Day 273 "Remarkable Faith" Luke 7 – 8
September 30, 2021, 3:41 PM

Day 273 Luke 7 – 8

This morning at the lake…I got up early at 6:30 am in order to get the kayak on the water just in case there was going to be a sunrise. Not this morning. It was grey and overcast, even lightly raining at some points, but I did get to see the faintest rainbow that seemed to start right above my head and which quietly arched into invisibility. A few times, the sun cut through the cloud cover to illuminate the hills and mountains and the colors of the trees were more muted than the last time we were here, with rich maroons and deep reds rather than the brilliant yellows and oranges we love to see. We are probably a week until full color here, so that may be part of it as well.

Back at the house, the coffee was on—thank you Alistair—and he had started a fire that we will burn all day to take off the edge of cold in the cabin. I’ve managed to figure a perfect way to get my feet up right in front of the fire, blanket over my lap, computer resting on the blanket, coffee at my side—a contented way to start the day after two hours of kayaking in the cold. And of course, reading my bible. This routine is now such a part of me, and part of my day. People asked why I would write the blog when I’m on vacation. Well, because I actually have more ability to jump in than I do on days when appointments and responsibilities loom over me. The next two days may be hard for me to write, for example, because we have to move out of this cabin and head over to Saranac Lake for the wedding (yay! Wedding!!!) Cleaning, packing, driving, and settling in at the next place will all take time and energy. So apologies ahead of time if I am not able to post.

Our readings today once again overwhelm me. I’m simply not used to reading about these events in the life of Jesus so quickly. On Sunday mornings, we get ONE story, ONE event and that creates enough to think about for an entire sermon, or even more!

And today, again, we could get spiritual whiplash reading the stories of healings, teachings and parables. So focus on one. Re-read a particular event.

Today I noticed that one of the women who followed Jesus, Joanna, was the wife of Herod’s steward! Talk about conversions in surprising places. Could that have added to Herod’s anger at Jesus, and his fear about losing power to Jesus?

But it’s always the healings that occupy my mind. The centurion’s servant. The widow’s son raised from the dead, which means that the widow’s heart and life were healed as well. A ‘sinful’ woman healed in the midst of a dinner with the Pharisees. Power over nature as he calms a storm. Healing the demoniac who sounded absolutely frightening to encounter.

Jesus was not afraid. Jesus was not dissuaded. Jesus was not distracted from his purpose. And everything he did both preserved the lives of others, and yet assured his own death.

Brendan Manning is the contemplation writer and he said lots of interesting things, but this stuck out for me: “We are not spiritual robots; but sensitive humans,” (1208).

Each of these events where Jesus heals or forgives is accompanied by extraordinary emotion, most of which we do not see in the Bible because that’s someone else’s story. But we do read about the woman who anoints Jesus’s feet, weeping the entire time, crying so hard that she is able to bathe his feet with her tears. I imagine that this created quite an uncomfortable situation at the fancy-shmancy dinner party. But it is so honest.

Perhaps that’s what I love about these stories. The honesty of them. There is no magical fairy dust that creates an atmosphere of pure love. Jesus, in the midst of crowds, is surrounded by suffering and chaos as people push against him, reach out for him, and the way he loves changes the lives of the people to whom he ministers. This is gritty and exhausting work.

Another commentator I mentioned yesterday, Michael Wilcox, said something compelling as I read his book today. He sad that we have a very shallow understanding of evil in our culture. Because if we really understood it, we would see evil in the poverty of the people around us—not in the people themselves, but in the situation of poverty itself, in economic inequality that enslaves people along the range of wealth from the abject poor to self-satisfied wealth and riches. We would see evil in sickness. We would see evil in addiction. We would see evil in the lack of equality between men and women, between white-skinned and ‘other’ skinned (black, yellow, brown…). Jesus calls out what we are afraid to name, and he not only calls it out, but he casts it out. The first step of healing is to name the sickness and speak it out loud. Poverty. Death. Sickness. Mental distress. Depression. Anxiety. Anger that leads to violence.

When Jesus heals people he is triumphing over evil itself. God did not intend us to suffer in these ways when we were placed us in the garden. Having chosen another path out of that garden, God does not abandon us to our own ways of doing things. Jesus came and captured our attention, not to dazzle us with his power, but to remind us that God is always with us, no matter the situations we find ourselves in this day, this week, this lifetime.

Don’t “spiritualize heartbreak, camouflage…emotions, [or] tap dance into religiosity” (Manning, 1208). Be honest like the woman who wept the entire time she anointed Jesus. Recognize that evil exists, name it, feel it, pray for help, call out to God, share your pain or suffering with a friend who will walk with you—we are meant to lean on the strength of Jesus, and we these events in his life are reminders that his forgiveness  and healing are still available to us today. But we need to seek his face and we need to receive his grace.

Be blessed and be a blessing to others,


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