Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Big Loser

The Big Loser

I wonder what we're missing
I wonder what's already gone
It's easy to miss stuff
              to lose stuff
It’s easy to be afraid
              to miss stuff
              to lose stuff
It’s not so easy to get rid of stuff

but it’s not so bad
the key is
            to focus
            to keep close to you
to be single-minded about
            what really matters
so as to avoid confusion


Jesus says
to one man
whom he looked upon with loving regard

perhaps with sorrowful compassion
perhaps with joy
the grieving over
            many possessions
                        would not last

what would last
            would be
                        the invitation

The invitation
            come – follow me
put that stuff
            to good use
release it
set it free
free yourself of
            the burden
that is bearing you down
and then
            come to me

That final command
is the closer – the purpose

for one man – and one church

the only promise Jesus gives the man
who grieves – for he has            
            many possessions –
is to receive treasure in heaven
once he is free of what is holding
            him to earth

what does that mean? I’m not sure
but the story does not end there
            Jesus goes on to say,
                        then come follow me

the man goes off, grieving
but does grief last forever? (Joy comes in the morning)
or does he go
like the son who said no
            but then went and did it
                        what his Father commands

How hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!
            for those who have wealth
            for any body

for it is right there
his hand is open
            offering it to you
but you have to open yours to grasp it

and like the monkey with his fist
            in the jar
            clenched full of filberts
you may have something to let go too

to lose …


what possesses you:
anger, resentment
fear itself

(false sources of security and comfort)

to gain…

the promise is
            he will be there
            he is already there
            he is already here

take my hand, open yours
follow me, and
grasp hold of the treasure
that is heaven –

How do you grasp hold of heaven?
How do you grasp hold of his hand?
            and follow?
How do you learn how to follow?

learn from his teachings
            his ways
            his practices


His people
            join in this common pursuit
You are not alone in this
            the people of God are
            the people of the promise             (Francis Baur, Life in Abundance)
the people who choose to respond
            (perhaps after much grieving)
to the invitation
            to follow
            to receive the Spirit
            to share the relation
                        Jesus has with his Father, his source:

Rowan Williams, Where God Happens (Boston, 2005) p. 114:

“That the church will not fail is one promise we can trust. This is for the simple reason that the church is above all the community of those whom Jesus calls to receive the Spirit and to share the relation that he has to his Father, his source. Because Jesus does not stop issuing that invitation, the church does not stop existing.”

That relationship
that source
            makes it possible for us
to let go of our stuff
respond to his call
and follow.

14 October 2012
Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 23
Amos 5:6-7, 10-15
Psalm 90:12-17
Hebrews 4:12-16
Mark 10:17-31


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