Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The altar call of written words

Simone Martini (Italian (Sienese), about 1284 - 1344)
St. Luke, 1330s, Tempera and gold leaf on panel
Panel: 67.5 x 48.3 x 3.8 cm (26 9/16 x 19 x 1 1/2 in.)
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles 

(Image used with permission of the Getty Open Content Program)


TO CHEW ON: “… it seemed good to me, also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus.” Luke 1:3

Today the church celebrates the Feast of St. Luke. Our short reading of the four-verse introduction to the Gospel of Luke communicates a surprising amount about this Bible-time physician and gospel author.

1. He hung out with and heard the stories of eyewitnesses of the life of Jesus (“… those things which have been fulfilled among us…”) - Luke 1:1,2.

2. He felt that he understood what had happened - Luke 1:3.

3. His goal was to write an “orderly account” - Luke 1:3.

4. He cared for the spiritual well-being of Theophilus to the extent he was willing to write a book for him (a lot harder in his day than simply hauling out a laptop and banging away).

5. He had confidence in the written word—the story—to help birth and nurture faith in his reader - Luke 1:4.

It’s that last that resonates with me. I have probably come to more spiritual forks in the road, wept more tears, made more decisions as the result of something I’ve read than I have as the result of any altar call. Books have been my altar call!

And so as someone who loves to read (and write) these early verses of Luke are a reminder of one of the ways God brings people to Himself, and an affirmation of writing as a tool of the soul-winner. If you’re a writer, don’t underplay the importance of your calling!

PRAYER: Dear Father, thank You for inspiring Luke to write the stories of Jesus for his friend. Help me—help all kingdom writers—to stay true to our calling and put down words with faith that You will use them in some way. Amen.
MORE: Feast of St. Luke
Today the church celebrates the Feast of St. Luke the Evangelist. The liturgy of the day begins with this prayer:

"Almighty God, who inspired your servant Luke the physician to set forth in the Gospel the love and healing power of your Son: Graciously continue in your Church this love and power to heal, to the praise and glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen."

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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