In the first chapters of Luke, just as the Spirit moves from womb to womb, beginning with the angel Gabriel, the commandment moves from person to person, ensuring that God’s eudokia (his goodwill) is fulfilled—in the spirit of term—to his complete satisfaction.
From Zacharias and Elizabeth to Mary and Joseph, and notably, the Shepherds of Israel, the commandment and the Spirit are the main actors in Luke, working overtime to ensure that the will of the Father is fulfilled in the story. As each roadblock falls: the temple, the priesthood, the seeking after signs, the ignorance of the Torah, there remains one final obstacle to the Father’s objective: tribe and king. Along these lines, Herod stands out in the Lukan parade as one who does not receive the Spirit and openly rejects the commandment, shunning the Lord’s prophet and locking him in prison.
Has the Father been thwarted? With John out of the way, how can the command established in the beginning by the mouth of the Angel Gabriel be carried forward? Herod, the imposter. Herod, the builder of buildings. Herod, the trifler, who thought he could steal the inheritance of the Kingdom of the Gospel from the Lord’s Christ by sealing John the Baptist up in a cage.
To borrow a beautiful title from a beautiful woman, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.”
Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Luke 3:21-22 (Episode 476)
“Now the Hosts of Heaven,” First Mode (Tetraphonic) was chanted by Nicholas Wesche on April 5, 2023 at St. Elizabeth Orthodox Church in St. Paul, Minnesota.
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