I love Dianne's blog The Kennedy Adventures, but I think it's wonderful that she invites everyone for Saints and Scriptures Sunday. Post your favorite scripture or talk about your favorite saint, or both. Today I am posting an introduction to Luke that is in one of my favorite contemporary language Bibles. I love the Book of Luke and found this a great help in understanding him.
Most of us, most of the time, feel left out - misfits. We don't belong. Others seem to be so confident, so sure of themselves, "insiders" who know the ropes, old hands in a club from which we are excluded.
One of the ways we have of responding to this is to form our own club, or join one that will have us. Here is a least one place we are "in", and the others "out". The clubs range from informal to formal in gatherings that are variously political, social, cultural, and economic. But one thing they have in common is the principle of exclusion. Identity or worth is achieved by all but the chosen. The terrible price we pay for keeping all those other people out so that we can savor the sweetness of being insiders is a reduction of reality, a shrinkage of life.
Nowhere is this price more terrible than when it is paid in the cause of religion. But religion has a long history of doing just that, of reducing the huge mysteries of God to the respectability of club rules, of shrinking the vast human community to a "membership". But with God there are not outsiders.
Luke is a most vigorous champion of the outsider. An outsider himself, the only Gentile in an all-Jewish cast of New Testament writer, he shows how Jesus includes those who typically were treated as outsiders by the establishment of the day: women, common laborers, the racially different (Samaritans), the poor. He will not countenance religion as a club. As Luke tells the story, all of us who have found ourselves on the outside looking in on life with no hope of gaining entrance (and who of us hasn't felt it?) now find the doors wide open, found and welcomed by God in Jesus.
Remember to always make everyone feel like and "insider" in our churches and communities.