Saturday, April 2, 2022

The Fool at War, by Katie Snipes Lancaster

Or what king would go to war against another king without first sitting down to consider whether his ten thousand soldiers could go up against the twenty thousand coming against him? And if he didn’t think he could win, he would send a representative to discuss terms of peace while his enemy was still a long way off. Luke 14:31–32

Reflection: Almost exactly like the parable from yesterday, this is one of Jesus’ famous duplication parables where he is doubling down on his message by telling two parables back to back that make the same point. Unlike yesterday’s parable, where the builder needed to calculate the cost of building before they broke ground, today’s parable gives us a king who is assessing whether or not it is wise to go to war. If, from the vantage point of the king’s military resources, the king is likely to lose even before starting, maybe it is prudent to engage in peace talks instead of battle. Given war stories unfolding even now, it is easy to see how Jesus’ parable still has legs today. Jesus was a keen observer of the social world and his parables portray recognizable characters: a slave, a tenant, a father, a king, a builder. It is no surprise this storytelling Rabbi is relatable two millennia later.

With this parable about “sitting down to consider” war or peace, Jesus is inviting us to consider what it takes to follow him. Have we thought through what is at stake? Have we calculated the lives impacted? Have we wondered if there was a still better way? Have we communicated well? Have we looked at the possible resources and calculated the possible costs? Jesus understands the social structures, comprehends human behavior, knows what is logical, recognizes our postures, and interprets our mindsets. He knows that what he is asking of his disciples (of us) is a resource-exhausting, life-changing, powerful, risky, radical endeavor. Will we venture forth? Will we say “yes”? Will we walk the walk? Will we put every strategic, financial, social, political, and relational resource on the line for the sake of the least, the lost, and the lonely?

Prayer: 
Storytelling Savior,
let us find our way
toward your life-giving
love. Amen.

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