I have a seminary friend who is an out Metropolitan Community Church pastor, working hard to plant a new congregation. She and I often exchange sermons in the writing stages... we chat on the phone. The other day we were talking about this morning's passage from Luke, and she began to tell me excitedly about the girding up of loins, and how it is used only three times in the gospels... in Mark and Matthew, referring to John the Baptizer, and here, talking to disciples and the various crowds and hangers on who comprise Luke's "little flock."
Girding up the loins... i.e., my friend says, hitching your skirts up through your legs and being ready to run, a la Elijah... running towards the kingdom, or as she refers to it, the common wealth (two words).
As I preach this text, it occurs to me yet again that it is God's word to me (amazing how I constantly, consistently miss that). That I must be ready... you all know for what.
I have entered again a period of some complacency, in which it seems I will be able to fly beneath the radar for a while... I want to do this. I want to attract no attention to my relationship with Beloved. (Perhaps I shouldn't have parties on my front porch, you say?). I want to be a simple country parson, tending my little flock (or, really running around yipping at it, since I'm a sheepdog and no shepherd). I want to blink innocently and say, "Whatever do you mean?" if someone should ask me about Beloved, because I truly think it has not a damned thing to do with whether I am a good pastor or not.
And Jesus is telling me, hitch up those skirts girl. Run towards it.