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2014 Lectionary Ramblings Lectionary Ramblings

July 12th 2014: Luke 17:11-19

Read Luke 17:11-19 here

Today’s lectionary reading from the Gospel of Luke is the well-known healing of the ten lepers. “Jesus, Master, have pity on us” say the ten lepers in verse 13, as Jesus is on His way to Jerusalem. In this they are acknowledging Jesus’ authority. Were they asking for healing? Attention? Cleansing? Cure? Jesus sends them, quite rightly according to Mosaic law, to show themselves to the Priest, and they are cleaned. But was the purpose of the cleansing mere cleansing? It seems perhaps not. When the one returns, a Samaritan, foreigner, enemy of Israel “loudly giving thanks to God” it is this, and the lack of thanks to God from others, that Jesus remarks upon. We can almost here his shoulders being shrugged as he notes that none of the lepers who may have been Jewish have acknowledged God’s part in their cure. As they are restored to the potential of inclusion in community and life itself, it seems that Jesus intervenes in compassion, but also to draw those who have been cured into a living relationship with God.

A pause for thought: Are we seeking an intervention or an interaction with God just to get past a problem or issue, or are we seeking an ongoing living relationship with God? Are we seeking just to be made how we want to be, using the power of God for our own ends, or are we willing to worship God primarily with our lives?

Jesus can heal or cure anyone who asks if it is the right moment for their healing. Ultimate healing is salvation. We all have weaknesses and sicknesses, most of which we would like to see removed. However this is not all of life, or the whole point of meeting with Jesus. The good that can result from meeting with Jesus is to come into the relationship with God that we were made for.

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2014 Lectionary Ramblings

July 7th 2014: Luke 15:1-10

Luke 15:1-10 can be found here

Today’s reading begins with “the Pharisees” complaining that “the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around Jesus”. Notice Luke denotes those gathering around Jesus as “tax collectors and sinners”, a narrative device to get us to sympathise with the Pharisees perhaps? It’s easy for us to jump straight on in this story to the beauty of Jesus seeking after the 1 whilst trusting the safety of the 99 to His Father, for us to be made to feel special as the ones that Jesus would seek for, and we should. What I find fascinating though as I read this today is that one of the things that a lot of us like so much about Jesus, that He associated with sinners, tax collectors and all, was, according to Mosaic law, rightly called in to question by the Pharisees. In a sense they were right to grumble. Jesus was proving that He was unsuitable to be who He claimed to be because of His associations, and yet, ultimately it was these associations and His willingness to die, rise and ascend that gave us hope. I suppose I feel a bit sorry for the Pharisees. They were trying to keep order, and honour God, as they had been taught, and Jesus made it increasingly difficult for them to do so. It is interesting to me that they got close enough to Him to find out what He was doing too.

So, a couple of questions: Are there things about how we live our life of faith that actually hold us back? Are we more interested in doing things right than keeping in step with what God is doing? How are we doing at keeping the balance between growing relationships and honouring tradition?