Tag Archives: Gospel of Luke

Between the Lines: Proper 16- August 25, 2013

Text: Luke 14:25-33

Scenography for the movie Greed. 1926.

Scenography for the movie Greed. 1926. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.”

Luke Timothy Johnson observes that “Luke uses a character’s disposition of possessions as a character indicator” (Prophetic Jesus, Prophetic Church, see BibleWorkbench, issue 20.3, April 21, 2013).

In Luke we read “one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions” (12:15), “Sell your possessions and give alms” (12:33), “none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.” (14:33), and Zacchaeus, in making amends, declares “Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much” (19:8).

What relationship do you see between a person’s possessions and their character? What attitude toward possessions do you see evidenced in the lives of people around you, at work, or church, or home? What attitudes toward possessions are taught by advertisements on TV or in the newspapers or magazines? By politicians and opinion makers? What might Luke have to say about American character at the beginning of the 21st century?


“Between the Lines” is excerpted from BibleWorkbench, a weekly resource for engaging the biblical story in a new way published by the Educational Center in Charlotte, NC.  For details and subscription information, see  About BibleWorkbench.


Between the Lines: Proper 16- August 25, 2013

Text: Luke 13:10-17

Elder Nepalese woman doing circumambulations o...

Elder Nepalese woman bent with arthritis, doing circumambulations of the Boudha Stupa, Kathmandu
(Photo credit: Wonderlane)

And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years, be set free from this bondage on the sabbath day?’

This is the only place in the entire Bible where someone is referred to as “a daughter of Abraham.” Plenty of references to “a son of Abraham,” but not a woman. How do you suppose the synagogue leader feels when he hears Jesus say such an audacious thing? And the others who are standing about observing? And how do you imagine the woman, herself, feels when called out in this way? As she “breaks the glass ceiling” imagine all the great possibilities that suddenly fill her dreams. How might her life as a Jewish woman now be filled with new promise?  After she gets her breath, what about the cost? What is the price she is going to pay for being singled out and named in this unique way? Not unlike the cost and promise of standing up straight. What does she sacrifice by giving up 18 years of being bent over? For all the new world now open to her, what is the price she is going to pay?

As well as for us. When you consider the “new you” who greets the world in a spirit filled and open way, ponder the cost to be paid for coming out of hiding and looking the world in the eye. Resurrection always includes some dying. As your inner bent over one faces the possibilities, it is important to remember that before every Easter there is a Good Friday.

– Bill Dols


“Between the Lines” is excerpted from BibleWorkbench, a weekly resource for engaging the biblical story in a new way published by the Educational Center in Charlotte, NC.  For details and subscription information, see  About BibleWorkbench.


Between the Lines: Proper 14- August 11, 2013

Text: Luke 12:32-40

service

service (Photo credit: nuanc)

“Blessed are those slaves whom the master finds alert when he comes…”

Assuming that you have never actually been a slave, what in your experience comes the closest to being a slave? What do you know of needing to be ready at a moment’s notice to respond to the needs of another? Perhaps you have cared for a child, or a parent, an invalid or even a demanding pet.

What is it like to be “on alert” every moment? What kind of attentiveness is required? What aspects of your own life—your desires, your time, your resources—must be given up to be of service? What rewards come from serving well? Recognition from the one for whom you are caring? Satisfaction in being adequate to the task? In what way is a prepared servant “blessed”?

– Andy Kille


“Between the Lines” is excerpted from BibleWorkbench, a weekly resource for engaging the biblical story in a new way published by the Educational Center in Charlotte, NC.  For details and subscription information, see  About BibleWorkbench.


Between the Lines: Proper 12- July 28, 2013

Solitude

Solitude (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn)

Text: Luke 11:1-13

He was praying in a certain place…

Prayer seems to be a central concern of the author of Luke and Acts. Together, these two books contain nearly 40% of all the references to prayer in the entire New Testament. Luke is the only one of the Gospel writers to describe Jesus as praying after being baptized (3:21), withdrawing into the wilderness to pray (5:16), praying on a mountain before calling the disciples (6:12), praying before he asks the disciples “Who do they say I am?” (9:18), going up the mountain to pray and being transfigured “as he was praying” (9:28), being asked by his disciples while he is praying to “Teach us to pray,” (11:1), telling his disciples to pray for strength (21:36), praying for Simon’s faith (22:32), telling the disciples twice to pray in Gethsemane (22:40), and praying so that his sweat was “like drops of blood” (22:44, appearing in some early manuscripts).

