In the reading for today, Luke talks about peace. He says “Peace to this house! And
if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but
if not, it will return to you.” It almost makes it sound as if peace is a tangible
object, something you could hold in your hand and offer to someone. For Luke, peace
isn't an idea, it is something very real. How then does this kind of peace draw together
some of the big themes in Luke's Gospel, and indeed, with St. Luke himself?
The first thing people think of when asked about Luke is that he was a doctor. So
how does this peace relate to healing, to wholeness, to restoration within the human
being? I don't know your stories, I don't know what hurts you carry with you from
the past or the present, the scars you may have been left with. I don't know your
doubts, uncertainties or fears about the future. But I do know that Jesus comes to
us offering a tangible peace, a peace that the world cannot give, a peace that is
about forgiveness and about the healing of old wounds. Luke the physician is intimately
concerned with the healing of not just the body but of the whole person. He is also
saying that a person's encounter with Jesus Christ is at the centre of that process.
The second thing we might think of when we consider Luke's Gospel is his concern
for the gap between the rich and the poor. He writes more about this than any of
the other Gospels. His particular focus is on the outsider, the outcast, the people
who didn't fit in. The ministry of Jesus is seen by Luke as one of integration, that
brings the outsiders into the centre of the community, breaks down boundaries and
restores communities to wholeness. This peace, then, is not just about the healing
and wholeness of individuals, it is for the healing of communities where there may
be deep division. Jesus does this sometimes with the skill of a surgeon – he cuts
through the trickery and hypocrisy of the religious leaders of his day and their
obsession with boundaries and pecking orders, so that the people themselves can finally
be healed – be reconciled with one another, despite their differences, and with the
God who loves them all.
So as we celebrate St. Luke's concern for the poor and the outcast, and his desire
to show what real peace looks like in our everyday lives, we have a chance to look
at the tangible peace that is offered to our communities, to our villages and beyond.
We have a chance to ask ourselves, where are the divisions? Who finds it hard to
fit in? How do we welcome the stranger and the outcast, and how can we do more, in
Jesus' name? When we take this gift of peace, we take it not just for our own healing,
but for the wholeness of those around us.
Father of all, we are your family,
and you call us to live together as brothers and sisters.
Help us to overcome the barriers that divide us.
Bless every effort being made to bring peace
and understanding to the world,
so that we may all learn your ways and serve your will.
In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Every blessing to you,
Canon Dave Perkins 17th Oct. 2020
Canon Dave’s Weekly Message
Amidst all the television and newspaper coverage telling us about the different tiers
that have now been introduced by the Government, we thought it was time to get out
of the house and enjoy a gentle walk. What we encountered was stunning. Travelling
north of Ladybower Reservoir and parking at Fairholmes we set off. The first impressive
sight was the Derwent Dam with clear water flowing from top to bottom. This attracted
many sightseers including ourselves who gazed in amazement at this piece of remarkable
engineering. We then walked to Howden Dam by the side of the Reservoir marvelling
at the variety of autumn leaves with so many different colours – the bright sun shining
on them portraying extra beauty. During our walk we commented on how fortunate we
are to be surrounded by God's glorious creation.