The beginning of the Advent season brings us to the beginning of a new liturgical year! We follow a three-year cycle for the readings used during worship. They are called years A, B, and C. Each of these years has one gospel that is used for the majority of the year, A is Matthew, B is Mark and C is Luke. We read the gospel according to John at various times throughout those three years! In 2019 we will be in, “Year C” or the, “Year of Luke.” Which means for most of the Sundays beginning the first Sunday of Advent (December 2) through Christ the King Sunday at the end of November 2019 we will be hearing from Luke’s Gospel.
In Luke there are some themes we will hear throughout the year. One is the theme of a journey. Jesus does a lot of his teaching in this gospel while he is on the journey toward Jerusalem where he faced his death. Yes, all of the gospels have Jesus teaching as he makes his final trip to Jerusalem, but Luke has more teachings during this time than the other gospel writers. This teaching while on the journey also highlights the fact that we too are on a journey. For us, as followers of Jesus, we are on this journey we call discipleship!
Luke also has an interesting view of the cross where Jesus’ death on the cross shows a clashing of God’s plan and human sinfulness. With this clash, and Jesus’ death on the cross, we can also see the times when we are unwilling to welcome Jesus into our lives and embrace his presence and the salvation he gives. This also speaks to the journey we are on as disciples. When Jesus tells us to take up our cross to follow him, we are entering into a particular way of life by following him to the cross.
We also hear a lot about salvation in Luke’s gospel. But, salvation in Luke is not something far off that we cannot experience until after this life. Instead, salvation is seen as liberation for those who are oppressed. It is having our status from this world reversed as a way of showing us how God’s kingdom works. Salvation is also a restoration of life in this gospel, where those who are sick or injured are restored to life through Jesus’ healing touch.
In Luke, we also hear about food, table and hospitality. Jesus spends a significant amount of time in Luke eating with people. This points us to the eating we do as we share the table with others as well as pointing us to the meal of Holy Communion, which we come together to share each week! We learn about welcoming and hospitality, important lessons in our lives and as a congregation!
For Luke, to be a follower of Jesus is not something we do from time to time. It is a daily reality for us. Salvation is not something far off, it is “today,” as we can work to liberate those who are oppressed, raise the status of the least of those among us, and restore life in various ways!
This year we are setting out on a journey with Luke. We will hear these stories from his voice as we learn more of what it is to be on this journey with Jesus, and with each other! As we wrap up calendar year 2018, we enter into liturgical year 2019, we reflect back, and we look forward (themes for Advent and the wrapping up of the year but also seeing how we move forward as disciples each day)!