Welcome to this year’s series of Lenten reflections from Ballycrochan. This year, beginning on Wednesday, we’re basing ourselves in the Gospel of Luke.
lt’s a Gospel with questions and puzzles and mysteries, and this makes sense because of what Luke says in the opening words, he writes these things so that the readers might have confidence and clarity in the message they have heard and believed (Luke 1:1-4)
It is the Gospel with the most detailed description of the circumstances surrounding Jesus’ birth, so detailed in fact that it opens not with the birth of Jesus but of his forerunner, John the Baptiser. It is Luke who gives us the stories of shepherds and angels and older people who waited a long time to see this special baby..
And as the story of Jesus’ ministry unfolds we see a whole cast of other characters who, we often say, are marginal to the great movements of history, those who are poor, or sick or outcasts. Those who fill unpalatable roles like fishermen and tax collectors. And people who are of little worth in the culture of his day, like women and children.
Whilst there are some sermonic passages in the book, this is a Gospel of actions where Jesus reveals his identity as much by what he does as by what he says. So he allows his disciples pick ears of corn on the Sabbath and he heals on the Sabbath, to the fury of the religious leaders. He also heals the Centurion’s son, and a Samaritan, and picks fights with the rich and powerful.
Most famously perhaps Luke’s Gospel has more parables than any of the other Gospel accounts. These are complex and often uncomfortable stories that require some effort on the part of listeners/readers to figure out just what Jesus is talking about. It seems Jesus deliberately obscures in these stories in order to reveal those who are serious about discovering just what it means to follow Jesus.
And finally of course, there is an extended account of the final week of Jesus life in which we get the fullest unveiling of who Jesus is and what it is to be a disciple.
This year in Lent we will move in and through this story of puzzles and mysteries and take some time to reflect on questions thrown up by the various people, the incredible events, the intriguing stories and the enigmatic character at the heart of it all. And of course we will wrestle with how it is that the cross and resurrection reveals the truth of Jesus message.
The season will unfold in the following way:
Week 1: Before the Beginning
Week 2: Starting a ministry.
Week 3: He told parables
Week 4: Messages in miracles
Week 5: He told more parables
Week 6: Always conflict
Week 7: Final days.
Each day will feature some verses from Luke and a brief reflection on that text. Sometimes there will be a suggested response and a prayer. We hope there will be something in each reflection which will give you pause, to reflect, to be challenged and maybe even to do something as a result. Each one can be read slowly and reflectively, or on the go, whichever suits.
Every reflection will be posted on this website, but you can get them delivered direct to your inbox each day by subscribing HERE, this will ensure that you will be kept entirely up to date.
However you use these brief reflections we hope they will be helpful to you on the way through Lent this year. And we’d love to hear from you how you have used them and whether or not they have been helpful, either by leaving a comment on the website or by emailing HERE.