Day 272 “Joyful Fearlessness” Luke 6
September 29, 2021, 3:00 PM

Day 272 “Joyful Fearlessness”  Luke 6

Getting a late and lazy start, and my blog posts on vacation may be shorter than usual, but then again, knowing me, maybe not!! I woke up to a cold, cold morning but the sunrise was stunning and the light of the sun created ‘warmth’ in the air without being actually warm. A friend called while I was strolling outside in my pajamas, taking pictures, and she said “Well it must be really cold there—it’s 44 degrees here!” And I said “Oh no, it feels much warmer than that!” Then I looked at my weather app, and golly gee, it said “37 degrees, feels like 34”! So I am wrapped up like human mummy in this beautiful but uninsulated house—hoodie with the hood on, wool blanket wrapped around my legs, down slippers on my feet. We’re in a pretty remote area, so people can’t just stop by or walk by, but I could be looking pretty scary by some standards.

Sitting down to read my daily bible passage, I immediately got stuck on the very first few verses, where Jesus and the disciples are plucking grain on the Sabbath and eating it. The Pharisees are furious at him and want to know why he doesn’t abide by the Sabbath laws, which forbid work on the day of rest.

[Tangent: when I was a child, Sundays were enforced sabbath days, and you know what I remember? I remember being bored! Isn’t that awful? Today I would love the idea that an entire faith community of people believed enough in rest to actually schedule it into the week, even if it wasn’t on Sunday.]

Ok, back to Jesus. As I read the short passage about the Sabbath, and Jesus’s answer to the Pharisees, comparing himself to King David eating the Bread of the Presence (1 Samuel 21), I thought “He’s baiting them. He is actually baiting them!” That surprised me. I would have preferred to think of Jesus as starving to death and needing the food, which is what David was doing, but somehow I think Jesus was more interested in making a point, which was that human need will always supersede ritual law.

There is almost an aggressiveness in Jesus’s attitude when he says “The Son of Man is lord of the sabbath,” a kind of in-your-face demeanor that continues with the healing of the man with the withered hand that follows.

Jesus is in the synagogue being closely watched. I wonder if the Pharisees in this case weren’t setting Jesus up, if they had specifically asked the man with the withered hand to attend synagogue that day because we read “The scribes and Pharisees watched him to see whether he might cure on the sabbath,” (6: 6-7) Jesus calls the man over and the scriptures say “Jesus said to them…” In other words, he is addressing the Pharisees and scribes directly, knowing that what he does is considered unlawful. He isn’t talking just to the man who is going to be healed. Jesus is making a point, using an object lesson which happens to be a person to specifically show the Pharisees what this new kingdom is going to be like. It was a little unsettling for me to see this assertiveness/aggressiveness in Jesus. I don’t think it was wrong—for heaven’s sake, this is Jesus we’re talking about! But it makes me ponder, to use an old-fashioned word, what it means to be a witness to the gospel, to be publicly faithful despite the environment around me. And that’s where the blessings and woes come in…

You are blessed when you are poor, hungry and crying/mourning, when people hate you, exclude you and revile you because of your proclamation of the gospel of Jesus in word and deed. Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. Now he’s taking it too far, don’t you think? This is Beatitudes 2.0 and I want to reject the part about loving and praying for my enemies and people who have hurt me. I have a right to my anger! I have a right to my pain! I have a right to judge you…oh wait. No. I don’t. But I want to have that right. I want to have the solace of sitting in a dark room, licking my wounds, and despising you, blaming you (not literally, my friends!).

Jesus then tells us not to judge, not to condemn and to forgive others. But he also assures us that we will receive. We will receive back what we have given away. We will be forgiven. We will not be subject ultimately to the world’s judgment when we are doing the will of God, when we are walking the way of Jesus. However we need to be aware that it is unlikely that the Way will be easy or comfortable.

We do not hear a single word from the disciples in this chapter, which is also interesting. Jesus teaches them by doing, by showing them what they must do in the world when he is gone. He now has the 12 disciples chosen from the crowd that follows him. They have become the new tribes of Israel, even though we know that one will ultimately fail in that mission. Talk about mercy and grace.

What challenges you today? What did you learn about being a follower of the Way? What do you want to reject, and what resonates for you?

Be blessed and be a blessing for others,



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