Most of us, most of the time, feel left out—misfits. We don’t belong. Others seem to be so confident, so sure of themselves, “insiders” who know the ropes, old hands in a club from which we are excluded. . . . As Luke tells the story of Jesus, all of us who have found ourselves on the outside looking in on life with no hope of gaining entrance (and who of us hasn’t felt it?) now find the doors wide open, found and welcomed by God in Jesus.
When was the last time you sat down and read from beginning to end one of the four accounts of Jesus’ life in the Bible?
If your answer is “I’ve never done that,” or “It’s been a long time,” join with me between now and this Sunday, February 11, in reading in its entirely the Gospel According to St. Luke. It won’t take long: each of the 24 chapters is only few pages.
Then, after you’ve finished reading the Gospel of Luke in this way, for breadth, start again on Sunday, this time reading for depth, a portion each day for the season of Lent. Know that you’ll be joining Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and Episcopalians across the country (including your bishop) in a spiritual practice known as lectio divina, a prayerful engagement with Scripture that invites the Holy Spirit to speak to us through sacred texts. It involves not just reading the text, but deeply pondering the words and what they evoke in us, praying through them, and allowing the Spirit to quicken our hearts.
“The surest way to get into the presence of God is to get into the Word of God,” writes local pastor Mark Batterson. “It changes the way we think, the way we feel, the way we live, and the way we love.”
Once we finish Luke, we’re encouraged to read Part Two of this great story, as told in the Book of Acts. That’s the invitation for the Easter Season, and I’m on board for that as well.
But for now, as we enter Lent, the sacred season patterned on Jesus’ 40 days of prayer and fasting in the wilderness, will you join me and others across our church in reading the Gospel of Luke? I wonder how God might move in each of us, and in all of us together, as we commit to this spiritual practice together.