Saturday, October 18, 2008

Saint Luke the Evangelist

Today, October 18, is the feast day of Saint Luke, Evangelist. Yesterday we celebrated St. Luke's Day in our Friday healing service at Alpine Anglican's Victoria Chapel. We read the special Scriptures set aside for this day; the Epistle was 2 Timothy 4, starting at verse 5, and the Gospel reading was the tenth chapter of St. Luke, starting at the first verse. We also prayed the special Collect (collective prayer) for this day:

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.

After we affirmed our faith with the Nicene Creed, Father Acker gave a mini-sermon, aimed mostly at Benjamin's level, about Saint Luke and his value as the writer of both a Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles where we first meet him in the Scriptures. And in Acts we can see how Luke was a valuable companion to Saint Paul in Paul's evangelistic journeys. Then we celebrated Communion, with Benjamin doing acolyte duties:

We can read more about St. Luke in the Saint of the Day articles from

Luke wrote one of the major portions of the New Testament, a two-volume work comprising the third Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles. In the two books he shows the parallel between the life of Christ and that of the Church. He is the only Gentile Christian among the Gospel writers. Tradition holds him to be a native of Antioch, and Paul calls him "our beloved physician" (Colossians 4:14). His Gospel was probably written between A.D. 70 and 85.

Luke appears in Acts during Paul’s second journey, remains at Philippi for several years until Paul returns from his third journey, accompanies Paul to Jerusalem and remains near him when he is imprisoned in Caesarea. During these two years, Luke had time to seek information and interview persons who had known Jesus. He accompanied Paul on the dangerous journey to Rome where he was a faithful companion. "Only Luke is with me," Paul writes (2 Timothy 4:11).

Luke wrote as a Gentile for Gentile Christians. This Gospel reveals Luke's expertise in classic Greek style as well as his knowledge of Jewish sources.

The character of Luke may best be seen by the emphases of his Gospel, which has been given a number of subtitles: (1) The Gospel of Mercy: Luke emphasizes Jesus' compassion and patience with the sinners and the suffering. He has a broadminded openness to all, showing concern for Samaritans, lepers, publicans, soldiers, public sinners, unlettered shepherds, the poor. Luke alone records the stories of the sinful woman, the lost sheep and coin, the prodigal son, the good thief. (2) The Gospel of Universal Salvation: Jesus died for all. He is the son of Adam, not just of David, and Gentiles are his friends too. (3) The Gospel of the Poor: "Little people" are prominent—Zechariah and Elizabeth, Mary and Joseph, shepherds, Simeon and the elderly widow, Anna. He is also concerned with what we now call "evangelical poverty." (4) The Gospel of Absolute Renunciation: He stresses the need for total dedication to Christ. (5) The Gospel of Prayer and the Holy Spirit: He shows Jesus at prayer before every important step of his ministry. The Spirit is bringing the Church to its final perfection. (6) The Gospel of Joy: Luke succeeds in portraying the joy of salvation that permeated the primitive Church.

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