Reflections: October 4, 2020
The 17th Sunday after Trinity
by Gaven Mize
"But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, 'Friend, move up higher.'" (Luke 14:10)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" ask the disciples in Matthew 17. Christ answers that they will not even enter the kingdom of heaven unless they become like little children. Furthermore, Christ points out that disciples cannot become like little children unless they humble themselves and welcome the little children in Jesus' Name.
In Luke 14 we find Jesus being put to the test by the Pharisees' ruler as they were eating together on the Sabbath. Christ heals a man who has dropsy, which doesn't please the Pharisees because it is unlawful to work, or heal, in this case, on the Sabbath. Christ responds by asking who among them wouldn't save their brother or oxen if they had fallen on the Sabbath. None of them has an answer and then there is a shift in the tone of the text.
This seemingly abrupt change comes when Christ tells them the parable of the wedding feast, with its conclusion: Do not place yourself in the place of honor lest someone more important than you shows up, and you get demoted and shamed in front of everyone. It is better that to take the lowest seat and be asked to move up and your honor be shown before the feast. Christ warns them (and us) that it is not our place to exalt ourselves but to humble ourselves before men. "For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."
I have trouble finding my way around this text in any way other than straight through the waters of Holy Baptism. We are born with our Old Adam firmly intact and rooted in our hearts. We are infantile infants. We are helpless and yet active sinners. We are the lowest we can be. That is, until a good Lord comes by and washes us clean of sickness, be it dropsy or death itself, and renews us with a right spirit. We are reborn, and the new Adam emerges in us. We are exalted. We have been exalted. Christ has done the exultation for us and to us and through us. Brother, son, Christian, move up and take the place of honor. Your sins are forgiven. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
-Rev. Gaven Mize is the pastor of Augustana Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hickory, NC.
Reflections: January 1, 2021This Just In: The Ultimate ResolutionReflections: January 2, 2021Reflections: January 3, 2021Reflections: January 4, 2021Video Short: January 5, 2021Video Short: January 4, 2021Reflections: January 5, 2021Reflections: January 6, 2021Video Short: January 6, 2021Under the Cross: Don't Look at the ListReflections: January 7, 2021Video Short: January 7, 2021Video Short: January 8, 2021Reflections: January 8, 2021Dean's List: The Catechism Really Is for YouReflections: January 9, 2021Reflections: January 10, 2021Reflections: January 11, 2021Video Short: January 11, 2021Helpful Things: Fundraising Essentials FOR YOUReflections: January 13, 2021Video Short: January 12, 2021Reflections: January 12, 2021Video Short: January 13, 2021Reflections: January 14, 2021Video Short: January 14, 2021Under the Cross: You Don't Belong to This WorldReflections: January 15, 2021Video Short: January 15, 2021Reflections: January 16, 2021Reflections: January 17, 2021Reflections: January 18, 2021Video Short: January 18, 2021This Just In: Martin Luther King, Jr.--The Man Who Had a DreamReflections: January 19, 2021Video Short: January 19, 2021Dead Christians You Should Know About: Saint SebastianReflections: January 20, 2021Video Short: January 20, 2021Video Short: January 21, 2021Reflections: January 21, 2021Reflections: January 22, 2021Reflections: January 23, 2021Video Short: January 22, 2021Dean's List: Jesus Hits the Spot!Reflections: January 24, 2021Reflections: January 25, 2021Reflections: January 26, 2021Video Short: The Conversion of St. PaulHelpful Things: Effective Fundraising Through Midweek MealsVideo Short: Suffering Doesn't Mean God Doesn't Love YouReflections: January 27, 2021Video Short: Woke Wednesday: Karma, Karma, KarmaVideo Short: Abortion and the Church's WorkReflections: January 28, 2021Reflections: January 29, 2021Video Short: What Goes On In Your Pastor's Mind About Closed CommunionFoundations: You Need Your Pastor More Than EverReflections: January 30, 2021Reflections: January 31, 2021
Reflections: February 1, 2021Video Short: Stretching Out To RepentVideo Short: Parable of Those Gifted in the VineyardReflections: February 2, 2021Dead Christians You Should Know About: Saint Blaise of SebasteSpeaking of Faith: The Liturgy Is Tried and True EvangelismReflections: February 3, 2021Video Short: Woke Wednesday De-platformingReflections: February 4, 2021Video Short: Hearing Law and GospelVideo Short: The Anti-Catholic ParadoxDean's List: Called to ServeReflections: February 5, 2021Reflections: February 6, 2021Reflections: February 7, 2021Reflections: February 8, 2021Video Short: Ears on the Sower... And the SeedReflections: February 9, 2021Helpful Things: Sex, Sexuality, and BaptismVideo Short: The Simple Definition of Faith That Will Rescue You From Your DoubtsReflections: February 10, 2021Video Short: Woke Wednesday: Wokeism and ChristianityVideo Short: What Your Pastor Thinks When Preaching the LawReflections: February 11, 2021Reflections: February 12, 2021Video Short: Valentines and LoveUnder the Cross: Valentine's Day StinksReflections: February 13, 2021Reflections: February 14, 2021Reflections: February 15, 2021Video Short: Lent is Almost HereVideo Short: Lent For Evangelical ChristiansReflections: February 16, 2021Welcome to Lent - Supplement to the ReflectionsVideo Short: How to Fast in LentReflections: February 17, 2021Reflections: February 18, 2021Video Short: Lutherans Aren't the Cult of LutherReflections: February 19, 2021