This Sunday is the halfway point through our interventions in Luke, or at least our halfway point, given the inexact route we’re taking. And given this halfway point we (the worship planners and I) thought it would be useful to spend this week reflecting upon where we have been, the path we’ve taken, the topics covered, and the interventions amassed.
Therefore for this week of reflection we’re going to focus on key passages and a key query from each of our weeks’ discussions. Though I recognize in your own readings of these passages you may have encountered Christ through other passages other than the ones I’ve included below. If that is the case please feel free to point that out. These are only limited selections. This Sunday I will give a brief discussion on “This is where the path has taken us,” and then open it up for you to reflect however seems fitting your own journey through Luke (interpretative dances are encouraged!).
Week 1: Narration as Intervention (Luke 1:1-4)
“Since many have undertaken to set down an orderly account of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed on to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, I too decided, after investigating everything carefully from the very first, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the truth concerning the things about which you have been instructed.” (Luke 1:1-4 NRSV).
Query: What narratives, what stories, which characters or people, have you witnessed in real life or fiction, that have intervened in your life in a way that you were changed after that encounter?
Week 2: Birthing the Impossible (Luke 1:5-38)
“Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.” (Luke 1:34-38 NRSV).
Query: “Alas, what can I do but follow the openings?” (Elizabeth Gurney)
Week 3: What Then Should We Produce? (Luke 3:1-20)
“And the crowds asked him, “What then should we do?” In reply he said to them, “Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.” Even tax collectors came to be baptized, and they asked him, “Teacher, what should we do?” He said to them, “Collect no more than the amount prescribed for you.” Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what should we do?” He said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or false accusation, and be satisfied with your wages.”” (Luke 3:9-14 NRSV). In reply he said to them, “Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.” Even tax collectors came to be baptized, and they asked him, “Teacher, what should we do?” He said to them, “Collect no more than the amount prescribed for you.” Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what should we do?” He said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or false accusation, and be satisfied with your wages.”” (Luke 3:9-14 NRSV).
Query: How do we make our practice of peace a practice for life?
Week 4: A Short-Circuit in Mission (Luke 4:14-30)
“He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”” (Luke 4:17-21 NRSV).
Query: If Jesus found it fitting to short-circuit the expectations of his hearers, his religious community, to challenge their understanding in very radical ways, how might we as the church be short-circuited by this reading, and what are we to short-circuit in the world?
Week 5: Feasting With Tyrants and Tax Collectors (Luke 5:27-39)
“After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up, left everything, and followed him.
Then Levi gave a great banquet for him in his house; and there was a large crowd of tax collectors and others sitting at the table with them.” (Luke 5:27-29 NRSV).
“Then they said to him, “John’s disciples, like the disciples of the Pharisees, frequently fast and pray, but your disciples eat and drink. Jesus said to them, “You cannot make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them, can you? The days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.”” (Luke 5:33-35 NRSV).
Query: In what ways is Jesus manifesting God’s mission in this scene?
Week 6: Poetry on the Plain (Luke 6:20-49)
“But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” (Luke 6:35-36 NRSV).
Query: What would it look like, or what does it look like, to live these ethics out in the life of the church today?
I look forward to reflecting on this with you on Sunday. I hope you’ve enjoyed our journey through Luke, I sure have!