Friday, June 24 2022
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Summer has arrived, bringing with it time for gatherings with family and friends. It offers a time to relax and appreciate the beauty of the world God has created for our pleasure and safekeeping. Perhaps this summer, as we continue to live into a world with Covid-19, we will have the courage and confidence to travel – to take that long awaited vacation, to visit relatives in far away places, to cruise to ports unknown or to simply enjoy the many parks on our own little island of Long.
Sunday, we begin our own journey with Jesus, here at St. John’s. If you read C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, you might remember a moment when some of the characters reassure each other with reports that Aslan, the great lion, and true ruler of oppressed Narnia, has reappeared to fight the evil witch. Aslan is on the move! In our reading from the Gospel of Luke this week, we see something similar happening with Jesus. Having spent nearly the first half of Luke teaching, preaching, and working miracles, Jesus now hears and responds to his call to turn to Jerusalem and ultimately to the cross. Jesus, like Aslan, is on the move and from this last Sunday in June until the end of October, we will join Jesus on this long, indirect, but necessary journey.
We are on the move!
Luke offers a narrative that helps us, living in the 21st century, to grasp the essence of just who Jesus is. Lukan stories reveal not only the character of Jesus, but in so doing they reveal the nature of the Father who has sent him. We begin to see the mission which Jesus has been commissioned to accomplish. The journey is long and circuitous but includes many of the stories and incidents that are important for our understanding of just who this Jesus is and challenges us to follow along with him.
“When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51). It is interesting to note that Luke begins and ends in the temple in Jerusalem. Forty days after his birth, Jesus's parents made the journey to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord at the temple. It is the location of his death, resurrection, and ascension. This is an intentional journey that Jesus is on. His face is “set” with a penetrating resolve to accomplish the mission set forth for him by his Father. Jesus’ commitment to embrace the cross for our sake is a clear picture of the singlemindedness of his purpose, prompted by God’s love for humanity and all the world.
In closely following God’s call and greater purpose for his life, Luke’s Jesus uses this journey, to help those who follow him better understand his mission and what it means to be a disciple. It is a teaching moment for us also.
What does it mean to be His disciple?
What does it take to be His disciple?
As we prepare for our own summer travels, let us take some time to ponder those questions. But don’t just ponder alone. Let’s spend time engaging in the summer book study with Fr. John: Island of the World, by Michael O’Brien, whose main character, Josip, is also on a journey. Join the spirituality group as they dig deeper into what it means to live out our faith and to even expand our spirituality. Join us at church on Sundays, Wednesdays at noon or for our Evensong services each third Thursday. Being in community strengthens our own faith and resolve as we too “set” our faces to join Jesus on his journey.
Journeying with you all in Christ’s love,