Remember at the end of the first century AD about 70% of the people living in the Roman Empire were slaves. Often Luke’s Gospel is seen as the good news for the lost, the least and the last.
Standing in my garden between May and July there is the wonderful sight of the swifts flying, they tear around the sky screaming. It really is a joy to behold. Sometimes a big fat pigeon lumbers across and the swifts dodge around it looking as if they are going to collide but at the last minute they skid past. In one sense the greatest flyer meets the worst. A lot of people don’t like pigeons, they are fat, their flying is clumsy and they are always eating, eating, eating. I love the swifts but I also love the pigeons. How can something that waddles not be a duck, but I still love them.
Isn’t this the message of Luke, even if you are the least, even if you are fat or ugly, even if you are not clever, even if you haven’t a clue what to do with your life you are still loved by God and we know this because Jesus focused on people who were on the periphery of society.
Am I allowed to mention Christmas in October? In Luke’s account of the birth of Jesus it is the shepherds who visit the stable. What we often don’t realise about shepherds at this time is that they were the pits as far as Jews were concerned, they couldn’t attend the synagogue on the sabbath so they were considered as non-Jews and yet they hear the angels proclaiming the birth of Christ and they are the first to go and worship. In the kingdom of God the first will be last and the last will be first.
Jesus calls us to love all our neighbours whether they are the least or the greatest.