Well, dear friends, Jesus has set his sights on Jerusalem. The path is clear. The time is now. Our invitation waits.
It will not be easy. There is no safety or security. There is nowhere to lay our heads. Normal life must cease. Business as usual is no more.
But there will be community: mentors to walk alongside, stories to learn, and mantles to pick up. There will be children full of life who are wiser than you or I.
There will be space for dreaming, for mystery, for imagining new ways of living when the walls come crumbling down.
There will dirt under our feet and palm branches in our hands. There will be stars and wind and songbirds along the journey who carry a love of God and this world.
There will be those along the path who sit in pain because they have been hurt by words, laws, codes, and disciplines. They will be ready to receive our hands and loving invitations to join the journey.
When we reach where we are going, there will be pain and grief brought on by a system that deals in death and fear. But we will keep going. With spices and oils, we will go to the body to love and honor and pick up the cloak. And in that place, there will be dancing, joy, and mystery.
O God, we give thanks for this day, this call, and this life. Bless the dirt under our feet and the life that is to come after us. Amen.
This week’s readings open with the dramatic scene of Elijah’s departure. As the prophet is taken into heaven by fiery chariots, his cloak falls to his successor, Elisha—symbolic of the continuation of God’s prophetic work. The psalmist praises the Lord’s mighty works of the past and finds encouragement in them. Paul reminds us that freedom in Christ comes with responsibility. We cannot live to satisfy our fleshly desires. If we live in the power of the Spirit, then our manner of life should stand out and bear godly fruit. In the Gospel reading, Jesus challenges his followers with the cost of discipleship. His statements here may seem extreme, but he is pointing out that we can be tempted to find excuses for not proclaiming the kingdom of God.
Read 2 Kings 2:1-2, 6-14. When has fire—real or metaphorical—changed your life? How have you seen God working in this change?
Read Psalm 77:1-2, 11-20. Recall a time when you needed God’s help. Where did you look for God’s encouragement?
Read Galatians 5:1, 13-25. Along with our freedom, we are given a responsibility. How do you use your freedom to serve others?
Read Luke 9:51-62. When have you heard Jesus’ call to follow? What have you had to leave behind to follow the one who has “set his face to go to Jerusalem”?
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