Monday, July 25, 2016

Pentecost 10C

Luke 11:1-13

1 He was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John [the baptist] taught his disciples." 2He said to them, "When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. 3Give us each day our daily bread. 4And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us. And do not bring us to the time of trial."

5And he said to them, "Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, 'Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; 6for a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him.' 7And he answers from within, 'Do not bother me; the door has already been locked, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.' 8I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs.

9"So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. 10For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. 11Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? 12Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion? 13If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"

In the church's year of grace we're well into the season of Pentecost that we often refer to as the Time of the Church. This is year C – "Luke's Year" – in the Revised Common Lectionary. Among other things, Luke emphasizes prayer, the Holy Spirit, and people who are more marginalized than centralized in society. In Luke's Christmas account, angels first announced Jesus' birth to shepherds, people definitely on the outlying fringes of society.


Today our gospel text includes the Lord's Prayer; Matthew and Luke bring us slightly different versions. Like many rabbis and teachers of his day, Jesus offered his followers a way to pray alongside a way to be and ways to act. His prayer includes a request that the Kingdom of Heaven (Reign of God, Sovereignty of God, etc.) happen on earth.

In Luke's gospel the Reign of Heaven includes everyone, *but* especially those typically marginalized from society; it features inclusive table fellowship. In Luke's gospel and in Luke's second volume, the Acts of the Apostles, the icon of the visible reign of God, the church, is a community under the cross as it breaks bread and remembers Jesus. We need to remember these scriptures got written down half a century after Jesus's death and resurrection, so a lot of Luke-Acts is retrospective.


On recent Sundays we've heard about Jesus sending out the 70 two by two and telling them to travel light; counseling them not to be so smug that even demons are subject to them, but to rejoice that there names were written in heaven; Jesus' summary of the ten commandments, aka The Great Commandment; Good Sam; Martha and Mary. Last Sunday we had Christmas in July, celebrating that Christianity is highly incarnational, featuring a God who lives on earth in a body made of stuff of the earth, a body that's decayable on every level, a body subject to death. Like ours!

Luke's gospel emphasizes the HS. As God's people in Christ Jesus, as people of the Pentecostal reign of the Spirit, the Holy Spirit lives within us, indwells our physical bodies.

We've previously discussed the Presbyterian Church USA's Great Ends of the Church that include the Church (that's us!) as the exhibition of the kingdom of heaven to the world. In other words, when people look at us as a gathered community, as friends, acquaintances, or individuals outside of the church campus, they can see (or are supposed to be able to see and experience) the Kingdom of God.


Today our gospel text includes the Lord's Prayer; Matthew and Luke bring us slightly different versions. Matthew talks about shortcomings and debts; Luke about sin in the classic NT sense of "missing the mark." We ask that God's name be hallowed, holy, set apart. God's name and all names describe and elucidate the person's essence, are identity markers, tell us who that person is.


"Give us today (this day) our daily bread." In his Small Catechism, Martin Luther tells us daily bread includes food on the table, favorable weather and sufficient employment, a kind spouse, good kids, obedient servants(!), just government and civil leaders... Pastor Peg mentioned a recent version of the catechism includes friends among those daily life essentials.


We had an excellent discussion about the manner and content of prayer in general and I didn't even get to mention the jubilee imagery the Lord's Prayer contains.

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