When the days drew near for Jesus to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. And he sent messengers ahead of him. On their way they entered a village of the Samaritans to make ready for him; but they did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. When his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” But he turned and rebuked them. Then they went on to another village. (Luke 9: 51-56)
During my devotions for Lent I have been thinking about this scripture. After spending some time meditating on this, and deciding to preach last Sunday on this text, it has continued to speak to me in several ways.
To begin, I love that the scripture begins with Jesus setting his face toward Jerusalem. Jesus has singleness of purpose and great intention for his ministry and that which is to be done. He is taking the most direct route for his journey, even though it goes through Samaria, and this journey becomes, as does all of Jesus’ travels, an amazing teaching moment.
I am especially struck by the disciples remark to Jesus when the village in Samaria refuses to receive him. “Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” Really? After spending more than two years traveling with Jesus, listening to his teaching, witnessing his healing, his compassion toward the poor, the rejected and the cast-out, what even made them think Jesus would answer their question in the affirmative?
It makes me think of many of us today. We have heard about Jesus great unconditional love for all. We have read about it, studied it in Sunday School, heard about it from the pulpits, and yet we have not always gotten the message either. In the name of Jesus, of his church, so many have been far too willing, eager actually, to persecute, belittle, exclude and “rain down fire” on those viewed as “different” from ones self. If we are to truly learn the lessons of Jesus’ ministry, and I hope that we come closer to doing so on our Lenten journey, we should be affirming the great inclusivity of Jesus for all people. No matter our race, gender, nationality or sexual orientation, we are all the child of a loving God, we are all students of Jesus. The Apostle Paul wrote that there is no longer Jew or Greek, male or female, no longer “us” and “them,” no longer the in-crowd and those on the fringes, there is only the perfect creation of God.
We are all the beloved of God and must treat one another as such. It is time to put away the labels. It is time to put duality of thinking aside and affirm the great “oneness” of our being in creation. We live a richer more vibrant faith if we do.
Jesus came to teach us that. It is always good to reaffirm that truth and begin to live it anew.
I hope this stop on your Lenten journey will enrich your soul. The journey continues. Thanks be to God.
Affirmation: “The Christ in me sees the Christ in others. We celebrate our common DNA and children of an unconditionally loving God.”
Rev. Jefferson Beeker
We live our lives one thought at a time. Let each of those thoughts really count for something wonderful.
Be prepared to change your thinking and change your life.
Follow me on Twitter @jeffersonbeeker