On my drive to seminary from Texas to Minnesota, I passed through Kansas where my brother lived. Prior to my trip I contemplated spending a few days with his family—perhaps even resting up and enjoying time with my nephew. But I was so intent on getting to the next part of my faith journey, I wanted to arrive in Minnesota as soon as I could. When I called to tell my brother that I would be passing by his house but not staying, he was less than happy with me—and I heard about it.
Unlike Jesus in the first part of today's reading, I altered my plans to spend time with those near and dear to me—a gift for both of us. It makes me curious why Jesus—who knows very well the contentions between the Samaritans and the Jews—couldn't spare a little bit of time to receive their hospitality and share in fellowship with them. Perhaps the Samaritans had heard of Jesus' feeding of five thousand, his twice predicting his death, his transfiguration on the mountain, and his healing of a demon-possessed boy. Their heartfelt desire for Jesus to be in their midst was genuine. But it is clear that Jesus is on a journey.
When the Samaritans revoked their hospitality to Jesus and the disciples, anger and judgment was at the ready; but Jesus redirected his followers to keep on going and stay where there was openness to his journey to the cross.
Pondering Jesus' resolute nature of staying on-course, we might ask ourselves, "To where or what situation has God called me and how have I been distracted or determined to fulfill this purpose?"
Gracious Lord, continue to guide me on this journey of life and faith. Keep my heart attuned to your purposes and strengthen me to live them today and always. Amen.
Luke 9:51-62 (NRSV)
51 When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.
52 And he sent messengers ahead of him. On their way they entered a village of the Samaritans to make ready for him;
53 but they did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem.
54 When his disciples James and John saw it, they said, "Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?"
55 But he turned and rebuked them.
56 Then they went on to another village.
57 As they were going along the road, someone said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go."
58 And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head."
59 To another he said, "Follow me." But he said, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father."
60 But Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God."
61 Another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home."
62 Jesus said to him, "No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God."