Pastor Peter’s restaurant in downtown Red Lodge, MT

After three years of operating my restaurant out of a tiny building just off the main street in town, we built a new, larger building in a great location right on the main street.  If you drew a straight line from the front door of the old restaurant to the front door of the new one, it would have been just under 300 feet long.  It was not a long way away.  State laws required that we had to go through a formal process to change the address attached to our liquor license.  Thinking it was a simple process, we made our application on Feb. 1.  It was not a simple process.

It was instead an exasperating process, and I don’t think I have ever felt so helpless.  I could create a thriving business from scratch, grow it to become a valued part of the community, and become one of the largest employers in the county, but I couldn’t convince one state office to move my liquor license 300 feet.  Eventually, I reached out to a family friend that happened to also be a State Senator.  It wasn’t until he began advocating on my behalf and directly with the head of the State Department of Revenue that we made any progress.  We finally received our approval on July 8, just after the busiest holiday week of the summer.

Luke’s story of Jesus will make another shift this week.  After a long passage listing the teachings Jesus shared, both direct and through parable, Jesus continues revealing God’s vision for the world in more tangible ways.  This Sunday we’ll hear two back-to-back stories of healing, one from illness and one from death.  (Read Luke 7:1-17 here.)

As you read and hear these stories, take note of the advocates that are present.  In the first, the Jewish elders appealed on behalf of the Roman Centurion and his sick slave. In the second, the widow whose son has died is able to garner Jesus’ attention because she is supported by a whole crowd of people.

Today, spend some time recalling the times in your life when having someone advocate on your behalf made a real difference.  Next, think of the occasions when you’ve been able to advocate for someone else.  What about today, how might your life be improved if you had someone advocating for you right now?  Similarly, who could use the help of your voice and your support? 

One key component to the world God has created for us is rooted in how we relate to each other through advocacy.  The scale of this world and the problems we face are much too large to go it alone.  God knows this and God understands the power of advocacy.  Luke describes this for us through elders and crowds bringing the concerns of others right to the front.  The other gospel writers describe a similar pattern to the relationships that lead to human thriving.  How would you describe it in your own life?

May peace find you this day, Pastor Peter

Let us pray:
Living God, you confound the world’s wisdom in giving your kingdom to the lowly and the pure in heart. Give us such a hunger and thirst for justice, and perseverance in striving for peace, that in our words and deeds the world may see the life of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Friend. Amen.