18 July 2010

Luke 10: 38-42

A story on the internet at the moment,  tells of a young successful executive named Josh travelling down a neighbourhood street.  He was in a new, Bugatti Super Sport and he was enjoying its power.  Next thing he new there was a movement at the side of his car and he hear – and felt – and great THUMP near the front of the car.

He slammed on the brakes, jumped out to see what it was and saw that someone had thrown a brick at the car. With anger pushing common sense aside, he ran back to where the brick had been thrown

A 10 year old boy was there – so he raced straight over and grabbed the boy. “Where do you live?   We are heading back to see your parents NOW!” said Josh That is going to cost you a whole stack of money”

The boys started to shake.  “I’m sorry – but I didn’t know what else to do.   I threw the brick because no one else would stop”

The boy pointed over to the gutter a bit further back, where there was a wheelchair lying and next to it an older boy – probably around 16.

“He’s my brother, but he’s too heavy for me to lift.   He might be hurt, I think” Josh’s sense of anger dropped a bit. He went over to the older boy and wiped down the cuts and scrapes.    The older boy was a bit sore, but would be OK.

He helped the boy back into the wheelchair,  and the younger boy came over smiled a bit and started to push the wheelchair “We live this way” he sad to Josh “if you want to come and speak to my parents about the brick”

Josh smiled back.   “No, it’s OK.   Don’t worry about the brick” As the boy pushed his brother down the street, Josh headed back to his car Josh decided that he wouldn’t fix the dent on the front of the car.  He kept it to remind him not to go through life so quickly that someone has to throw a brick at him to get his attention.

That’s not a bad motto for today’s Luke passage either.

Ultimately, I don’t really think this passage is about housework or learning nor is it primarily about the idea of male roles and female roles (though there is some of that) This is not a passage that says housework is bad. I think when push comes to shove, this is a passage about letting a purpose get lost in activity.

In Luke’s time, the local church met in someone’s home – truly house churches. And we can see the gospel response, which Luke traces as back to the life of Jesus himself. Hospitality is fundamental to the life of the faith-community,  but when it stops the purpose of the hospitality then it needs to be put on hold. The place of the relationships and the experience of the presence of God must be higher than the place of the preparations and the background work.

Imagine preparing for a visit so fastidiously  that you were too busy or too pre-occupied to enjoy the visit itself That suggests there is a problem

Imagine refusing to offer the practice of hospitality,  because you were too concerned about what the people would think of you or your house That suggests there is a problem

Imagine never talking with people about your faith and why you choose to live your way of living because you were always trying to make sure you had just the right words and could never quite find them That suggests there is a problem

Imagine that you were so concerned that things were done just right,  and followed the right principles, right directions, right doctrine, right theology, right practices that you lost the way of taking risks and discovering the wonders of an ongoing creator That suggests there is a problem.

This is a passage that invites us to move away from the idea of “If I don’t do it, no one else will”  or “If I don’t do it, it just wont get done properly” or  “I have to do it, because it is too important to leave to anyone else” Sometimes things may not get done.   Sometimes they wont get done as we would like them to.

Luke says, and Jesus says, that our own health including our spiritual health depends on letting things go. It’s a passage that shakes perfectionists,  because it reminds us that perfection is discovered in the life of Jesus and not in ours

The passage doesn’t invite us to become pole-sitting monks or to live a life of silence and reflection It invites us to keep a sense of perspective and to ensure we are taking time out for attention to the depth of our lives.

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