In addition, Luke alone describes three parables about prayer; two of which often puzzle the reader:

If Jesus was a prayerful person, what do you make of the fact that the other gospel writers do not emphasize that aspect of his life as much? What difference does it make to your understanding of Jesus to highlight his prayerfulness? How do you imagine Jesus’ prayer? How do you understand your own praying?

– Andy Kille


“Between the Lines” is excerpted from BibleWorkbench, a weekly resource for engaging the biblical story in a new way published by the Educational Center in Charlotte, NC.  For details and subscription information, see  About BibleWorkbench.


Between the Lines: Proper 10- July 14, 2013

Text: Luke 10:25-37

Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus.

Just then

Just then
(Photo credit: Damian Gadal)

Just then. Just when? I am struck by the urgency and suddenness of this questioner’s appearance. Just then is only one of the ways the NRSV translates the Greek words that elsewhere are translated “suddenly,” “see,” “now,” or even “indeed.” It appears 30 times in the gospel of Luke. This particular translation is offered only seven times: when the friends of the paralytic man bring him and let him through the roof (5:18), when Jesus heals the crowds (7:21), when Jairus comes seeking healing for his daughter (8:41), when a man calls Jesus to heal his epileptic son (9:38), when a crippled woman appears in the synagogue where Jesus is teaching (13:11), when a man with dropsy appears at a Pharisee’s house (14:2), and here.

What do you know of “just then” experiences in your life- when something happened “suddenly,” “now,” or even “indeed.” What distinguished those times, made them remarkable or memorable? What might make a moment a “just then” moment today?

– Andy Kille


“Between the Lines” is excerpted from BibleWorkbench, a weekly resource for engaging the biblical story in a new way published by the Educational Center in Charlotte, NC.  For details and subscription information, see  About BibleWorkbench.


Between the Lines: Proper 8- June 30, 2013

Text: Luke 9:51-62

Whirl-fire

Whirl-fire (Photo credit: Loving Earth)

When his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?”

Where did the disciples get the idea this was the way to deal with opponents? Take a look at 1Kings 18:20-40 (Elijah’s battle with the prophets of Baal, in which he calls down fire on the offering and ultimately slaughters all the Baal prophets), 2Kings 1:9-12 (Elijah calling down fire on the king’s captain and 50 men- twice!), or 2Kings 2:23-24 (two she-bears maul 42 small boys who have been heckling the prophet Elisha).

When have you ever found yourself wanting to “command fire to come down” on someone who has disrespected, ignored, or embarrassed you? What kind of “fire” do you imagine—misfortune, illness, poetic justice? What was the injury you felt you had suffered at their hands? What does the desire to “command fire to come down” want to affirm, defend, protect? What do you make of Jesus’ rebuke of the disciples?

– Andy Kille


“Between the Lines” is excerpted from BibleWorkbench, a weekly resource for engaging the biblical story in a new way published by the Educational Center in Charlotte, NC.  For details and subscription information, see  About BibleWorkbench.


Between the Lines: Pentecost 4; Proper 6- June 16, 2013

Text: Luke 7:36-8:3

English: Foreclosure signs, Mortgage crisis,

Foreclosure signs, Mortgage crisis
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“A certain creditor had two debtors; one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he canceled the debts for both of them. Now which of them will love him more?”

Have you ever experienced having a debt cancelled? What changed for you when that happened? What was different? What tensions eased or challenges lessened? How did you feel about the one who cancelled the debt? How did your relationship change after that point, if it did? Did the size of the debt affect how you felt about it? Is it true in your own experience that forgiveness and love are interrelated?

– Andy Kille


“Between the Lines” is excerpted from BibleWorkbench, a weekly resource for engaging the biblical story in a new way published by the Educational Center in Charlotte, NC.  For details and subscription information, see About BibleWorkbench.