I own a dog, but that doesn’t qualify has being a herdsman. And I nearly fell out of the last tree I was attempting to trim, and I standing on the ground at the time, so being a dresser of sycamore trees is absolutely out of the question. As to writing in the style of another in an effort to continue the proclamation of the Gospel, well, I’m not exactly sure what my style is, and my tendency to free flow, would make epistle writing a risky venture. Therefore, I am off the hook, no drastic prophecies to pronounce to the rival kingdom, and no epistolary expectations.
However, I do live in a community with nefarious divisions. There are ‘false’ teachers proclaiming alternative ways to true living, mostly to do with “I” this or “I” that, and what values each individuals chooses as it fits the moment. And, there are folks who are in a ditch, by accident, by consequences of their own unfortunate choices, and as the results of falling among robbers. Therefore I am drawn by the parabolic answer to the lawyer’s question “Who is my neighbor?” not only to preach and teach, but also to reach to and off assistance.
I am also taunted by the lawyer’s answer to Jesus’ question “Who was the neighbor?” i.e. “The one who showed him mercy.” Which turns the table, turn the relationship around. As the parable begins it is a (presumably) one from the proper class who falls among robbers. The answer to Jesus’ last question is paraphrased “One of the not so proper class is neighbor.” I.E. proper folk need to be aware of from whom and when they receive the ministrations of the not so proper folks. And as we weave together today’s reading from Luke, and Colossians we begin to understand there is no proper and not so proper the is just folks, so everyone needs to be aware of whom they receive ministry from.
Herds and orchards aside, there is some prophetic work to be done. Not so apocalyptic as Amos (I hope), but uncomfortable none the less. Looks like I may be enmeshed in this herding, dresser, epistolary quagmire after all. What an unexpected blessing.