Proper 24C’22 {St. Luke’s Day}
16 October 2022
II Tim. 4.5-13; Luke 4.14-21
St. Luke’s Episcopal Church
North Little Rock, Arkansas
The Rev. Carey Stone <+>

“The Lord rebuilds Jerusalem; he gathers the exiles of Israel. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. The Lord lifts up the lowly, but casts the wicked to the ground. Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; make music to our God upon the harp.” Amen.

                                                                                 – from Psalm 147


It’s not often on a given Sunday that three things all coincide and point to a single word, and that word is “legacy.” Today we are celebrating our patron saint – Luke, who left behind a rich legacy of writings in the gospel that bears his name, as well as the book of Acts our primary source of information about the early Church, we’re kicking off our fall stewardship campaign, where we are invited to leave a legacy, and we’re bidding farewell to one of St. Luke’s really great people, Sara Garrett who is moving to Texas but she leaves to us a legacy of faithfulness to Christ, to his Church, and to God’s people in NLR. 

There is no doubt the Church would be poorer without Luke’s legacy. He was a physician, a painter, an excellent writer, and the only author of scripture who was a gentile.  Through his writing and journalistic skills, he interviewed eyewitnesses to corroborate much of the material he used, including Mary, Jesus’ mother, some of the twelve, and of course his mentor, Paul. A number of parables are unique to Luke including the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost or prodigal son. Women figure much more prominently, for example, he used Mary’s lineage to show Jesus’ ancestry, rather than Joseph’s. There is the wonderful record of Mary and her cousin Elizabeth’s time together while they were both pregnant – one with a prophet and one with The Savior.  With Luke the Gospel literally sings with Mary’s Magnificat, and Simeon’s Nunc dimittis. The Grinch might just have stolen Christmas without Luke’s recording of the song of the angels and shepherds, and last but not least, Zechariah’s Benedictus.

Foreigners, the poor, the outcasts such as lepers and prostitutes, and all the lowly are elevated to new heights by Luke. There are also more stories about healing than in the other three gospels.

Through his writing in the book of Acts we have an impressive record of what the early Church was like and the first Christian movement. I think Luke would like today’s Psalm that mentions the rebuilding of Jerusalem, the gathering of exiles, healing the brokenhearted, binding up the wounds of those wounded by life and circumstance, and the lifting up of the lowly. (Excerpts from Psalm 147) Besides being known as a physician by St. Paul, he also had some high praise for Luke’s tenacity, perseverance, and dogged persistence. In his letter to Timothy, Paul let it be known that almost his entire missions’ team had let him down during a very challenging time leaving him in the lurch. One of these was Titus who went off to a region on the coast of modern-day Croatia called Dalmatia, [hmm, sounds a little like Dalmatian [dog], reportedly this is a possible origin where the cliché’ “so and so has gone to the dogs” came from. Luke on the other hand, was not a quitter, when the going got tough he hung in there and of him Paul said, “Only Luke is with me.” 

Luke’s legacy definitely played a role in the planting of a ne Episcopal mission on the North side of the river in North little Rock. As our history mentions on our website:

St. Luke’s Episcopal Mission was organized on March 31, 1954 with 17 charter members. At that time, North Little Rock was the largest city in the United States without an Episcopal Church. The Bishop of Arkansas, The Rt. Rev. R. Bland Mitchell, appointed The Rev. William W. Wilcox as Priest-in-Charge. Father Wilcox also served as vicar to St. Mark’s Mission, Little Rock. This hearty group of saints were given a mission by the diocese and by the bishop to found a church that would seek to build an Episcopal community that would stay true to its Lord and to its patron, and fulfill its diocesan commission by seeking to gather the Dogtown disciples of Jesus by lifting up those who felt less than, both the poor, and the poor in spirit, the outcasts, the broken in need of healing, and the downcast in need of Good News! There have been many tragedies and triumphs through the successive years but St. Luke’s would not abandon their calling.

The tenacious spirit of St. Luke was evident yet again during the worst of the pandemic. We kept the doors open, learned how to live-stream, and through Word and Sacrament maintained the weekly worship of Christ, the preaching and teaching of the good news of Christ’s salvation for all.

Now, as the after effects of the pandemic continue to be felt we are invited once again to “hang in there” to persevere and keep the mission of sharing Christ’s love on the North side of the river alive and well. Today our stewardship campaign will commence and we will be reminded all over again how important St. Luke’s is in the lives of its members and to the winder community. As I have often said, there are many Episcopalians on this side of the river, they just don’t know it yet. Please consider prayerfully what your legacy will be through the mission and ministry of St. Luke’s.  It’s good for our souls to give, we all need to give of our time, talent, and treasure, and St. Luke’s needs your gifts in order to seize this unique moment in time when people are hungry and seeking for a community of faith where they can make their spiritual home.

Lastly today, we will be saying a sad but joyous farewell to one of St. Luke’s greats – Sara Garrett! She has faithfully worshipped and served Christ for many decades into her 97th year! What a legacy you are leaving to us! I believe these words of Ralph Waldo Emerson will be a fitting accolade for you Sara, and speak for all of us:


“To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson


What a patron, what a church, what a dear friend who leads the way for the rest of us. For St. Luke, for St. Luke’s Church, and for Sara, let us leave our own legacy to bless the future. Amen!