Luke is such a river for our someones and recovery.
In Chapter 9, Jesus prophesies his own impending death, but his closest do not understand or trust. There had been some squabbling about who is the greatest disciple, and who has authority over demons. In today’s Daily Office Gospel, Luke 9:51 -6 2, often called “the cost of discipleship, ” Jesus prepares his face to go to Jerusalem. We know that face, that “do not disturb” face. As is customary, messengers go ahead to arrange for whatever provisoes might be needed for their Lord. And when Jesus stops at a Samaritan town, he is rejected. Can we is believed that the messengers had gone there first to tell the village that Jesus and his devotees were coming?
There is something odd about this. Samaritans worshiped the same God, but on Mount Gerizim , not at the Jerusalem Temple. They followed the Mosaic law, but because they never found themselves in Babylonian exile, they did not recognize the Prophets. We know from the woman at the well( John 4) that Samaritans awaited a Messiah, and the parable of the Good samaritan( Luke 10) suggests that Jesus was more inclusive regarding the Samaritans than his admirers. Is this why a Samaritan village was asked to make ready for him, if, indeed, it was? Did this Samaritan town not receive him “because his face was set towards Jerusalem”? Because Jerusalem was not their holy place? Or could they investigate and believe that Jesus’ mission was secured, as was Jesus’ face? Did they understand? Again, it is the adherents who do not understand, and James and John, the Lads of Thunder, want to use a power they may or may not have , not as Jesus would have them use it, but to destroy others out of anger. Other old experts supplement, “Jesus berated them, and said,’ You do not know what spirit you are of, for the Son of Man has not come to destroy the lives of human beings but to save them’.”
Jesus had already told his own that a devotee must take up his cross in order to follow him( Luke 9:23 -2 5 ), and now we find three anonymous followers, or prospective ones, who cry out to join Jesus on the way. Will they learn the cost of discipleship? Heed the warning that the Son of Man has no place to rest. First. he must bury his father. Or, say goodbye to genealogy. And Jesus’ reminder that to move a straight furrow, one must only look straight ahead.
But let’s turn it around. Let’s hear Jesus’ statements from his own point of view. “Foxes have excavations, and fowls of the breath have dens; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” Is not Jesus himself acknowledging his wander life? Did he not sometimes dream of a hushed life, such as that at the family home in Bethany? As for the man who wanted first to embed his father, did Jesus not recognize that he had no son to say Kaddish at his grave like a ordinary boy? And did he implant his father, Joseph, in accordance with the laws? Did he not recall on his mother and brothers and sisters, one last-place goodbye and reconciliation for all the pain he applied them through? He, too, in his incarnate form, was a disciple, a devotee of God his Father. And the burden of carrying his obedience, his prophetic request, his holines, while in a everyday macrocosm full of distres, but likewise full of elation, was not the easy servitude he spoke of. And moving a straight rut always requires focus and looking ahead, but don’t we all want to look back? He came back us not as a magician, but as guy as much as he was God, a God who cuddled the experiences of our lives, as he was now going to embrace a horrid fatality. To be lifted up on a Roman cross. To regenerate our weaves as he received his. To bring us to his Abba as children, as was he. Yes, his face was named. This was no time to fail his Father. All of humanity. Himself. So, yes, he was also leaving us words for our course of the Cross. Guideposts to remind us what was our genuine point. But statements for himself, as well.
In all these words to those anonymous followers he was advising us to embrace poverty. The swear of poverty is probably the celibate dedicate most familiar, and perhaps the least understood. We hear about turning over all personal properties for a life in a convent. And about how St. Francis stripped naked in the middle of his town square and launched on a life of service to the poor. What we are called to, and what these three patterns advocate, is the willingness to give up anything and everything at any moment to follow the label from God. That rich young man who is away grieving because he had so much was not omitted because of his fortune, but because he was more attached to it than to God( Mk 10:17 -3 1, Mt 19:16 -3 0 ). That is true poverty. Jesus is giving up life, friends, genealogy, in obedience to the will of God his Father, for a promise of nothing but pain, shame, hatred, and extinction. Yes, his face was corrected like stone. Because even the Christ had to gird his loins and face the inevitable journey. So that suggestion was for us, but too for him.
As we stretch in Christ, we share with the Jesus the tolerate and hurting of this life. As his offering in return, he came to offer us, in his abiding love, faith, atonement, and eventually resurgence from extinction, and solidarity with him in heaven. And, specially now, with political chaos and threat, the pandemic, and the fruits of ignoring climate change, we, extremely, must look ahead, and cook our gape toward Jerusalem.
Dr. Dana Kramer-Rolls is a parishioner of Church of Our Saviour, Mill Valley, CA. She made her master’s degree in methodical theology from the Jesuit School of Theology/ GTU and PhD in faith record and spirituality from the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, California. She is a postulant in the Episcopal religious order, The Sisters of St. Gregory. She lives with her felines, works, and garden. Soli Deo Gloria.
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