We are walking around with Luke Sunday; it’ll be a last time until we do it again. Luke is like an old friend we haven’t seen in a while, but who always seems like he’s always there. I think of my friend Carl in that way, who lives in Happy Island, AK, with whom I talk every two weeks about books, and stuff. Happy Island, AK: I’ve never been there, but I’m envious.
Carl called me through all this last month. It’s been a month, don’t you think? Unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Carl called me every Monday morning at 9:30 and left me a message basically saying: Hey Pal, I’m going to just call you this time every week. You don’t have to answer. Just my way of saying you’re in my thoughts. Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy. I don’t deserve such a friend.
Luke is just that kind of friend to us through his story of Jesus. He shares Gospel Medicine.
Luke is uniquely positioned to talk about Jesus, because he’s a physician. He’s a physician, but Barbara Brown Taylor speculates that if Luke were to fill out one of those forms today and came to the box where you put your occupation, that Luke would write “disciple”. Luke helps us find the healing that all seek in the deepest places of our hearts.
Luke puts this on full display for us Sunday. He preserves his most personal story for last: Two friends on the road to Emmaus. I’m thinking he was one.
Read Luke 24:13-35
Let me tell you what Gospel Medicine sounds like: If you want to find real freedom and deep joy in your life, don’t focus on yourself as the end and balance of it all. Focus on others, whoever they are. For, as Luke reminds us in the Story of Jesus,
The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. (Luke 4:18-19)
We will discover that we will then be called to live a life of trusting Jesus that all we need and more will be provided.
That’s what Jesus meant when he said, Do not worry about your life … what you will eat and drink and where you will sleep. All that will be provided. It was the Apostle Paul who said in Ephesians 3, when he broke out in a glorious, spontaneous benediction in the middle of that circulated letter:
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (3:20)
That’s the Good News that is Gospel Medicine. That’s the Gospel Medicine that we need.
Hopefully, you have a sense of what is coming that will frame our weekly gathering time. We begin a new conversation around a series of sermons called Gospel Medicine.
It’s been hard to focus on anything but Hurricane Harvey. We have a long, long way of recovery to go. So the times of coming together weekly will be more important than ever. We will need this spiritual practice to sustain us in the long run, to give us a place and community to process all that swirls around us.
For our time, I want to do what Barbara Brown Taylor does in her book called, “Gospel Medicine.” She sees stuff; and I like what she describes about what she sees. I want to show you some of the stuff she’s shown me, because I think you’ll like what you see, too.
Which won’t necessarily be just what I see.
Our times together on Sundays is wholly important. Gospel medicine is about being and becoming whole. We worship and in that context we begin a conversation. I grant you that I do most of the talking; however, I do see myself as laying out before us something that begins a larger conversation. The conversation takes place in a lot of different locations: It takes place in our heads and hearts among ourselves first. Then in our homes, hopefully. Then in every other place we find ourselves, among our neighbors, friends and co-workers, wherever authentic conversations can really happen. My guess is that given the devastation of Harvey those conversations will happen more frequently.
There is healing in the words we speak, in the Story we tell, in the midst of what we experience and see. What good news should frame our conversations? Luke helps us find the healing that all seek in the deepest places of our hearts: finding purpose, bringing clarity, and setting ourselves and the world on fire.