Revd Alison would like to thank you all for the very warm welcome she and Simon have received and for the very uplifting service on Wednesday evening. If you were not able to come along to that, it was filmed and can be viewed online using this link youtu.be/dpQi9B_0s2c
I look forward to all that God has in store for us in this Benefice in this new season of life.
WEEKLY REFLECTIONS FROM INDIVIDUALS
Reflection on St Luke
Many have tried to give a history of the things that happened among us. They have written the same things that we learned from others—the people who saw those things from the beginning and served God by telling people his message.
I myself studied everything carefully from the beginning, your Excellency. I thought I should write it out for you. So I put it in order in a book. I write these things so that you can know that what you have been taught is true. Luke 1 verses 1-4
Painting of St Luke by El Greco
On 18 October the church celebrates Luke the Evangelist. A doctor, described by
Paul as ‘the beloved physician’, Luke often accompanied Paul and others on their missionary journeys. It’s quite likely that after becoming a follower of Christ, Luke became personal physician to Paul. He probably patched Paul up when he’d been stoned and beaten, as well as offering care to others in need.
Luke was an educated man. As a physician he’d have had a good education. Unlike the other Gospel writers, who were fishermen and tax collectors, Luke writes as a sophisticated man of letters. Biblical scholars tell us that his command of Greek is excellent and he writes stylishly, as a gentile for Gentiles.
He was an eyewitness of many of the significant events of the early Church. In the book of Acts, Luke sets out to tell the story of the early church and to record stories that would otherwise be lost to the church and the world. At times he’s clearly sharing some of his own experiences. He was a gifted observer, who meticulously checked and rechecked the accuracy of his records.
Luke didn’t meet Christ but wrote his gospel to provide an account of Jesus’ life. He was keen to show that Jesus was a real person – that events and encounters in his life really happened. It’s apparent that he talked at length to many eyewitnesses and kept careful records of his research.
Of all the Gospels, Luke’s is the one which emphasises both the compassionate humanity of Christ and the all-too-human frailty of those he came to save. He paints a series of individual portraits, each one a recognisable human being. Luke takes particular delight in portraying the whole spectrum of society. He depicts children, prostitutes, people with disabilities and others on the margins of society with as much sympathetic detail as religious leaders, the rich and the powerful.
Luke places more emphasis on the place of women in Jesus’ life than the other Gospel writers; remarkable in a time and culture that tended to view women with disdain.
Luke’s life reminds us that we’re each called to offer our gifts in God’s service and do our part to work for the kingdom. Luke used his gifts to share the good news of Jesus, and no doubt his skills as a physician when meeting people in need. What’s more he sacrificed a career and settled life to enable Paul to fulfil his calling.
We may not feel up to the challenge of working for the kingdom of God. We live in a secular society and doubt we’ll get much response to the gospel message. But we don’t see the full picture. We can’t know where God is at work in people’s lives.
Each of us is the only person occupying our particular space in life. I am the only person who can work for the kingdom in my particular setting, amongst my friends and family – with my gifts, with the opportunities and encounters I have, with a story to share of how faith has brought strength and hope. The same is true of us all.
Today our world and the mission we face may be different, but like St Luke let’s be ready to work with God and to respond to the Spirit nudging us. Maybe to be bold and bring God into our conversations. Maybe to offer someone healing and prayer. Maybe to be generous-spirited and ready to receive the wisdom, sympathy and practical support people have to offer.
God is with us always and gives us courage for the task. God will give us the words to say. God gives us peace to share – peace that the world cannot give.