Malankara World

Sermons Based on the Lectionary of the Syrian Orthodox Church

Sermon / Homily on Luke 14:1,7-14

Laterally Luke

by Brian McGowan, Anglican priest in Western Australia.

Scripture: LK 14: 1, (2-6), 7-14

This time Jesus heals on the Sabbath, he does it in a private house. Those watching him still see him breaching the no- work- on-the-Sabbath-not-even-a-good-work principle. Doesn't how we watch people makes a lot of difference to the way we interact with them? How our principles react to / interact with theirs? This is another situation where it's Jesus who takes the initiative in healing the man with dropsy. Do we too often turn Jesus / God too much into a reactive power rather than a pro-active one because of the way we act out our discipleship?

Not too many Christians want to fight the no-work-on-the-Sabbath battle these days. For starters, we're not Jews, binding ourselves still by the Law; nor is it the same Sabbath; further, life is too different in our modern world. Besides, as Jesus demonstrates, there is another principle at work: do good, & do it anytime!

We need to start by 'recapturing' the humility principle Jesus enunciates so clearly here. Our world is more & more ego-driven. Once, mainly the high & mighty were so driven. Now any of us can be, & are encouraged to be by forces all round us. (E.G., no matter what value we personally put on sport, the ego factor will be a driving one at yet another Olympics! Symbol of what drives so many of us & all the pressures, all the advertising, all the consumerism put on us?)

What Jesus says here must look frankly ridiculous to those pushing their way to the top & being encouraged to do so by fair means or foul - in every field. (A lay person described a priest ordained bishop a while back as a 'career cleric'! Which made me thoughtful all over again.) The very godly bishop who confirmed me long ago (& preached on: "Friend, come up higher!") insisted we take this aspect of Jesus' teaching & personal example seriously. Though I fail again & again & again; the Jesus- truth of what he said has stuck with me all these years. And makes me more & more uneasy as more & more of us go on more & more ego-trips of one kind or another.

At the heart of the matter is whether we believe our life is to be one lived in response to God's initiative, or whether it's a matter of taking the bit in our teeth & 'going for it', 'going for broke', 'treading where angels fear to'. There's nothing wrong with using our initiative, as long as we do it in response to God's invitation or command. Which might be "Friend, come up higher", or at some times, even, "Friend, go down lower" while 'God is working his purpose out'.

See Also:

Sermons and Bible Commentaries for the 9th Sunday after Pentecost

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