Thursday, November 4, 2010

All Saints Year c - Luke 6:20-31

Luke 6:20-31
Luke’s version of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount is a little more difficult to deal with than Matthew’s, depending on which side of Luke’s line drawn in the economic sand you are standing. Poor or rich, hungry or well fed, weeping or laughing, despised or rejected? Like many of the stories and sayings in Luke’s Gospel the plight of the poor gets special attention and the Good News for the poor is generally Bad News for the rich. But that’s not to say it’s all good news for the poor, for the down payment on future rewards is rejoicing in being hated, excluded, reviled, and defamed, all the while turning the other cheek and doubling down on coats taken away. As my seminary professor Walter Bouman liked to say about such things, “Yes, but will it play in Poughkeepsie?” So what do we of the God loves everyone, saved by grace party do with such a seemingly partisan text? Unfortunately we have to say the Bible is very clear. God takes sides. We can choose to ignore that or soften it but we cannot escape it. On the other hand what if God’s taking sides is to counter the sides we take? It may be that God as ultimate parent is not that different from human parents who in loving their children equally attempt to create and maintain environments where siblings are encouraged to share. So no matter which side of the line you currently stand God’s ultimate purpose is for us all to stand on the same side because in the end that is a parent’s greatest joy.

1 comment:

  1. I agree that the good and gracious God we worship loves us the same no matter what side of the economic or social line we stand on. However, I also know that just as it breaks my heart to see my child or grandchild treat someone less fortunate with disdain or worse, with disrespect or meanness, so my selfish behavior must cause God anguish. When people say, "How can God allow people to suffer poverty and oppression?" the answer is, "How can we, as God's people, hide our eyes from it?" Because we are the answer to the first question. It is when we hide in our complacent, comfortable world, worshiping gratefully because of all the blessings God has given us that maybe we are setting ourselves up for a reckoning at some point. That point just may be a day when we are the one on the corner with no place to go. How much more bitter will that day be because we have known our present comfort and plenty? Maybe when we see someone less fortunate, instead of thinking "There but for the grace of God go I," we would be better served, as would God and humanity, if we thought "there by the grace of God I am called to go."