Tuesday, January 18, 2005

The Gospel of Luke

I have just finished a very interesting essay on Luke by Annie Dillard. The thing about the Bible she says is that the people who hold it up as the most respectable book possible clearly haven’t read it!

This is the Gospel where Jesus says: ‘Take no thought for your life … Sell all that you have and give it to the poor … Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

She then goes on to explain how in Luke we have a radical mysterious and amazing Jesus. Think of the number of times in Luke when Jesus told the disciples things and they didn’t understand them, emphasising the fact that because the disciples were human they didn’t understand – much like us today. Jesus was always telling his disciples off, telling them not to hurry or to ‘trouble him’. Such as when he healed the woman who touched his cloak on the way to Jairus’ daughter. She goes on to say that ‘what a pity that so hard on the heels of Christ come the Christians.’ The rush around, being smug and busy full of flaws and here we have the results all around us today.

But, and there is always a but perhaps this is where we find that Luke has his unique slant on the Gospel:

“Unless of course –
Unless Christ’s washing the disciples’ feet their dirty toes, means what it could, possibly mean: that it is all right to be human, and full of evil, all of us, and we are his people anyway, and the sheep of his pasture.”

The message of Luke is that we find salvation by following Jesus, the person he was and the things that he did. It is not all about his death, it is more that we should follow the way he lived – a life of prayer, repentance and mercy. This is perhaps one the reasons that I think ‘Passion of the Christ” failed to impress me. This is the man who said ‘For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?’ – tell that to Mel Gibson

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