Friday, March 5th Luke 13:1-5

At that very time there were some present who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. He asked them, “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were worse sinners than all other Galileans? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as they did. Or those eighteen who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them—do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others living in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did.” Luke 13:1-5

We spent last week listening to Luke 13. Many of us will hear these words again in worship on Sunday. I’m using them again today as the subterranean rumbles continue to strike fear into the hearts of the peoples in Chile and Haiti. But today I hear something new in these verses.

I don’t understand geology and any of the fine points of the seismic shifts in the earth’s tectonic plates. I don’t remember the first time someone pointed out how neatly the shape of the coast of Africa matches up with the coast of South America and explained how the crust of the earth floated on the center of molten rock. But now I’m remembering those lessons anew and I’m seeing two realities.

First, nothing in the universe is sitting still. Everything is moving, hurtling, at the speed of light. Everything is shifting, all the time, and sometimes people get hurt in all of that movement. Not only that but the Carl Sagan types argue that the universe is racing “outwards”, racing “away”, expanding. The force of gravity, which we think would be drawing things together, in the infinite web of relationships that is life, seems to be acting quite unnaturally as it contributes to this never-ending expansion. Everything rushing apart. A fast train to nowhere.

Einstein told us that the universe is curved in upon itself. That all of this rushing is more like swirling and that ultimately everything crashes back into itself. Everything rushing away to an appointment to self-destruction.

But then, like a still small voice, our faith reminds us: “This is like the days of Noah to me: Just as I swore that the waters of Noah would never again go over the earth, so I have sworn that I will not be angry with you and will not rebuke you. For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed, says the LORD, who has compassion on you.” (Isaiah 54:9-10)

God is our Rock who shall not be moved, and God’s promises will endure forever.

And then second, I would put both “our” and “Rock” in bold print. For the other message in the text from Luke – implicit in the word “our” – is that we are all connected to one another. Across space and time, across the vastness of the universe and the many miles between here and there, over against the forces that seem to divide us, we are all connected.

Jesus told his listeners that the martyred Galileans and the tragic victims of the falling tower were all in the same boat as them. We are all connected. Borders are illusions, flights of fantasy. We are our brother’s keeper.

As Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “But God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior member, that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it.”

So we pray for those suffering hard times – disasters, war, disease, unemployment, hunger, oppression, hate – and we do what we can to help.

Let us pray: Dear Lord, as we move now into our time of rest, keep us mindful of those who are suffering today. Help us see the golden cord of your love which binds us together. Be our Rock of comfort and our Beacon of hope. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

3 Responses to “Friday, March 5th Luke 13:1-5”

  1. Jerry Sawick Says:

    Hi Marthe- I really doubt the big bang theory and that our universe is expanding. From the Hubble telescope we are able to see galaxies as they were billions of years ago. I think that the age of the universe has been set at around 13 billion years. I don’t know how long it takes for a galaxy to form,
    billions of years perhaps, and that the spacing between them is too large for them to have formed all at once.
    It is like our naive notion that the universe was created in our little neighbor-hood of space which is infinite in all directions. We built observatories in the northern hemisphere not considering that something viewed from the southern hemishere could be important. I am reminded of the arrogance of the european
    countries in their thinking that they had a lock on being evolutionarily superior
    over less militarily armed people. In their conquests they destroyed ancient
    civilizations like the Inca and Maya not realizing that these people were much more advanced in understanding the meaning of the passage of time and the construction of vast city kingdoms we are only now beginning to discover. The
    people of what is now Thailand and Miyanmar built beautiful cities and temples
    at the same time that the Europeans were struggling in the dark ages with wars of conquest and petty rivalries.
    If space is infinite in all directions, then there are more habitable planets like earth than we can imagine and with time being eternal, both in the past and future, I think that there are people in various stages of evolution, some be-
    hind our own, some more advanced.
    God, in His wisdom, has created us in isolation as far as our developement is concerned. We now have the ability to destroy our planet many times over and must be kept away from others until we either destroy ourselves or stop
    using the threat of war as a diplomatic tool.
    I believe that we have been visited by extra-terestrals and they are waiting for us to realize the danger we pose to others. They only have to pick-up our radio and tv signals to get an idea of how much of a danger we are to them if we advance technologically to the point that we can travel to their nieghbor-
    How pitiful we are in our egos.

  2. Weiss - Devin Says:

    Barack Obama’s book, “The Audacity of Hope,” features a appealing title. It has an idea of bravery mixed with confidence. You’ll find nothing Pollyanna regarding this. I may well not support every part he tells, but he’s our president, and then for me, he inspires belief. That may do more for a nation than any number of backroom deals. Hope gives us energy, and energy sustains us through trying times. Boy, we’ve had them. I’m from West Texas, and I did not vote for Bush. When McCain ran against Obama, I used to be a citizen of Arizona, but I gave audacious hope a chance. The fight for progress and laying the foundations of prosperity is not over. I’ve seen the quips of those who don’t think Obama can make it. But step back a second. Would anyone have all of us fail just to tarnish the star of an incumbent for whom they didn’t vote? Attempting to keep our priorities straight, let’s work together with this president and build our future.

  3. Mexican Beetles Says:

    Well, we can hope. It might not happen, but that would be a great choice for president.

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