Our Thought Today is by Jane Mellett called 'Not a straight path'
As the time drew near for him to be taken up to heaven, he resolutely took the road for Jerusalem and sent messengers ahead of him. These set out, and they went into a Samaritan village to make preparations for him, but the people would not receive him because he was making for Jerusalem. Seeing this, the disciples James and John said, 'Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to burn them up?' But he turned and rebuked them, and they went off to another village. ~Luke 9:51-52
The Gospel text today begins a new section of Luke's Gospel, one where there are many ups and downs for Jesus and the disciples as he 'set his face towards Jerusalem'. This journey to Jerusalem will not be a straight path for them. It will be filled with many banquets and opportunities for teaching but also filled with moments of rejection and struggle; and so it is for the Christian journey, it is not a straight path.
Why do the Samaritans reject him? There was no love lost between Jews and Samaritans and the disciples want to punish them. But perhaps the Samaritans were fearful of the consequences of associating with 'heretics' who were on their way to Jerusalem to challenge a particular system that held power over them. It is interesting how Jesus deals with the disciples who want to rain down fire on the Samaritans, he rebukes them and not long after this he will tell the parable of the Good Samaritan in which the Samaritan becomes the hero of the story. This has much to say to Christians today about the right kind of attitude towards those we consider to be 'heretics' or who differ in opinion from ourselves. Jesus respects their position and moves on to the next village.