Pentecost – 13 (c)
Today, I believe God is talking to us about the future: About the movement of life, about walking through the doors that God opens for us.
First, from our Old Testament/Hebrew scripture/ the elder scripture: We read about the calling of the Prophet Elisha by Elijah.
12 yoke of oxen…cooked
You see what is happening here? Elisha has been called by God to a new life, so what does he do? He cooks up his oxen as a goodbye gift to his family. He is a farmer, and he effectively destroys his livelihood as a farmer…
He eliminates his fallback plan…say the prophet business doesn’t pan out…
He shuts the door on the past, in order that he might completely embrace the future that God has called him to. This defies all sensibilities doesn’t it? But it does give us something to think about as we consider our own walks of faith.
Next, we have this story of Jesus, and Luke said his “face set toward Jerusalem.” Again a story of movement.
No one would welcome him because his face was set toward Jerusalem
No place to lay his head.
Life is a journey, whether we like it or not.
Gospel: God is inviting us. God is offering us freedom and peace and eternal life. That is what God does. But we find it difficult to understand. God opens doors for us. Every day, we move through time: with each new day, we have opportunities to move in new directions. Doorways open for us to help someone who needs help. Doorways open for us to make changes in our lives.
A missed opportunity is nothing more than that a missed opportunity. An opportunity seized, however, opens a whole wealth of opportunity for you and for other people. Seized opportunities are what stories are made of. Seized opportunities are the hope of the world in which we live.
Jerusalem or Galilee.
And this is what Jesus offers us—entrance into this story. Welcome to the daring story in which the children of God become freed from all fear and anxiety, so that they might lay them down again for the sake of other people.
Bad news: But we don’t like to walk through the door sometimes, do we? Sometimes we get comfortable, don’t we? Sometimes we would really like to keep one foot in and one foot out—The cake and eat it too syndrome--to keep our options open. We know that God loves us and will always love us, so we may as well focus our attentions on somewhere/ someone else.
I think the most common thing, which enables us to understand this idea, is the Covenant of marriage: I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately, for some reason.
There’s something about getting married—the preparation process that—that makes one realize some things/some patterns that have been established in the old life—things that may not be conducive to the health of the new life.
My microwave for instance: my microwave and I have a lot of history together. Not only is it my very first appliance in this life, it has been a very reliable--1992.
The Gospel ends with this image- a powerful image/analogy and one that many of you, coming strait out of agricultural communities will relate to easily…, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
What happens when someone looks back while plowing?
Your line gets crooked and you ruin your field.
Brothers and sisters, I think what it comes down to is that life is just full of opportunities to enter the story and to serve. My prayer for us this day, is that we will find ways to shut doors that have gone past, but we have left propped open just in case—that we might be freed from our bondage to regret.
And that we might freely, without hesitation, walk through the doors that God is opening or will open anew for us today.
Godspeed everyone. May the Lord bless you on your journey.
Joshua W. Magyar,
Pella Lutheran Church
418 W. Main Street
Sidney, MT 59270