Reading Luke and Acts in 2020
Week 15 | Luke 15
Luke 15 Reflections and Questions
By Rev. Dr. Quincy Brown
A little over a month ago, the kids were in school, we were shaking hands and had no awareness of social distance. We populated our calendars with meetings, and March Madness was beginning. Words like pandemic and flatten the curve weren’t on the radar. In just a matter of weeks, we have become all too familiar with these terms. We have also become too familiar with what it means to lose something that matters to us. The novel Coronavirus has disrupted our lives and is forcing us to adjust our assumptions and values.
Each of us has stories of loss: loss of income, loss of mobility due to shelter in place, loss of ability to visit friends and family due to physical distances, loss of health, the ability to gather together, and the ultimate loss—the loss of life. We've plunged head-first into a global "liminal space" – that intensely uncomfortable space between an ending (of our ordinary life as we knew it) and a new beginning (yet to be revealed and we don’t see the timeline). As Richard Rohr puts it, we’re searching through a “terrible cloud of unknowing” for something that matters: the answer to when this pandemic will end, and we can get back to normal.
Luke 15 records three parables that describes all-out searches to find something that really matters. Finding the lost sheep, coin, and son, called for a celebration, though not everyone celebrated. Indeed, Jesus was reaching out to the least, the last, and the lost. He’s been calling people whom the religious elite of Israel would look down on. Jesus is hanging out with sinners, and the respectable people didn’t like it.
Before you read selected verses from Luke 15 each day, begin by centering yourself, taking a few deep breaths. With eyes closed, sit for a few moments as you prepare to encounter the story. Read the text silently and sit quietly for a few moments with what you have heard. Then read the text aloud, listening for God to speak to you.
Wednesday – Be Careful not to Judge Others
Read Luke 15: 1-3
Question: What behavior gets underneath your skin so much (works your last nerve) that it causes you to judge others?
Thursday – Leaving the Herd Mentality
Read Luke 15: 3-7
Question: Where have you experienced times where sticking with the herd caused you to miss God's blessing?
Friday – House Cleaning
Read Luke 15: 8-10
Question: How might you rearrange your mental furniture so that you might see God’s power in your life?
Saturday – The Wake-up Call
Read Luke 15: 11-20a
Question: What are the ways that you distinguish what feeds your ambitions, from what feeds your soul?
Sunday – Run, Reunion, Redemption
Read Luke 15: 20b-24
Question: What moves you with compassion so that you alter your routine?
Read Luke 15: 25-29
Question: What are tangible ways that you can move beyond the need to be right and celebrate someone else?
Tuesday – Lost is Now Found
Read Luke 15: 30-32
Question: What ways can you celebrate God’s grace for you and others?
Rev. Dr. Quincy Brown is superintendent of the Atlanta-Decatur-Oxford District.