11 Nov 2016
The “good news” of the gospel is sometimes like getting a dose of reality; sometimes it doesn’t feel like “good news” at all. Especially with the Gospel of Luke, the ancient text is meant to upset us; not necessarily to make us afraid, but to get us onto a different track of thinking and living. The gospel is meant to get us into a new reality.
Now, Jesus refers to the Great Flood that “destroyed them all” in the days of Noah. And he talks about “fire and brimstone [that] rained from the sky to destroy them all” in the days of Lot. And then he makes those references to death, where—suddenly—someone is taken from us, and we are left behind to worry and wonder. But that’s not the new reality he’s trying to get us into—the reality of death and destruction.
Instead, as always, Jesus is trying to get us onto a different track in life; specifically, the track of life. Everything Jesus mentioned in the gospel today can be scary: death and destruction. But, then again, he’s talking about the death and destruction of things that hold us back from life. Sin is not good, and so it’s good that the Flood washed it away. Selfishness and greed are not good, they’re not helpful, and it’s good that fire and brimstone got rid of them.
Even something as precious and good as our human bodies . . . Jesus is saying: I have something better in store for you—a glorified body. God is always trying to replace what is limited with what is infinite. He’s trying to replace those things that drain life away with things that give life.
The “good news” is that our redemption is always “at hand;” the reality of the Kingdom of Heaven is always just a step away. But we need our loving God to upset our lives just enough so we can enter that reality. And so, as weird as it sounds, we pray: God, upset our lives; destroy what needs to be destroyed; and bring us through death and into life, through darkness and into light.