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Focus on the Feasts: October 2018

St. Luke writing his Gospel

Focus on the Feasts is a monthly series about about fixed Holy Days on the Church calendar in the Anglican tradition.

The Church Calendar helps disciples remember and imitate the pattern of Jesus's life. The general cycle of seasons is introduced in the article, "What Time is It?--An Overview of the Church Calendar and Liturgical Year."

In my first post in this series, I framed an introduction to the church calendar with this idea: God is making a family, that is the purpose of history.

Of all of the Evangelists, St. Luke, who we celebrate in October, shows this family-making work of God in its intimate splendor by narrating the Annunciation to Mary, the Visitation, the Holy Nativity, the Presentation, and the Finding of the Boy Jesus in the Temple. All of this is given in the first two chapters of the Gospel according to St. Luke.

St. Luke is the only Gentile (i.e. non-Jewish) writer in the New Testament. So his inclusion in the family of God shows that God's family is a family of faith, a family not limited by biological descent and ethnic identity, a family open to everyone who trust the Father and the Son.

As disciples of Jesus, our identity is given as a grace and received through faith by the gift of Holy Spirit. This is the great discovery of the early Church chronicled by St. Luke in the book of Acts. It is also a deep and radical teaching of St. Luke's traveling companion, friend, and teacher, St. Paul.

"For you are not a true Jew just because you were born of Jewish parents or because you have gone through the ceremony of circumcision. No, a true Jew is one whose heart is right with God. And true circumcision is not merely obeying the letter of the law; rather, it is a change of heart produced by the Spirit. And a person with a changed heart seeks praise from God, not from people." (Romans 2:28-29).

"For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God through faith. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female—for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to the promise" (Galatians 3:26-29).

In his two-volume historical, theological, missional masterpiece Luke-Acts, St. Luke chronicles the intimate origins of the household of our Lord and Jesus's ministry, passion, and resurrection. Luke also writes about the world-shaking and soul-healing mission of our Lord through the Holy Spirit in the lives of the Apostles, Evangelists, Prophets, and disciples of the early Church. St. Luke's Feast Day is October 18.

The Collect in the ACNA 2019 Book of Common Prayer is a return, in substance, to the collect in the 1662 BCP. Both versions are here (also the versions from 1928 and 1979).

Saint Luke [October 18]

Almighty God, you called your servant Luke to be an evangelist and physician of the soul: Grant that, by the wholesome medicine of the doctrine he taught, all the diseases of our souls may be healed; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. (2019 BCP)

ALMIGHTY God, who calledst Luke the Physician, whose praise is in the Gospel, to be an Evangelist, and Physician of the soul: May it please thee that, by the wholesome medicines of the doctrine delivered by him, all the diseases of our souls may be healed; through the merits of thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (1662 BCP)

ALMIGHTY God, who didst inspire thy servant Saint Luke the Physician, to set forth in the Gospel the love and healing power of thy Son; Manifest in thy Church the like power and love, to the healing of our bodies and our souls; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (1928 BCP)

Almighty God, who inspired your servant Luke the physician to set forth in the Gospel the love and healing power of your Son: Graciously continue in your Church this love and power to heal, to the praise and glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. (1979 BCP)

Our other October Feasts are St. James of Jerusalem and St. Simon and S. Jude, Apostles.

St. James of Jerusalem, also called St. James the Just, is the brother of our Lord Jesus and the author of the New Testament book of James. He also led the early church in Jerusalem and presided over the council recorded in Acts 15.

St. James of Jerusalem [October 23]

Grant, O God, that, following the example of your apostle James the Just, kinsman of our Lord, your Church may give itself continually to prayer and to the reconciliation of all who are at variance and enmity; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

"Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. Let no one say when he is tempted, 'I am being tempted by God,' for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

"Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures."

-James 1:12-18

St. Simon and St. Jude [October 28]

Grant, O God, that as your apostles Simon and Jude were faithful and zealous in their mission, so we may with ardent devotion make known the love and mercy of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Simon the Zealot and Jude (or, Judas not Iscariot also called Thaddaeus) are apostles who shared a mission and share a Feast Day.

"Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, 'Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?' Jesus answered him, 'If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father's who sent me.'"

-John 14:22-24


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