One tradition is to eat beef. I only discovered that yesterday after we'd already decided to give our lunch guests beef today. The reason for that tradition in some places is that since early Christianity Luke's Gospel (and its writer - the evangelist) has been identified with one of the 4 living creatures around God's throne, described in John's vision in
Revelation, namely the winged bull or ox.
If eating beef and attending a 'red-letter' day church service is all we do to honour Luke I think we miss the point. I suggest that in remembering Luke we need to hear and share his message. Luke's message in his gospel and its sequel the Acts of the Apostles is the message of Jesus, good news for all people, including people seen by others as outsiders.
Jesus' message of God's power to heal, save and set free is what we give thanks for today and Luke's skill and faithfulness in passing on that message. That good news is what Christians are called to bear witness to, to hand on the story of God's love and compassion through our words, attitudes and actions. I can't think of a better way to honour
St Luke. Can you?
I love this sonnet for Luke by Malcolm Guite, from his collection 'Sounding the Seasons'. I reproduce the words in full below or you can hear him read it here.
“His gospel is itself a living creature
A ground and glory round the throne of God,
Where earth and heaven breathe through human nature
And One upon the throne sees it is good.
Luke is the living pillar of our healing,
A lowly ox, the servant of the four,
We turn his page to find his face revealing
The wonder, and the welcome of the poor.
He breathes good news to all who bear a burden
Good news to all who turn and try again,
The meek rejoice and prodigals find pardon,
A lost thief reaches paradise through pain,
The voiceless find their voice in every word
And, with Our Lady, magnify Our Lord.”
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons, CC License