Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Luke- a social experiment in spiritual disciplines

My church, which I have been woefully inadequate in attending because of weddingextravaganza2013, is currently teaching through Luke. I believe that this is what is in the lectionary for ordinary time, but seeing as I am new to liturgy, "ordinary time" is a new idea to me. In order to lean into this time I am going to embark on an experiment in spiritual disciplines. It sounds much more exciting than it is. I am simply going to to read through the book of Luke and try to come to the story itself with a blank slate. While I will never be able to fully get away from all of the background I already have, I would like to try to read it for what it is: an account.

My goal is to reflect on what I am reading in as raw a form as possible. I hope to learn and unlearn and relearn some things about Christ and, through that process to learn a few things about myself. I am in a spiritual funk of sorts and I think that a regular spiritual discipline will be good for me in this time. That is where you come in- there are three things I ask of you. One, I need you to help me simply by reading. Since reading scripture is something that has historically been challenging and dry for me, I am hoping to come to this with a sense of freedom in my thoughts. I think that posting several times a week and just having you out there to read it helps hold me to both the regularity and authenticity of this endeavor. Two, interact. One of my favorite things about social media is that it is social- this only works if we are talking about it over email, over coffee, on the phone, on facebook, on twitter, or on a blog. I have already enjoyed the conversations spurred by my last post about singleness. Those conversations have already challenged and encouraged me and, I hope, spurred on many other conversations for other people. Three, bear with me. This is intended to raw, which makes it somewhat vulnerable- personally, grammatically, and theologically. We are all a work in progress.

Well, here goes.

Luke 1:1-25

This is such a practical undertaking "to draw up an account of everything that has happened among us." It feels like a news story or a journal entry or a blog. And some part of me wants to think of it as more believable because of that, but I find it hard when in the next breathe Luke says, with all practicality "there was an angel standing at the altar." It seems both to make perfect sense that he would just state this, just matter of fact, and it seems that there should be more drama and more build up and more description of the supernatural to make it more believable.

Here there are such human reactions and circumstances- a couple who wants to have a child and can't conceive. I also love Zechariah's reaction to this news "give me a sign." It is akin to "prove it to me," and "what assurances do you have that I am not crazy and that I can trust you?" And then the angel makes him MUTE? What is that? Seems a little harsh, and then he goes home and has sex with his wife? People are funny. Elizabeth also has a very human reaction to finally conceiving a child. "This the Lord has done for me in the days when he looked on me, and took away my reproach among the people." It is about her personal journey, her relationship with the Lord and her connection to her history as a Jew (I think that is what the Genesis reference is about-someone correct me if that is wrong). Such a very normal, human reaction. Gritty. This whole episode is bazaarly gritty and supernatural all at the same time. Strange.

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