The Gospel Study began the study of the Gospel of Luke in the second half of 2022. After considering the stories surrounding the birth of John the Baptist and of Jesus in Bethlehem, we embarked on the study of the main purpose that Luke tells of in his introduction, to provide a very specific understanding based on the path that he has trodden. Luke unfolds a new eight-fold path that he could clearly see when he placed the events of the life of Jesus in a specific order.
Luke provides the eight-fold path in a particular structure. He first records the deeds and words of Jesus that expound the path and then confirms the path at a meal.
The first path is Right Understanding. Jesus establishes the Right Understanding at a meal at the house of Matthew, who is one of his disciples. Christianity is based on the idea of a relationship to Christ. The church is built on those who were willing to be sent. In The Christian Community we experience this in the Sacrament of Confirmation where the child is sent into youth. This is a foundation that confirms a relationship to the self. At the first meal we understand that everyone suffers under the burden of sin. The Right Understanding is that Christ heals and makes whole. Christ has come to bring back unity to that which was fractured and bring integration.
The second path is Right Thinking. The Sermon on the Field provides the understanding. This is confirmed at the meal at the house of Simon where a woman does what she knows to be right in complete contradiction to the actions of everyone else at the meal. She established a new relationship to Jesus. Right Thinking is a power of trust or faith. We too often doubt what we know, and we doubt that things will be right. Right Thinking is faith through Christ.
The third path is Right Speech. This is established with the Parable of the Sower. This parable is unique to Luke. We learn that the power to hear will give understanding. Nothing is secret from those with the ears to hear. The disciples are told that they have access to inspiration through their relationship with the Christ, while the people who hear the parable have only the imagination – the ability to understand through pictures – to understand. This parable is followed by Jesus expelling a legion of demons (a demon is a protector spirit) from a man. The man is able to tell the people what God has done for him. The act of speaking the truth in this story is key. Right Speech is speaking truth, it is a proclamation. The thirst path is confirmed in the feeding of the five thousand. Abundance comes through the blessing spoken over the food. The word is sufficient to sustain. Everyone hears the words spoken by Jesus.
The fourth path is Right Deed or Action. In telling the parable of the good Samaritan, Jesus ends by asking the question as to who was the neighbour to the man beset by thieves. The person with the initial question is able to answer this out of the parable, and Jesus instructs him the go and do the same. This is confirmed in the fourth meals where we learn deeds of love based on the one who teaches how to love, who is Christ. We can act out of our humanity, but there is greater value in relating to the source who makes us human, being able to relate to Christ as the source of our humanity: Christ in me.
We will continue the study of this fourth path when the Gospel Study begins again for 2023 on Thursday 19 January at 17h30. New participants to the Gospel Study are always welcome. Everyone is invited to arrive by 17h15 for a cup of coffee or tea. Sometimes participants bring some biscuits or some other sweet treat to eat with the coffee or tea.
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