The 3rd International Conference of the Order of Saint Luke ended yesterday, but I still want to record my thoughts on the second half. As time goes by, memory becomes dim, but here goes.
I only attended bible study on the first day. It was good, even though it was a little slow. Rev. Canon Roy Lawrence presented some very points, and some great stories, and better still, he summarized it all in his notes. So on the second day, I picked up the notes, and went to work on my own bible study. The third day, I went for a while, but got bored, So again, I did my own prayer and study. Here is what I kept from his talks and notes and my study.
The Bible as a Whole: a Single Literary Work
The bible is a single literary work, even though it is written in different languages, over many centuries, and then handled down through editors and redactors. Bill Creasey1 says this almost once a lesson, and Canon Lawrence emphasized it with a slightly different spin. Canon Lawrence described the Bible with an introduction and conclusion, and five major sections, healing being a major theme. The introduction or “prolog” to the Bible is Gen chapters 1-11. The conclusion or “epilog” is Revelations chapters 4-22. The history of God’s people is found in Gen 12 through Esther. There are five books of special topics: Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs. Then there are the prohets, both minor and major: Isaiah through Malachi. The story of Jesus is told in the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) and in Acts. Letters to the church are the last section: Romans through Revelations 3.
In this study we focused on the subject of healing. God as our creater is also our healer. Every time we sin, that is we try to be God, God acts to heal us. The history of God’s people, Israel, is of Israel falling into sin, and God acting each time to save.2 The final act of healing is perfected in the gift and sacrifice of his Son Jesus, as described in the gospels, and foretold by the prophets.3 Jesus came is Israel preaching and healing.4 Notice it is always preaching and healing, not just preaching. Also Jesus always goes right to the heart of the matter, and heals the real hurt, not just the physical symptoms.5 His healing includes caring for his followers, when they have no food, when they need money for taxes, or when they do something stupid like cutting off the ear of the temple guard.6
A Worm’s Eye View
After looking at the Bible from a bird’s eye view, we looked at the Bible from the “worm’s eye view”. That is, we discussed, concentrating on and meditating on, a small bible passage: sometimes as long as a chapter, sometimes just a few verses. Take a few verses, read them. Pray over them. Wait in the silence for God to speak. Take some time with the verses, at least 10-15 minutes. Then do it again the next day. Same verses. Then the next, for about a week. The first couple of days, you may not hear anything, but by the end of the week perhaps God will fill these verses with new meaning.
Healing in the Book of Luke
The second day of bible study with Canon Lawrence, we focused on the healing ministry of Jesus, as described in the book of Luke, most especially Luke 8-10. I have just studied Luke with Bill Creasey. And then I did Luke again with Katie as part of confirmation preparation. So I skipped the class. But I am sure they talked about healing, and driving out demons, and praying and resting in between. The Order of Saint Luke studies the book of Luke in detail as part of preparation for induction. I am not a member of OSL, but I support Pam in her ministry.
The Last Words of Jesus
The last day, we focused on the seven last sayings of Jesus on the cross.7 The first three focused on others, those around him. In the first, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing,” Jesus absolves those who killed him. In the second, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise,” Jesus gives the robber love and hope. In the third, Jesus “said to his mother, ‘Dear woman, here is your son,’ and to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother,'” and thus he provides for his mother.
The central fourth statement, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me!” certainly references the psalm, but more importantly expresses Jesus’ feeling of abandonment as the Father is separated from the Son for perhaps the only time in eternity. Jesus must bear the burden of sin alone since an infinitely holy God is antithetical to sin.8
The last three statements focus on concluding the sacrifice. After “I am thirsty”, Jesus drinks vinegar, and thus he concludes the passover ritual with the 4th drink of wine. “It is finished” speaks of his work on earth, and “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit,” speaks of where his is going.
- I am a student of, and Pam is a graduate of, Logos Ministries, The Bible Plain and Simple. The seven year course taught by Dr. Bill Creasy takes the student verse by verse through the entire bible.
- Examples include God’s pardon of the people when they made a golden calf (Ex 32:14), God’s gift of water even when the people grumbled against him (Ex 17:3-7), God’s gift of meat when the grumbled and the curse of the same (Num 11:18). Later examples include the defeat and then victory against Ai when Israel sinned, but then repented (Josh 7-8), and David’s sin against the LORD, his repentance, punishment, and forgiveness (2Sam 12)
- See Heb 5:8-10
- See Matthew 4:23 and Luke 6:19
- When Jesus forgives the paralytic (Matt 9:2-6) instead of just healing him. When Jesus heals the blind beggar instead of just giving him money (Luke 18:35).
- See Luke 22:50 and John 18:10
- The seven last sayings of Jesus
- Even a priest must be purified to approach an infinitely holy god, and the common people could not approach at all. See Ex 19:22, Ex 28:43, and especially Lev 9:22-23. If someone unpure or unclean approaches the LORD, they will die. See Lev 10:1-3. God is antithetical to sin.