Luke 13 (New International Version)
Repent or Perish
1Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. 4Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”
6Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. 7So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’
8” ‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. 9If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’ ”
Zechariah 3:10 (New Living Translation)
“And on that day, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, each of you will invite your neighbor to sit with you peacefully under your own grapevine and fig tree.”
I should listen to this song every morning — it would encourage me to the good life of God and put a smile on my face! Ken Medema sings “Tree Song.” (The music ends at 6:15 and the screen goes black at 8:15.)
A Crippled Woman Healed on the Sabbath
10On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, 11and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. 12When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” 13Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.
Psalm 6:4 (NRSV)
Turn, O Lord, save my life; deliver me for the sake of your steadfast love.
14Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue ruler said to the people, “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.”
15The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? 16Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?”
17When he said this, all his opponents were humiliated, but the people were delighted with all the wonderful things he was doing.
Banish the bent-over spirits:
memory of red guilt or
a long-ago foolish choice:
wrong marriage or
small crimes or
little legal brutalities;
a legion of torment
Sexual abuse, manipulation,
losses of mind, sight,
its grand mirror—
Banish the bent-over spirits:
and good things, too:
obsessions now that
began healthy and
twisted a whole life;
caring for an
ailing, aging parent,
proud-pushing an achieving child;
shopped to sparkling,
jogged-starved to thin;
where faith eats
Banish the bent-over spirits.
My shoulders sink,
and my spine curls
under the weight, while
my eyes turn in until
I cannot recognize
the one who heals.
See me here,
and call me, Christ.
Lay your hands on
the human meaning
In spite of a world
that disciplines healing,
in spite of people
who do not want
say the words
that set me free—
that I may straighten into praise.
from An Improbable Gift of Blessing: Prayers to Nurture the Spirit
by Maren C. Tirabassi and Joan Jordan Grant
Jeremiah 10:6 (English Standard Version)
There is none like you, O LORD;
you are great, and your name is great in might.
The Parables of the Mustard Seed and the Yeast
18Then Jesus asked, “What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? 19It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air perched in its branches.”
20Again he asked, “What shall I compare the kingdom of God to? 21It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough.”
The Narrow Door
22Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. 23Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?”
He said to them, 24“Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.
from 40 Days to Your Best Life: A Spiritual Journey to Contentment for Nurses, by Suzanne Tietjen (Honor Books):
The way to life—to God!—is vigorous and requires your total attention.
–Luke 13:24 (the Message)
In 1999, the Institute of Medicine issued a report titled “To Err Is Human,” saying that one in twenty-five hospital patients is harmed by medical errors. Medical errors are the eighth highest cause of death in the United States, outranking automobile accidents, breast cancer, and HIV/AIDS. My father, an aerospace engineer—and thus a person with a low tolerance for errors—couldn’t get over this.
“How can this happen?” he asked me.
I told him to imagine himself sitting at the dinner table reaching for the salt when Mom asks him a question. A moment later he finds himself shaking pepper rather than salt onto his mashed potatoes. It happens just like that.
Distraction, it turns out, is the root cause of errors about 41 percent of the time. The health-care world is struggling to find ways to avoid interruptions and concentrate on the task at hand.
Distraction gets me in trouble spiritually as well. I battle it daily in my prayer life. I start out talking to God and somehow find myself making a grocery list. Or I plan to read my Bible, but get caught up in a television show.
Worse still, I have an impulse to call a friend or write a letter, but between the demands of work and home, I forget to do it. I find myself reacting to life’s interruptions, rather than following God’s leading. All too human, I can’t maintain my focus on my own.
The apostle Paul talked about having his eye on the goal. More and more—at work, at home, and in my relationships with God and people—I, too, am asking God to help me pay attention.
One thing at a time.
Focus on the goal.
Eyes on the prize.
His life in me.
25Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’
“But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’
26“Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’
27“But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’
28“There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. 29People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. 30Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.”
Jesus’ Sorrow for Jerusalem
31At that time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to him, “Leave this place and go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill you.”
32He replied, “Go tell that fox, ‘I will drive out demons and heal people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.’ 33In any case, I must keep going today and tomorrow and the next day—for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem!
34“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! 35Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'”
New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica
Images courtesy of:
Haiti girl crying. http://i.telegraph.co.uk/telegraph/multimedia/archive/01558/HAITI-GIRL_1558332c.jpg
fig tree. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/ab/Fig_tree.jpg
bent-over woman. http://parisparfait.typepad.com/paris_parfait/images/2007/08/31/beggarwoman.jpg
woman kneading dough. http://www.stfrancisparish.com/Graphics/bread_baking2.jpg
salt and pepper. http://www.made-in-china.com/image/2f0j00RaQEOftBITdFM/Salt-and-Pepper-Bottle.jpg
thank you for the depth of loveliness here…yes, oh the heartquake from haiti, & the beautiful sculpture of our dear friend who also weeps, & the the beauty of straightening into praise.