Blogging Towards Sunday, August 1, 2010
Bernie Maddock ponzi schemes, and decreasing church membership roles, questions of security dominate our national, cultural and church psyches. How can we be safe from future terrorist attacks? How can we be financially secure when everything seems to anything but? Can life be sure and secure? And how does faith through Christ fit into our wonderings. Trust in God, is the answer. Yet while it's easy to recite, it's often much harder to live day to day.
Sunday's scripture speaks to the question. I've often heard it interpreted in an dualist black-and-white way, saying that those that are for God are against wealth. Yet Jesus seems to speak more to the grey of life than to simply the overthrow of the rich. Jesus tells the parable of the rich fool in response to the question of an anonymous man who comes asking Jesus to make a judgment (as rabbis did in that day) about his inheritance that he is to share with his brother(s). Ironically he comes alone, when the question concerns his whole family. Is he coming to get a bigger share by entrapping Jesus to take his side?; or did he just merely forget his brother? Jesus doesn't respond to his question, but rather answers the wondering of the crowd gathered to learn more about discipleship.
The parable lifts up a negative example of a disciple, a man so possessed by greed (the desire to have more than others, and maybe even to dominate them) that he is cut off from everyone. He has no relationship with God, with his neighbors, even himself it would seem (from the way that he talks about his soul and not the biblical version of a whole person which include the soul, mind and heart [Luke 10:25-37]). He's tragically blinded by his misguided vision that he can himself ensure his own security. He's mistakenly assumed the his is the owner of his abundance as opposed to the manager with whom God has entrusted it. He's exchanged relationship for self-sufficiency, trust for self-reliant isolation.
Michelangelo painted perhaps one of the most famous representations of God and faith in the center of the Sistine Chapel in Rome: God reaching out to Adam, with a touch that invites relationship, trust, and interdependence.
Sunday's gospel lesson invites us to trust God, to recognize that God is God and we are not. And also reaffirms the good news of God's grace, that God choses to trust us before we can respond, to love us before we can ever respond to God's love with gratitude. Living be grace, trusting, waiting upon the Lord is our challenge and invitation in faith. Isaiah says that those that do so shall rise up on wings like eagles. For us maybe it's a matter of perspective and vision, when we respond to the uncertainties around us with fear of loss and exclusion we feel insecure and threatened. If we respond first to the ways in which God has gifted us, and calls us to be stewards and managers of all of creation, things may look differently and rather that responding with the greed of the anonymous man in the gospel story we may place our security in the trust that God is not only present, but long ago choose us.