The annunciation to Mary in Luke 1

The lectionary gospel reading for the Fourth Sunday in Advent is Luke 1.26–38; though this year’s gospel is Mark, there is (of course) no annunciation in Mark, so we plunder part of Luke’s narrative to fill the gap. I have previously posted on the annunciation in more general terms, noting that the account is rooted … Continue Reading

Jesus wasn’t born in a stable—and that makes all the difference

Alongside putting up the Christmas decorations (usually far too early), finding a Christmas tree, preparing for carol services and planning where to buy your turkey, one of the annual routines at Christmas is my posting the argument that Jesus was not born in a stable. I will continue to pursue this annual tradition, since it … Continue Reading

Celebrating the Transfiguration of Jesus

The Transfiguration is included as a Feast Day (liturgical colour: white) on August 6th in the Revised Common Lectionary, presumably as an ecumenical nod to the traditions of the Eastern churches. But it is already included on the last Sunday in Epiphany as well! Since we are reading Matthew this year, we have already read … Continue Reading

Preaching Christmas—without a Stable

Reading the nativity account in Luke 2 carefully highlights the way that the tradition of the stable is nowhere present. That’s all very well for scholars, people say, but how does that work in the practice of preaching? The answer is: rather well! This is what I said last time I preached on what Luke … Continue Reading

Does Jesus treat us as good-for-nothing slaves?

This Sunday’s lectionary reading from Luke offers some serious challenges to our understanding and practice. The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you. “Suppose … Continue Reading

The costly grace of Jesus in Luke 14

In the gospel reading for Trinity 12 in Year C, we complete our navigation through this section of Jesus’ intermingled teaching and action until we hit the landfall of the ‘parables of the lost’ next week in Luke 15. The double focus on the crowds and discipleship, the drawing together of teaching found in different … Continue Reading

The Politics of the Table in Luke 14

The lectionary gospel reading for Trinity  11 in Year C, Luke 14.1, 7–14, continues to engage with material that is unique to Luke, arranged in Luke’s distinctive order, and bridging the worlds of the original context of Jesus and Judaism and Luke’s context in wider Roman culture. The passage comes in a sequence of episodes … Continue Reading

Does Jesus bring peace or ‘division and a sword’?

The Sunday lectionary reading (Trinity 9, Year C) continues on its journey through Luke’s ‘special section’ of Jesus’ ministry and teaching on road to Jerusalem from Luke 9.51 to Luke 18.14. In this short (and again, inexplicably truncated) reading from Luke 12.49–56 (you might choose to read on to verse 59 to complete this section) … Continue Reading

Has wealth become our rival god?

The lectionary reading for the Seventh Sunday after Trinity in Year C is the Parable of the Rich Fool in Luke 12.13-21. It is one of several parables that is unique to Luke, and includes features that connect it with other Lukan parables. Since last week’s reading of Jesus’ teaching about prayer, things have moved … Continue Reading