getting out the word

the 3rd sunday after pentecost

the PRAYER …

Sovereign God, ruler of all hearts, you call us to obey you, and you favor us with true freedom. Keep us faithful to the ways of your Son, that, leaving behind all that hinders us, we may steadfastly follow your paths, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.


When the days drew near for [Jesus] to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem … Luke 9:51-62


“A giant once lived in that body. But Matt Brady got lost. Because he was looking for God … too high up and too far away.” That’s my favoritest line from the play Inherit the Wind. A dramatization of the Scope’s “Monkey” Trial, a hundred years ago. Act, scene, and line aren’t important, at the moment. It’s the words themselves that matter. Especially those last seven. TOO HIGH UP AND TOO FAR AWAY. More often than not, that’s where we look for, how we imagine, god. And that seems what Luke’s doing, this morning. Looking for a god above us, beyond.

Of the four gospels, Luke’s the only evangelist who talks about Jesus being “taken up.” In his gospel, it’s used only here. But in the first chapter of his follow-up volume – the Acts of the Apostles – Luke uses it three more times. When he talks about the Ascension. When Jesus is “taken up” into heaven. It’s looking for Jesus … too high up. Looking for Jesus … too far away. But as we look up, as we look away, we, too, get lost. What matters for the church … what’s important … isn’t Jesus taken up into heaven … or even Jesus taken up from the grave … It’s Jesus taken up on the cross! Lifted up for all to see! We see god in the suffering and the dying and the descending! And truth is, we discover who we are in the same place! In the suffering! And the dying! And the descending!

Midland Lutheran Church