Studying the Gospel of Luke and Acts

During the seasons of Lent and Easter we are, as a congregation, invited to read the gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles. We have six bible study groups meeting to discuss, engage, share, and grow together through engaging our holy scriptures. You can still join a group by signing up in the church lobby. And, on Sundays, at 9am, we meet in the library to engage the texts for the week—all are welcome. You can find the readings here. Over the past week I’ve been struck by our readings from Luke’s gospel. Jesus is not messing around. He has strong words to say to the leaders of the faith community, to those who put rules and doctrines before people, and continually try to put God in a box. It can be a bit concerning as a priest to read these things! What are my blind spots? Am I in touch with my uncertainty and can I let God work there? Am I putting first what God puts first—people, God’s beloved creation? As you know, the life of faith is full of great joy, celebration, peace and life, but it is also touched by sorrow, trial, suffering, and confusion. If reading Luke up to this point should teach us anything, it is that following Jesus is full of promise and life, but also challenge and growth. We’ll be made uncomfortable by Jesus and yet, know comfort beyond the telling. This is an odd and beautiful thing. In chapter 12 of Luke’s gospel, Jesus tells us that God’s kingdom, God’s way, is “like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in the garden; it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches…It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.” I am struck by how Jesus’ words resonate with my relationship with God and God’s love life in this world. Oftentimes, God is at work in small, unseen ways (the mustard seed is sowed/hidden in the ground, the yeast is kneaded/hidden in the flour), and then, to my amazement, a way forward is identified, a relationship is renewed, a gift is given, forgiveness is received, sorrow is held by peace. Just the other day, while working on a daily task, I felt the need to send someone a text about an upcoming event. A moment later they called and shared with me, to their amazement, how they were feeling a need for such an opportunity. I call that what it is—God’s work, leavening our lives with purpose and love and hope. As a mentor once said to me: God’s other name is “Surprise”.

See you Sunday,

 

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