From Parish Pump, Canon Paul Hardingham considers the signs of God’s kingdom. St Luke - the doctor who brought good news This month we remember St Luke (18th October), the author of the third gospel and the Book of Acts. Throughout his writing Luke makes clear that the good news of salvation is available to all people regardless of their gender, social position, or nationality. It is believed that Luke was a doctor, and he certainly sees the importance of healing in the ministry of Jesus and the Church. The signs of the presence of God’s kingdom include the healing of sickness, hurts, as well as unforgiveness. This is evident when Jesus sends out the 72 disciples in Luke 10, a reading for St Luke’s Day: ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field… When you enter a town and are welcomed eat what is set before you. Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God is near you.’’ (Luke 10:2,8). What challenges do we find in these verses? Firstly Luke, as a Gentile (a non-Jew) recognises the revolutionary way outsiders are welcomed into the faith community, e.g. Zacchaeus (Luke 19) and Cornelius (Acts 10). How can we engage with those who are outside the community of faith? We have to avoid the tendency to regard ourselves as insiders! As we reach out to those who are ready to welcome the gospel, we have an opportunity to share good news and healing in the name of Jesus. Secondly, as an Evangelist, Luke wants us to share the love of Jesus with all those we encounter. However, as these verses indicate, this has got to be rooted in prayer, if we are going to be led by God in our response to others. ‘Mission is seeing what God is doing and joining in’ (Rowan Williams). 5

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