St Luke's Day

What's the best way to honour Luke the Evangelist and Physician on his Feast Day today?

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.”


  1. Your post has encouraged me to read further about St.Luke. What is a 'red letter' day church service?

    1. A red letter day is any date of special significance. It's not an official name - just a nickname really. In the Christian Calendar Festival and Principal Holy Days e.g. Christmas, Easter, Saints Days are often printed in red type in calendar lists, as opposed to black for ordinary days. 'Luke the Evangelist' is a Feast Day in the Anglican Church so is a 'red-letter' day. The readings etc in the service will be those appropriate for the feast. I could just as well have said 'attend a church service on this saint's day'. I hope that answers your question.


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