Interventions in The Gospel of Luke

Tomorrow we begin a series we’re playfully naming, “Interventions in The Gospel of Luke.” Our reflections will not only draw on the text itself, what it says, what it teaches, but it suggests that by hearing, and re-telling these stories we encounter the text in a way that transforms us. We will be looking at ways in which God, through Jesus, intervened in our world, disrupted the status quo, and problematized the “logic of the world” and contrasted it with the logic of the embodied kingdom of God. We will be discussing how Jesus’ counter-movements of peace, love and hope model for the church how we are to live in the world.

Good stories always connect with the real “stuff of life,” great stories change lives.

Another way the Gospel intervenes is through its re-telling within our own time. Not only was the incarnation of God’s son in the first century an intervention, but as a people formed and bound by the Holy Spirit, when we re-tell these stories, God can, through the text, intervene in our own lives as well (and of course, God acts outside the text as well). My hope is that the Holy Spirit will work in and through the Gospel of Luke this to intervene in our lives and continue to form us into God’s people.

So the two areas these interventions will focus on are ecclesiology and hermeneutics: or the way of living for the church, and the way of interpreting the world following Jesus’ example.  So there are at least two ways we’ll approach the Gospel of Luke: ecclesiology and hermeneutics. First, ecclesiology is the study of the church. What does Luke have to say about Jesus, what he did, what he asked his followers to do and how does that relate to the church today? And secondly, hermeneutics is the science of interpretation. In other words, what do we learn about the way Jesus and his followers, including Luke, interpret their world, their culture. How do they diagnose the problems, and how do they respond to those interpretations? What if we embraced their way of interpreting and responding our world, the way they did theirs? The end goal is that God works through these words in a way gives us insight into how to live and interpret the “signs of the times” in a way that helps us navigate our changing world.

In Sum, these two ways focus on: How to live (ecclesiology) and how to understand the world (interpretation/hermeneutics). These go together, they are interwoven.

Finally, In my study this past week on the Gospel I found this lovely quote by Joel Green is too long for a sermon, but felt appropriate here.  Green argues that the most pervasive theme in Luke is Salvation, where:

“Salvation is neither ehereal nor merely future, but embraces life in the present, restoring the integrity of human life, revitalizing human communities, setting the cosmos in order, and commissioning the community of God’s people to put God’s grace into practice among themselves and toward ever-widening circles of others. The Third Evangelist knows nothing of such dichotomies as those sometimes drawn between soical and spiritual or individual and communal. Salvation embraces the totality of embodied life, including its social, economic, and politic concerns. For Luke, the God of Isreal is the Great Benefactor whose redemptive purpose is manifest in the career of Jesus, whose message is that this benefaction enables and inspirites new ways for living in the world (J. Green 1997:24-25).

I’ll post notes from Sunday’s reflection early next week.