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Showing posts from July, 2013

What it Means to Follow Jesus

Luke 9.57-62 This reading is a head-on challenge to those of us who are church members. The New Revised Standard Version gives it this heading, ‘Would be Followers of Jesus’, but that’s not part of the Bible text. An alternative title would be, ‘What it means to follow Jesus’. In principle we all want to follow wherever Jesus wants us to go, but are we always prepared for what that is going to mean in practice? The first thing we learn is that it means being prepared to let go of our base, our spiritual home. Foxes have a hole where they can shelter from the rain. Birds have nests where they can raise their young. But a bolt hole or a shelter from the storm is a luxury as far as the followers of Jesus are concerned. The second thing we learn is that it means being prepared to let go of our roots, of tradition, of the place where our family belongs. Followers of Jesus who move from one town to another already know this, of course - although a lot never find a new Christian community to c…

Taking Risks for Jesus

Luke 7.36-8.3 It’s interesting that our Gospel reading includes so many examples of people - both men and women - taking risks and living dangerously in order to express their faith in Jesus. There’s poor Simon the Pharisee, who took a very real risk by inviting Jesus, the unorthodox and rabble-rousing preacher, to his house. He thought that Jesus was a prophet, someone in touch with God, so it was worth living dangerously by associating with him. Unfortunately, Simon was a person stuck between two worlds. He was impressed by Jesus, but he still couldn’t entirely put behind him the temptation to judge other people which is so characteristic of pharisees when they figure in the Gospels. ‘If this man were really a prophet,’ he thought to himself, ‘He would have known who and what kind of woman this is who is touching him—that she is a sinner.’ Of course, this is a heavily ironic moment in the story because Jesus is a prophet, so he not only knew all about the woman’s chequered past but he …