RCL C Proper 18 Complementary
Deuteronomy 30:15-20, Psalm 1, Philemon 1-21, Saint Luke 14:25-33

After today, after today’s Gospel, your eyes and my eyes should be wide open. We should see clearly that discipleship requires more of us than our other affections and obligations. Being a disciple of Jesus is involved, is on the line, in most every decision we make.

You know already, apart from any revelation or any experience of God, that you cannot be in two places at the same time. Jesus is telling us in the Gospel today that we cannot be his disciple and be, at the same time, fused with another affection or obligation. Another way to put this idea is the way Jesus puts it later in Saint Luke: “No slave can serve two masters.”[1] Your core responsibility is to God, your Maker, and the God who made you keeps open to you the way to fulfill that responsibility first along with all the others.

I have found this priority to be true practically and operationally if I love God. Loving God opens the way to see something of God in every creature and in every relationship. And the more you see God in a creature the more you can love God in that creature. Discipleship, Jesus tells us, puts a priority on loving God that opens the way to loving others.

Discipleship and carrying one’s cross open the way to the appropriate and godly manner to relate to family, possessions, and even suffering and persecution. And that manner may be found in loving God.

For what was true for the ancient Israelites remains true for us as well. You heard it in the First Lesson: “Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and holding fast to him; for that means life to you and length of days.”[2]

And so, putting God first and getting that relationship right are the beginnings to putting all other relationships right. The Lord God, who made everything that is, has made it so.

[1] Saint Luke 16:13. NRSV except as noted.

[2] Deuteronomy 30:19-20.


Posted in memory of Ellie Elgaway.