Luke is unrelenting in his portrayal of Jesus’ love for the poor and outcast of society, even to the scandal of the religious establishment. Today’s reading in Luke 14 included:
For years, I’ve been inspired by the music of Rich Mullins - a Christian musician who died over 20 years ago. And this past week I watched a recent documentary of his life that I found on Amazon Prime called Rich Mullins - A Ragamuffin’s Legacy. He was a character who embodied these values and was a loving, heartbroken prophet to the church. When he became successful in the world of contemporary Christian music, he handed the purse-strings to a manager and instructed him to give him a salary commensurate with an average American. And he was known to be much more comfortable around those who didn’t fit in to an upstanding church. But everyone - church-goers and outcasts alike - knew how much he loved Jesus.
Luke quickly follows this passage with words of “carry your own cross,” “Count the cost,” and “giving up everything”. I believe our culture is making it less ‘easy’ to be a follower of Jesus - but I also don’t think it was ever meant to be easy. But the rewards are more than we could ask or imagine - the loving and eternal presence of a glorious God. Rich Mullins called it, “The reckless, raging fury that we call the love of God.” God’s rewards are the best.