Luke 14


Reading Luke and Acts in 2020

Week 14  |  Luke 14

Luke 14 Reflections and Questions

By Rev. Greg Porterfield


Where’s the Party?

The fourteenth chapter of Luke is understood in three movements.  erses one through fourteen remind us that content is always understood in context.  Luke announces that Jesus is at table with a prominent Pharisee.  This description of the setting anticipates what happens next. The meal is different depending on if the napkin set before you is made of paper or of cloth.  How well we now know that surroundings influence our behavior.  An unseen virus explodes into the world and everything is different. How we behave, what we think, and that which really matters.    

Questions to ponder. 

When the current crisis passes, and it will, let us not forget the lessons it teaches. Our surroundings matter. Does your church reflect its setting? Do you know the people that live close by? Could you list their needs and more importantly call their names? I will never forget that first SPR meeting at my new church. A member of the committee asked those of us gathered there, “Do you know our custodians last names?” A shuffling of feet and awkward silence followed.  How can we serve if we do not know? It’s one thing to say, “all are welcome,” but what if people can’t find the front door and if they do it is locked?

The parable of the Great Banquet verses 15 through 24 may be understood in a similar way.  God throws a party and on one comes. What is that all about?  Maybe the guests misunderstood the address. When I was in seminary there was a disco in Buckhead, the Limelight. All the celebrities were there. Grace Jones, Andy Warhol, Mick Jagger, you name it they went to the Limelight. What you may not recall is that right next door was a Kroger. Think about it.  One doors difference and you were either blinded by a disco ball or walking down aisle nine look for Kraft’s macaroni and cheese.

Questions to ask. When people visit your congregation do they know where they are? It’s fine that our buildings host a family reunion but remember they were created as a house of God. It is oaky to serve punch and cookies in the fellowship hall but let us never forget that only the bread of life will satiate our hunger for God.  More congregational arguments contain the phrase, “my church,” than anything else. Does the church we serve reflect our wishes or God’s desire?

Finally, the chapter concludes in a predictable way. Every meal and any party all end in the same way – “check please.” There is no such thing as a free lunch. The trouble is how to pay for what is freely given? Jesus answers not with economics for stewardship is rarely about resources but recognition. Were you as disturbed as I, that for most of us the first sign of prospective pandemic was not a fever or a cough but hoarding? Grocery shelves emptied of supplies we will likely never need. You cannot reach out if you are unprepared to let go. 

The fourteenth chapter of Luke charts a new path, not without cost, for those that would follow Jesus. For such a time as this.        

Rev. Greg Porterfield is superintendent of the Augusta District.

Download the reading schedule

Invite others to subscribe to the weekly reading prompts and reflections: