Sunday, June 30, 2019
- First Reading 2 Kings 2:1-2, 6-14
- Psalm 77:1-2, 11-20
- Second Reading Galatians 5:1, 13-25
- Gospel Luke 9:51-62
I stood gazing at the shore, watching wave after wave roll in. I swam in those same waves, felt the tide at high and low, watched it when it was too dangerous to wade into during thunder and lightning and waves grew fierce and the currents strong; and then waded way out onto a sandbar when a soft breeze blue and the waves were like gentle caresses, rocking me into calm tranquility. Each cycle of tides was like a breath, breathing in and out, in and out, finding the sacred center, spreading out again to fill with completeness, then retracting to touch center once more. Breathe with the ocean’s tides, find your sacred center in God, for a storm is coming.
Our last night at the beach I watched sheet lightning stretch across several cloud structures, illuminating the darkened sea. Thunder rolled. Saturday on our 5 and a half hour drive north to get to the airport on time, we passed through that storm, having come inland during the night. Rain poured on the windshield, visibility shrunk, and cars on either side would creep along with their hazard lights blinking. Yes, a storm is coming.
Elijah is lifted up, Elisha inherits a double portion of prophetic power, the Psalm eloquently gives voice to creation’s witness, and Paul’s letter to the Galatians reminds us to live in the Spirit. We read of when Jesus set his face to Jerusalem knowing what would take place there, and a theme emerges tying all the scriptures together. A theme of action, movement, decision. Are you ready?
Jill Duffield, of the Presbyterian Outlook, writes of the crossroads of today’s texts with the social justice needs of our current times. Just as Elisha would not leave his master, just as Jesus would not take “just a minute, Lord” or “Yes, but…” from anyone once he set his face toward Jerusalem, so Jill writes that it is time for Christians to stand up to the injustice being perpetuated in our country. She offers a moving prayer for migrant children separated from their families, and she calls upon us to witness to the injustices taking place. We pray for peace when there is no peace…so put actions with your words, most excellent Theophilus. The call is clear: a call of action, of movement, of decision. Are you ready?
The salvation story has been handed down to you, yet there are those who need saving. They are being held, detained, separated from their mothers and fathers, ripped from their families; and some die in those detention cells. From what? I can only imagine children living that kind of hell die of broken hearts. Examine your own story in light of God’s story of salvation; write that salvation into the lives of others – for God loves all, especially the downtrodden, the underdog, the under-served, and those in need of caring support. The call is clear: a call of action, of movement, of decision. Are you ready?
May all glory be unto the One who lived, died, and rose again for us and for all, even Him who is the Christ. Amen? May it be so.
- What are we tempted to put before our loyalty to Jesus?
- When have we said, “Yes, Lord, but …”?
- Why do you think Jesus warns his would-be follower that the Son of Man has no place to lay his head? What do you think he is trying to convey?
- Have you ever “taken up the mantle” of some work? Handed the mantle of ministry to someone else?
- What is the significance of Jesus being rejected by the village of Samaritans? Where else in Luke do we encounter Samaritans?
- How do we move forward into the work God calls us to do, no matter how challenging? What is the faithful balance between remembering and/or honoring the past and looking ahead to God’s plan for the future?
 Jill Duffield, “Looking into the Lectionary –Third Sunday after Pentecost,” accessed June 30, 2019, http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?m=1102135377571&ca=9606b4af-1250-42f0-bc16-b3ce90a92f2c.