Thursday, September 5, 2013

Pentecost 16 C - Luke 14:25-33

Luke 14:25-33
It is obvious to me, as it should be to you, that we do not take these words of Jesus literally or if we do we don’t literally live them. I don’t have a lot of possessions but I lock my house when I’m not there to make sure they don’t walk away. The commandment with a promise of long life commands honor for father and mother which seems to contradict the command to hate mom and dad. And the only cross I have is the one I wear around my neck as the life size version is hard to find and more difficult to carry. It is fair to say that Jesus used shock theology to challenge the religious leaders of his day but this word was spoken to the crowds that wanted to hear him and were willing to follow, at least as long as there was a fish fry at the end the speech. (The feeding of the five thousand – Luke chapter 9) So Jesus may just be culling the herd as they say in Texas. But if that is the case the herd has taken over the hen house. So we largely ignore or simply spiritualize these hard sayings which allows us to continue to go wherever we want while claiming to follow Christ. So what can we do? I suggest we take Jesus at his word and like the king with the smaller army ask for terms of peace from the King of Kings. The terms of peace always favor the more powerful but in this case the One who is mighty became weak so that the weak might become strong. It might sound like a Lutheran solution to a difficult passage but then Luther may have understood this text in a way that is instructive for us. “Were they to take our house, goods, fame, child or spouse, though life be wrenched away, they cannot win the day, the kingdom’s ours forever.” (A Mighty Fortress) It comes down to loving Jesus more than anyone or anything else and if we love Jesus above all we possess all we need to be a disciple.

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