Gate Pa – Year C 18th Sunday of Ordinary Time,
Psalm Psalm 107:1-9, 43
First Reading: Hosea 11:1-11
Second Reading: Col 3:1-11
Gospel: Luke 12:13-21
What I want to say:
Where we stand affects how we read this story. Explore some different ways of reading this story bringing it back to ‘how do we honour God’s name?”
This time 3 years ago I was on Savo Island
explore what that was like
In church I was by far the wealthiest person present
I was the rich man in the story
how do you preach this story from that position?
Is there more than one way to understand this story?
2. How do you read it?
few weeks ago we heard Jesus ask lawyer
“what does the law of Moses say?
how do you read it?”
lot of people who see that as the same question
been seminars where I have been told that there is only one correct reading of scripture
usually how the middle class white male would read it
everyone else is wrong
are in fact multiple ways any piece of scripture can be read
how I read this story then will be different from how my brothers and sisters on Savo will read it
and how it was read by Luke’s community
and how it was understood by those present with Jesus.
no one reading is any more right than any of the others.
3. hallowed be your name
last week you might have heard Jesus teaching people how to pray
includes line – Hallowed be your name
your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven
give us today our daily bread
Blog I read as a resource notes that the “hallowed” is in passive voice – God makes God’s name holy
How does God make God's name holy?
God makes God's name holy through "Your kingdom come."
And what does this kingdom look like?
When we who pray this prayer are willing to trust that God will "give us each day our daily bread,"
and that we do not need to be anxious and strive each day
willing to see what we are given as God's generous gift and to be thankful.
4. This story
The question asked of Jesus this morning asked by someone who was not willing to trust
and story itself is about someone who trusted in his own self.
God’s kingdom has not come
God’s name is not hallowed.
story itself is interesting.
Question asked of Jesus does not strike us as too unusual.
but it would have been extremely dishonourable question is Jesus time
family property was not divided
to divide it would lessens viability
increases danger need sold
leaving family destitute
threatening livelihoods all those in community relied on that land work and food.
question is dripping with greed
carries huge social cost
Jesus refuses to answer
tells story – as often does
story about man who has acquired land of other families
because debt had to sell
many those listening had suffered this fate in last couple generations
since romans arrived
this man’s wealth is built on their poverty
his plan to build bigger barns and retire
does he plan to continue farming?
or are all those dependant on these farms now destitute?
These stories are so much more than our individual attitudes to money
are about our place in kingdom of God
these are stories about community
5. Where is my heart?
another way of looking at this is – where is my heart?
or to put it another way
what gives meaning to my life?
when do I feel like my life has been worth something?
played my part
kingdom has come on earth as in heaven
question we all struggle with
talking to another spiritual director last week
reflecting on how hard it is to get ministers – like me
to think about this question beyond our ministry
too often our worth as ministers
is bound up in what we do week by week
like that is all God is interested in.
led to many of us going seminars of developing smart goals
out of that having comprehensive to do lists
days ruled goals and lists
worth is measured by what achieved
while all of that is important
my worth is not measured in those things
God is not confined to those things
On Savo, on Malaita, on Makira and in Honiara
spent a lot of time sitting around talking
being with people
At Ngatiawa in morning prayer
people often ask prayer that they might have good conversations
not that list get done
not goals achieved
they will spend good time with each other and with those who visit.
That is now on the top of my to do list
have good conversations
because unlike brother who came to Jesus
unlike man in Jesus story
my worth is not in what I amass
money in bank
simply in fact that I am deeply and profoundly loved by God
in good conversations
I meet God who loves me
I hope that in those I am with will meet that God as well
And that is where my heart needs to be.
So what gives meaning to your life?
What gives you worth?
Where is your heart?