Surely I Am Entitled?

Gate Pa – 14th October

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time           

Readings:

Hebrew Scripture: Job 23: 1-9 16-17  
Psalm:                   Ps 22: 1-15
Epistle:                  Hebrews: 4: 12-16
Gospel:                  Mark 10:17-31  

What I want to say:

Lot of people who think they are entitled
money
tax cuts
help state
eternal life
entitled to nothing
all we have is gift
generous with that gift

What I want to happen:

People to explore what they feel entitled to
and to grow in compassion and generosity

The Sermon

Introduction: -

AGM sermon around three questions (find them in latest Circle)
who are we
whose are we
what is ours to do
or what does it mean to be a loyal and fruitful follower of Jesus/God
bring those questions to today’s readings
answers presented in those readings represent dominant theology that time
belong to God who, if you obeyed law and were good moral person would be rewarded with long life, health, family, wealth etc….
view point still around today in various forms
view point at work in Job

Job

Job is theological brawl in story form
Job believes he has lived a moral life and had all he deserved as moral person
sense entitlement
now  is being treated unfairly by God and want to call God to account in court – if only he could work out how to do that
friends (and wife) look at what is happening and helpfully suggest that he has not been moral and is being punished for appalling sins,
getting all that he deserves
we will have to wait to hear God’s response to all that

 

Mark – the rich young man

rich young man meet in gospel also has this sense of entitlement
theology of moral goodness is behind what we heard in gospel
dance of cultural niceties and theological world views
Man begins according Jesus great honour by calling him good teacher
remember Jesus comes from family not great honour
does what expected humbly deflecting title – which accrues him even more honour
man asks his interesting question
what must I do to inherit eternal life?
language is of entitlement
language eldest son – only one who inherits
he like Job, and friends see eternal life as something you have as of right if you do good
Jesus plays along
gives him a list (extra commandment)
man shows no humility and says – I have done all these since my birth
unlike Jesus he is quite happy claim title “good”
strong sense entitlement here
here we confront problem with theology of God wants us to be moral
eternal life becomes something earn on basis of our actions
keeping commandments
being moral
saying Jesus prayer
mosaic law reduced set commands that if we keep God will reward us with eternal life (however we understand that)
how Job and his friends saw it
how a lot people still today see it
Jesus loves him and suggests he has one further thing to learn
compassionate generosity
maybe that is two things
maybe he needs to let go of his sense of entitlement as well
three things.
what we are offered is a whole different way understanding Mosaic law
rather means earn “eternal life”
becomes vehicle by which people are shaped from inside into people of compassion, people of generosity, who see all as gift from God and not as their rightful entitlement

Francis

today at pet service we will remember Francis of Assisi
reading heard today one readings profound impact of Francis
he and his early followers obeyed it literally
they sold all they had, or gave it back to rightful owners
and gave proceeds away to poor
in so doing becoming poorer that even those
in doing so not only let go of attachment to material wealth
let go of their sense of entitlement
realised they earnt nothing
they were entitled to nothing
all was gift
anything they did have belonged to God
held in trust
generous with it.
through generosity learnt compassion
long way to go to be a good follower Francis

Conversation With Young People From Remuera

at youth event couple years ago
small group with young people from Remuera
we were talking about their possessions and lives
all had sense entitlements
parents worked hard where they lived
work hard accrue own material wealth
suggested maybe none of it was theirs
all Gods
held it in trust
hold it lightly
like camels going through the eye of a needle
were to be generous with it
become symbols of God’s generosity
challenged
lost some of their sense of entitlement
raises important question of
what do we feel entitled to?

Psalm

another take on this sense of entitlement
in some ways psalm prayed today
Job’s psalm
Psalm of cross
Psalm of deep despair in face helplessness and seemingly hopeless black
psalm for OUR darkest moments when all hope is lost
when grief and despair threaten to overwhelm us
God find here is not God of entitlement
not God rewards the moral life
God meets us in that dark place
who through Crucified one prayed this psalm- stands with us
unlike friends Job who  looked for the quick fix – confess and it will all be good again
there are no quick fixes in this psalm
quick fixes belong to entitlement
instead we are invited to remember who God is, and who we are and to find strength in that

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