Monday, May 25, 2015

From The Edges To The Center

Raphael's painting of Luke's narrative (Sandy saw this at Victoria and Albert Museum in London)

One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him. ~ Luke 5:1-11
From Scripture, we know that Luke was its only Gentile writer, a missionary companion of the apostle Paul, and a doctor. Church tradition hints that Luke's contemporaries knew Luke as an artist, also. If you look at the way he wrote, he was at the least an artist with words. His writing is beautiful, lively, and colorful. His detail suggests the eye of an artist. 

Many of us, when we drive an automobile or hike through the wilderness, use focal points or landmarks for navigation, a sort of picture map in our minds. You know what I mean: turn left at McDonald's or turn right when you come to the ledges. We pull up photos of experiences and they become muses that help us recall an adventure. If Luke were an artist, then the pictures in his memories could later serve as metaphorical prompts, major points for his descriptive stories. Luke would tell the story of the life of Christ in words but also in word-pictures. Christ transcended vocabulary. Powerfully crafted images helped. Indeed, “A picture paints a thousand words.”

At Hamilton Baptist Church, I have started a series of messages from the Gospel of Luke. Luke's story of the calling of the disciples follows Jesus' announcement as the fulfillment of Isaiah's promise of the coming Anointed One. Talking through Luke's images, I saw three:

From The Edges To The Center
From The Shallows To The Deep
From The Simple To The Complex

Having fleshed out the palette, on Sunday, May 31, we will begin by seeing what it means for today's Christ-follower to move From The Edges To The Center.

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