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On the Road to Jerusalem







The Readings



Galatians 5:1,13-25


For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another. For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." If, however, you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.




Live by the Spirit, I say, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. For what the flesh desires is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit desires is opposed to the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not subject to the law. Now the works of the flesh are obvious: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, as I warned you before: those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.


By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit.

The Gospel



Luke 9:51-62



When the days drew near for Jesus to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. And he sent messengers ahead of him. On their way they entered a village of the Samaritans to make ready for him; but they did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. 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?" But he turned and rebuked them. Then they went on to another village.



As they were going along the road, someone said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go." 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." To another he said, "Follow me." But he said, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father." But Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God." Another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home." Jesus said to him, "No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God."

The Sermon


In this gospel reading from Luke, Jesus is on his final journey. He is headed to Jerusalem to be crucified. Jesus and his message are rejected by a village of Samaritans. He doesn't seek retribution. He just moves on. He is approached by some other people who want to follow him....just as soon as they take care of some business. Jesus moves on. Jesus is making it clear to these potential followers that they will be expected to make radical changes in their lives. They will have to let go of their attachments to family and all that they have known. Jesus is telling them to be prepared to sacrifice if they are going to follow him.



We are followers of Jesus. So what is expected of us? Isn't it enough to go to Sunday worship and pray that we will be protected from bad things happening to us in our lives. A true follower of Jesus lives the journey. He or she lives and breathes that journey. Paul tells us that people who live in the spirit reject jealousy, impurity, envy and anger. When they live in the spirit they receive the fruits of the spirit: love, joy, and peace.


It all sounds so easy. Reject the bad and receive the fruits of the spirit. Letting go of anger and envy and impurity are not that easy but if we have decided to follow Jesus on our spiritual journey that is what we do. Does that mean we can turn off feelings of anger or envy like we turn off a light switch? Off course not. Each of us is a work in progress. That is the beauty of Christianity because when we slip into our old ways, God, in his love, forgives us and gives us the nudge we need to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and continue on our spiritual journey. AMEN



By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit.

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