If you were at The Cricketers last Thursday evening – or really anywhere close by – I’m sure you won’t have had any problems hearing the very enthusiastic Beer and Carols evening led by Will in the packed marquee. While it might not have been entirely a choir of heavenly voices the spirit of the evening (yes both types) certainly brought a big smile to many people’s faces.
I wonder if you have used one of these? A few people I met have used them, but not many. They are pocket mechanical calculators, and seemed to have been in use up until the end of the 1960’s. They’ll do addition, subtraction and basic multiplication without the use of any electronics. Yet we are so used to the rapid technological developments that have replaced office memos with emails and ledgers with spreadsheets, that these calculators appear old before their time.
This weekend we remembered St Luke a man who served the gospel by being both a great carer and a great communicator, but above all he saw bigger changes in thinking about God than we do with all our technological developments. The big difference with Luke was that his changes were in how he thought about God deep inside, we can keep our technological changes more at arm’s length. In an uncertain time, with fundamental changes in teachings of how to think about God, and the persecution that comes with that, Luke was someone who observed and then wholeheartedly gave his life to the Lord for the rest of his life. The challenge then for us, when faced with the same gospel as Luke, is do we embrace the spiritual change as much as we should? Do we let it infuse all of our lives in the way that we love and care for others? Does it become our rock in uncertainty? In some ways all of what Luke did as a doctor or a gospel writer was just caring. From looking after the physical wellbeing of those who were close by or aiding the spiritual understanding of those who would become his readers.
Care and love are distinguishing marks of the Christian. John records it as a new commandment from Jesus: “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13.34-35
To be truly distinct Christians need to accept the change and to love each other. That love comes from God, but we have to share it with our friends, our church and our world. Luke stands out as a disciple through his care; the calling of Christ is for us to do the same.