It seems strange to be reading a tough text like Luke 9:51-62 during
the gentle days of early summer. Most of our congregations are in
relaxed, vacation mode. And into these mellow summer days is shoved a
gospel that speaks of the stark demands of discipleship. Jesus has set
his face toward Jerusalem, but he is no passive victim of
Americans celebrate freedom as a national right and immortalize its twin sister liberty in the glorious statue that many of our ancestors saw as they came to this country. For me, the great-great grandson of enslaved Africans, freedom is a cherished gift long withheld from those in my familial lineage.
Most people think of politics as a regrettable but necessary business. Necessary, because we live in a world of scarce resources, there are many of us, and our needs, interests and desires conflict. We need agreements as to the fair distribution of these limited goods, and an established authority to ensure the policing of those agreements.In the fight over these scarce resources, each of us fears being revealed as greedy, insecure, envious and deceitful. But imagine a different kind of politics—a politics of love.
What if science could demonstrate that original sin is something we inherit from our families either through the genes or our upbringing or both? And if science could show us how we inherit a predisposition toward sin, might science also show us how to heal the soul and harvest fruits of the Spirit?
The lectionary loves to take biblical texts that share some things in common and then watch as worlds collide once differences come to light. This week’s comparison-contrast of call stories is a perfect case in point. The story in 1 Kings 19 comes directly from God’s lips to Elijah’s ears and from there to Elisha’s shoulders.