Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Gospel Text for Sunday, September 5th

Luke 14:25-33

Now large crowds were traveling with Jesus; and he turned and said to them, "Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, saying, `This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.' Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand? If he cannot, then, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace. So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions."

Questions for engaging the text:

- What do I observe" What am I seeing" Does this passage raise questions for me?
- Is anything attracting me, drawing my attention, or repulsing me?
-What response is emerging within me? What is my response to what is attracting me?***
-In what ways might I specifically act on my insights in the world
I really want to hear from you. Thank you for clicking on "Comments" below and adding your responses.
Grace and Peace, Debra

*** 1st three questions taken from The Art of Engaging Holy Scripture curriculum (see resources)


  1. Many Bible versions title this text as, "The cost of following Jesus." This sets us up to be threatened or discouraged by it, and so we read it, usually (just check your own emotions throughout the reading). I prefer to title it, "The adventure of following Jesus." When you join the text to the parables that following immediately in chapter 15, you see that Luke has something in mind other than sacrifice and struggle. These are the parables of the lost things, and in each case they end with a party, celebrating the result of the adventure. This perspective transforms how I read 14:25-33. Instead of hearing that I must leave all and suffer pain to follow Jesus, I hear an invitation to join the procession to the party, for which every "sacrifice" is a gift to the adventure.

  2. Luke 14.25-33

    I imagine being in the large crowd that has been traveling with Jesus. I’ve left my home and regular duties to follow this man whom my friends believe and I hope is the messiah. I imagine thinking, “If this is the messiah, the promised one we have been waiting for, the one who will save us from our lives of difficulty and oppression, why is he talking about hating my family members and carrying the cross? I thought the messiah was coming to make our lives easier, better, to save us from the time of trial?” Oops. Sounds as if my imagined follower is looking for cheap grace. A new king to replace the old world order and provide a happily ever after life would do just fine. Apparently Jesus will have none of that.

    Jesus makes it pretty clear. Jesus’ way is the way of the cross. Jesus was no superhero come to wield his superpowers to save himself and the people traveling with him. Jesus was asking the crowd to make a choice. I believe Jesus was essentially saying, “No matter what you think you have, what you actually have is your life to live. You can either hold out for something better - a millennial moment, an apocalyptic event, a superhero’s rescue – or you can consent to your life as it is, to the way of carrying the cross. So what will it be? What do you choose?”

    Lord, give me the will to follow You, the grace to consent to the challenges and suffering along the way, and the hope of new life as revealed in Your resurrection. Amen