Introductory Hymn: Take my life, and let it be
Call to Worship
Out of a world of
- cut-throat competition
- of winners-and-losers
- and too many left behind
we come together to praise God.
The world’s ways are not our ways.
The world’s ways are not Christ’s ways.
Out of a world of
- and life-taking power
we gather as God’s people.
God’s ways are inclusive, expansive,
and life-giving for all peoples.
Come and worship the One whose love knows no limits!
Swim and splash in the cleansing waters of divine community!
Resurrect your spirits and souls in worship of the One!
Praise be to the Everlasting One!
Most of the churches in our partnership, like so many others, are struggling for money to keep the roof over our heads. This pandemic has further amplified that situation. We’re skint and we know it. Something’s got to change. We must look to scripture for the answer.
And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’
“Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’
“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’
“This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”
Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
Remember – not so long ago – when the “What Would Jesus Do?” campaign was doing the rounds? For a while it was the talk of the church – the hip phrase – then it became a bit tired through over use. People cringe when they hear someone say it. You could buy a badge or wristband with WWJD on it.
These two bible passages often get blended together in a message that goes along the lines of:
- don’t get rich
- don’t be prudent
- don’t be ambitious
- don’t be looking towards a comfortable future
- don’t take the easy way
take the hard way and do what Jesus would do!
Luke 12:16-17 is a story (parable) not a report – so Jesus has thought this through, its important, it holds many messages:
- about hoarding food
- about buildings
- about assuming our futures
Matthew 19:21 is a report not a story – it happened and Matthew thought it was so important that he recorded what happened in his Gospel. Jesus did say “get rid of everything and follow me”.
We have a chap who has invested wisely, worked hard (or managed hard), saved stuff away for a rainy day. And Jesus isn’t happy. Give it all away and follow me.
Here we have a church that has invested wisely, worked hard, saved stuff for a rainy day. And we can’t use any of it because we fear what the future may bring.
Is Jesus happy with that situation? What do we know about Jesus?:
- did he invest wisely?
- work hard (or manage hard)?
- did he save stuff away for a rainy day?
Or did Jesus:
- move around to where the need was greatest?
- did he redistribute goods to the poor and needy?
- did he attach no value to buildings and properties? (if anything he attached debt and upset to possessions)?
He transformed lives.
Our lives are transformed when we help to transform others.
Remember when the 4 friends lowered the sick man through the roof of a house so that he could get to see Jesus the healer? The roof got in the way – so it was removed.
Are our church buildings getting in the way of us being Christ’s church?
What would Jesus do?
Some days, Lord, we let a theology and attitude of scarcity overtake us.
On those days we allow what we have to:
- define us
- control us
- and restrict us
And yet we know God that you provide enough
God created each of us as enough
God creates a world of abundance
- our certainty of scarcity,
- our idolatry of the shiny,
- and our fears of others
prevent us from:
- and sharing.
We live in an abundant world – our creator makes it so.
Move our hearts, lessen our fears in this hour – there is enough space for all of us.
Praise be to the God of Abundant Love!
Praise to the God of Enough!
The Lord’s prayer
Finishing Hymn/Hum: I want to walk with Jesus Christ (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nB9tJGdIMwQ)
Leave this place and go back to the world of pandemic:
- Our God calls us to belonging
- Our God delights in curiosity, invention, ingenuity
- Our God encourages minds that bend and flex despite restriction – for bodies that signal love by staying apart.
- Our God joins in when neighbours talk across fences, calling from balconies, waving through windows, when greetings cross the space between us.
- Our God loves friends who warn and chide and encourage, for human warmth in time of distance.
- Our God says ‘come as you are’ – take nothing with you.
Leave this place and praise him
Rev. Jim Williams