Tuesday, October 17, 2006

St. Luke's Day, Oct. 18

Today (Oct. 18), many Christians will pause to remember the Third Evangelist, St. Luke.

His gospel--which contains some of the most-loved stories in the New Testament--is apparently based on a variety of sources, as he suggests himself in the opening verses:

"Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught" (Luke 1.1-4, NIV).

The introduction to his gospel in the NIV Study Bible has the following to say about Luke's biography:

"Luke was probably a Gentile by birth, well educated in Greek culture, a physician by profession, a companion of Paul at various times from his second missionary journey to his final imprisonment in Rome, and a loyal friend who remained with the apostle after others had deserted him (2 Tim. 4.11). Antioch of Syria and Philippi are among the places suggested as his hometown" (1564).

The introduction continues: "Luke had outstanding command of the Greek language. His vocabulary is extensive and rich, and his style at times approaches that of classical Greek (as in the preface 1.1-4), while at other times it is quite Semitic (1.5-2.52)--often like the Septuagint (the pre-Christian Greek translation of the OT)" (1564).

The Book of Common Prayer suggests the following prayer on this day:

Almighty God, who inspired your servant Luke the physician to set forth in the Gospel the love and healing power of your Son: Graciously continue in your Church this love and power to heal, to the praise and glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Best wishes,

Mason Smith


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