Eucharist – St Luke – 18th October
18 October 2020 – Luke the Evangelist.
Isaiah 35.3-6 OR Acts 16.6-12a: 2Timothy4.5-17: Luke 10. 1-9
Today we have a break from this year’s Matthew, and turn instead to Luke, because today is the day when he is specially remembered. Why?
Well, of course, he’s a very important chap: one of the four Evangelists (= messengers) who wrote down the story of Jesus a generation or two later, in case people might begin to forget. Mark wrote his (short and sweet) first, and John (long and mysterious) last. Matthew wrote in Hebrew, for the Jews, and Luke, in Greek for the others, in between; both add things Mark didn’t know about, like how Jesus came to be born, and parts of his early life. Luke wasn’t there but carefully sought eye-witness reports from people, like Mary, who were, with comments by a religious scholar, Paul, through two different life-changing events.
I think that matters: a relationship with the Son of God based not only on one’s own, unique, “internal” experience, but supported by external evidence = not “nuts”. Luke was a medical man, used to diagnosis only after examining the patient: and, in a world which ascribed illnesses to the influence of evil spirits, advised not only prayer but treatment. His Gospel (an “orderly account” based on “investigation””) is often recommended to adult beginners as most suited to modern ears. Luke divides it clearly from his other volume, the Acts of the Apostles, at the point of Christ’s Ascension: after which he looks, instead, at the birth and first growth of a different sort of body, the early church. So we have a choice of first readings: an OT one looking forward to God’s coming to heal, and another, by Luke, about Paul spreading the glad tidings of a changed life, afterwards. He travels ( I always think) because he feels he must: having persecuted the church, he wants to do all he can to put things right. When he writes to Timothy later in life, he sounds worn out: putting his affairs in order, and wondering if, in the end, he did right. I, for one, rather identify with that, and I don’t suppose I’m alone. But then, like Paul, I recall that it’s not for me to judge, but our Lord, who knows me better than I do, and sent seventy out, all unready, not to deal with the past, but to prepare for His coming. Quite different. The big question is not when but How?