summer solstice!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Pentecost 15C

Luke 14:1, 7-14

1On one occasion when Jesus was going to the house of a leader of the Pharisees to eat a meal on the sabbath, they were watching him closely.

not included by lectionary compilers:
[2Just then, in front of him, there was a man who had dropsy. 3And Jesus asked the lawyers and Pharisees, "Is it lawful to cure people on the sabbath, or not?" 4But they were silent. So Jesus took him and healed him, and sent him away. 5Then he said to them, "If one of you has a child or an ox that has fallen into a well, will you not immediately pull it out on a sabbath day?" 6And they could not reply to this.]
7When he noticed how the guests chose the places of honor, he told them a parable.
8"When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not sit down at the place of honor, in case someone more distinguished than you has been invited by your host; 9and the host who invited both of you may come and say to you, 'Give this person your place,', and then in disgrace you would start to take the lowest place. 10/But when you are invited, go and sit down at the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he may say to you, 'Friend, move up higher'; then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at the table with you.
11For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted." 12He said also to the one who had invited him, "When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. 13But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. 14And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."
Backtrack 1:

in his gospel, Luke particularly emphasizes history, women, prayer, Holy Spirit, table fellowship, people who are marginalized from society, Jerusalem.

For both Luke and Mark, the journey to Jerusalem and to the cross is incessant. Today's text is unique to Luke and happens at about the halfway point, after Luke announces Jesus' setting his face toward Jerusalem.

This event happens on the Sabbath, at the home of an "arch" pharisee, who'd be a major religious muckety-muck. For example, we know the title archbishop; we sometimes refer to a person as an arch-enemy. In class I mentioned this pharisee's home wouldn't be our equivalent nice urban condo or beach house, but most likely some distance out into the more elite suburbs with a pool and a view. Lectionary peeps left out an account of Jesus healing a guy with dropsy/edema (on theSabbath!) in 14:2-6.

Backtrack 2:

in Luke's gospel, what was Jesus' I(nitial)P(public)O(ffering), his first act of public ministry? Reading Torah in the synagogue on the Sabbath:
Isaiah 61

1The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners; 2to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; 3to provide for those who mourn in Zion— to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit. They will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, to display his glory.

Luke 3

16When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: 18"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, 19to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." 20And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21Then he began to say to them, "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."

After he finishes reading, Jesus essentially announces, "I am the Jubilee Year! I am the eschatological feast!"

Jesus' time and place had a strong social class stratification system. How about us? Wealth, education, neighborhood, what we wear, how expensive our clothes and cars look, where we got our education, where we work, etc.

Luke 14:7 "place of honor"

This passage begins with talk about a wedding. At a wedding reception, the most important tables near the wedding couple often have place cards with names on them; the other tables, for less important guests, have free seating. Most of us would not presume to seat ourselves at a place reserved for someone else. This story is about a similar situation. But we humans need recognition, we need other people to notice us and approve of us! How can that play our legitimately?

Why did the pharisees invite Jesus?

4:1 "to eat bread" (NRSV says to eat a meal) implies establishing solidarity with your companions, in this case some pharisees.

in Luke's gospel, what was Jesus' I(nitial)P(ublic)O(ffering), his first act of public ministry? Reading Torah in the synagogue on the Sabbath. After he finishes reading, Jesus essentially announces, "I am the Jubilee Year! I am the eschatological feast!"

• 14:12 dinner, lunch • 14:13 banquet! it gets fancier and more ornate.

4:13 giving a banquet, sharing a meal with outcasts, with the least of these, implies establishing solidarity with your companions, in this case some of society's least desirables.

The apostle Paul draws a lot on the patron/client // grace/faith system—as well as upon the Hebrew scriptures. Although the patron dispensed grace, mercy, and favor, the client reciprocated with trust, faith, and service.

To quote Robert Farrar Capon's alliteration, God saves only the last, the least, the little, and the lost. God saves only people who cannot reciprocate. Jesus tells us to invite people who won't invite us back. Wow! How counter cultural! Just as in Jesus' day, all around us people pander up and cozy up to people who can give them something in return.

in Luke's gospel, what was Jesus' I(nitial)P(ublic)O(ffering), his first act of public ministry? Reading Torah in the synagogue on the Sabbath. After he finishes reading, Jesus essentially announces, "I am the Jubilee Year! I am the eschatological feast!"

Luke 14:11b "those who humble themselves will be exalted."

Maybe especially because this is Luke, maybe especially because Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem and the cross, this anticipates the ultimate humility of the cross followed by ascension and exhalation.

We talked a little about humility and humbleness being earthy, from the ground, and not worm theology, even though many worms live in the dirt in the ground.

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