Sunday, November 13, 2016

Pentecost 26C

So Far in Luke

• Since Luke 9:16 Jesus has set his face toward Jerusalem.

• 18:31 "We are going up to Jerusalem" where everything predicted about the Human One / Son of Man will happen on the third day he will rise from the dead. "We are going to Jerusalem" is all of us, too.

• Luke 19 in Jericho, just outside Jerusalem, by Mount of Olives. "Triumphant entry" with palms strewn all around and at Jesus' feet.

• 19:38 "Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord" is from the Day of Atonement templet liturgy

• 19:39 pharisees tell Jesus to ask his disciples to stop praise and adulation

• 19:40 Jesus: "if these were silent, the stones would shout out!" unique to Luke

• 19:41 "as Jesus came near and saw the city Jerusalem, he wept over it" – evokes Jeremiah grieving over Jerusalem

• 19:45 then Jesus entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling things. 46 "my house shall be a house of prayer; you have made it a den of robbers."

• 20:2 By what authority?

• 20:9-16 Parable of the Vineyard

• 20:17 stone builders rejoiced has become the cornerstone
Luke 21:5-19

5When some were speaking about the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and gifts dedicated to God, he said, 6"As for these things that you see, the days will come when not one stone will be left upon another; all will be thrown down." 7They asked him, "Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign that this is about to take place?" 8And he said, "Beware that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name and say, "I am he!' and, "The time is near!' Do not go after them. 9"When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end will not follow immediately." 10Then he said to them, "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; 11there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and plagues; and there will be dreadful portents and great signs from heaven. 12"But before all this occurs, they will arrest you and persecute you; they will hand you over to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. 13This will give you an opportunity to testify. 14So make up your minds not to prepare your defense in advance; 15for I will give you words and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict. 16You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, by relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. 17You will be hated by all because of my name. 18But not a hair of your head will perish. 19By your endurance you will gain your souls.

We've almost completed another Year of Grace, all this year most of the gospel reading have been from St Luke. Next Sunday will be Christ the King / Reign of Christ as we hear about the king who reigns from a cross, arms wide open, forgiving and welcoming everyone into God's presence. On the following Sunday, Advent begins another new year of grace.

They're in Jerusalem; it's almost Holy Week. This account immediately follows the famous Widow's Mite story about the temple, a religious structure and system that has taken everything one of the most vulnerable members of society needs to live, literally stealing her life. This passage includes apocalyptic; we've mentioned apocalyptic means uncovering, revealing, unveiling, and is quite common in biblical and other literature. Apocalyptic often include images of nature out of control, strange beasts and supernatural beings. Basically it announces something's changing, this is the end of the world as we've known it. We need to remember Luke wrote this account after the destruction of the second Jerusalem Temple. Jesus had a strong sense of what would happen in the future, just as in terms of his own death he knew what usually happened to people who acted like God.

The temple was the sign and symbol of the presence of God. Constructed like temples of other religions, with a replica of the earth and heavens, a throne for the god to sit on, etc. Although the Jerusalem temple was massively huge, opulent, ornate, and filled several city blocks, it still was too small to contain the God of Heaven and Earth. This text and others remind us although structure and organization are humanly necessary, we need to focus on "what's really important" and on why those structure and organizations got put into place in the first place.

The alternate first reading for Pentecost 26C is from 3rd Isaiah. He wrote after the Babylonian exile and tells about Jerusalem a joy, God's people a delight. People planting and harvesting their own gardens in their own land. A vision of The Peaceable Kingdom—think of Edward Hicks' painting, Randall Thompson's music.
Isaiah 65:17-25

17For I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind. 18But be glad and rejoice forever in what I am creating; for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy, and its people as a delight. 19I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and delight in my people; no more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it, or the cry of distress. 20No more shall there be in it an infant that lives but a few days, or an old person who does not live out a lifetime; for one who dies at a hundred years will be considered a youth, and one who falls short of a hundred will be considered accursed. 21They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. 22They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat; for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be, and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands. 23They shall not labor in vain, or bear children for calamity; for they shall be offspring blessed by the Lord— and their descendants as well. 24Before they call I will answer, while they are yet speaking I will hear. 25The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, the lion shall eat straw like the ox; but the serpent—its food shall be dust! They shall not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain, says the Lord.

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