June 27, 2004

Luke 9:51-62

[51] When it came close to the time for his Ascension, he gathered up his courage and steeled himself for the journey to Jerusalem. [52] He sent messengers on ahead. They came to a Samaritan village to make arrangements for his hospitality. [53] But when the Samaritans learned that his destination was Jerusalem, they refused hospitality. [54] When the disciples James and John learned of it, they said, "Master, do you want us to call a bolt of lightning down out of the sky and incinerate them?"

[55] Jesus turned on them: "Of course not!" [56] And they traveled on to another village.

[57] On the road someone asked if he could go along. "I'll go with you, wherever," he said.

[58] Jesus was curt: "Are you ready to rough it? We're not staying in the best inns, you know."

[59] Jesus said to another, "Follow me."

He said, "Certainly, but first excuse me for a couple of days, please. I have to make arrangements for my father's funeral."

[60] Jesus refused. "First things first. Your business is life, not death. And life is urgent: Announce God's kingdom!"

[61] Then another said, "I'm ready to follow you, Master, but first excuse me while I get things straightened out at home."

[62] Jesus said, "No procrastination. No backward looks. You can't put God's kingdom off till tomorrow. Seize the day."

<The Message>

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1. What is ahead of you for which you need to gather your courage and steel yourself to approach it directly? Probably it is not a birthday party (unless you buy into the cultural stereotype of some birthdays are to be feared and dreaded). Probably it is not a promotion (unless you sense it is a set-up to fail and that you are already at your Peter Principled level). Probably not a new relationship or moving to a new level within a current one (unless you know somewhere within that you have been fooling yourself about this).

2. Do you need thunderbolts from on high in your arsenal to be able to walk softly upon the earth? Are you tempted to make rash promises without counting the consequences? Do you carry a quiver of excuses ever ready to be deployed? Is the past more trustworthy than the future?

3. We are all traveling toward a showdown with alternative views of G*O*D and neighbor and creation. Alternative views of the faithfulness of G*O*D appear most directly in the centers of religious rule-making. It is in the midst of theses choices that we finally make our stand to travel on, to exodus ahead. In the midst of being courageous, may we not mistake that moment for eternity. In the midst of steeling our self to proceed, may we not do so with the expectation that others will automatically follow our example. In the midst of choosing, may we do so loosely so we don’t destroy a village in order to “save” it.

It’s time to move on.

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