August 7, 2022
Sunday Between August 7 and August 13 Inclusive
Proper 14, Ordinary Time 19
Read the passage at the bottom of this post: Luke 12:32-40, The Message or Luke 12:32-40, The New Revised Standard Version (NRSV).
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Every time I first look at this lesson, I do a double take to make sure I haven't mis-read the starting Verse number - shouldn't that be "22" and not "32?" Have the Lectionary planners really omitted Luke's telling of the birds of the air and the flowers of the field? Why yes, yes they actually have. No worries I guess. But personally I'm inclined to correct this oversight and change the reading back to Luke 12:22-34.
As it is, the Lectionary gives us about 6 different possible sermons in 9 verses. Oh well, no worries, right?
Verse 32. We could probably just stop and spend 20 silent minutes - or 20 years - letting this verse sink into the depths of the heart of our being. Everything else follows from this one verse:
it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
Wow. God, for no other reason than it simply pleases God - delights God - for this reason alone - God gives us the kingdom. No worries. So get over all your anxiety, guilt, shame, unworthiness, wretchedness, etc., etc. You don't deserve it, but God is giving it to you anyway - not because of who you are or what you've done - but just because it tickles God no end to give it to you.
Verses 33 to 34. Now I suppose we could take that good news and start living recklessly - sinning even more boldly - eating, drinking, and being merry to the max. After all, God's gonna give us the kingdom.
But Jesus has another present in mind. What if we too started giving things away just for the great good pleasure of it?
We live in a world that wants us to treasure acquiring more and more stuff. Jesus wants us to find the fun in giving stuff away.
Verses 35 to 40. And just in case you're wanting to take a minute, or a decade, or the rest of your life, to mull this over, Jesus then tells a parable to remind us that right now, right this minute, is the time to act:
You must also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.
And when you stop and think about it, what exactly is holding us back? Why not let go? Right now. Just for the fun of it. No worries.
Note: Historical background information is primarily from Bruce Malina and Richard Rohrbaugh, Social Science Commentary on the Synoptic Gospels, pages 278-279; and the writings of Amy-Jill Levine, et. al. See below.
Luke 12:32-40 (NRSV)
32 "Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions, and give alms. Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
35 "Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit; 36 be like those who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet, so that they may open the door for him as soon as he comes and knocks. 37 Blessed are those slaves whom the master finds alert when he comes; truly I tell you, he will fasten his belt and have them sit down to eat, and he will come and serve them. 38 If he comes during the middle of the night, or near dawn, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves.
39 "But know this: if the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. 40 You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour."
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Luke 12:32-40 (The Message)
32 Don't be afraid of missing out. You're my dearest friends! The Father wants to give you the very kingdom itself.
33 "Be generous. Give to the poor. Get yourselves a bank that can't go bankrupt, a bank in heaven far from bank robbers, safe from embezzlers, a bank you can bank on. 34 It's obvious, isn't it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.
35 "Keep your shirts on; keep the lights on! 36 Be like house servants waiting for their master to come back from his honeymoon, awake and ready to open the door when he arrives and knocks. 37 Lucky the servants whom the master finds on watch! He'll put on an apron, sit them at the table, and serve them a meal, sharing his wedding feast with them. 38 It doesn't matter what time of the night he arrives; they're awake—and so blessed!
39 "You know that if the house owner had known what night the burglar was coming, he wouldn't have stayed out late and left the place unlocked. 40 So don't you be slovenly and careless. Just when you don't expect him, the Son of Man will show up."
Scripture quotations from THE MESSAGE. Copyright © by Eugene H. Peterson 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.
* Link to Amazon.com Bibliography for Bruce J. Malina and Richard Rohrbaugh, Social Science Commentary on ... The Synoptic Gospels; The Gospel of John; The Book of Acts; The Letters of Paul; The Book of Revelation; and others.
+ Link to Amazon.com Bibliography for Amy-Jill Levine and Marc Zvi Brettler, Jewish Annotated New Testament, The Bible With and Without Jesus, Short Stories by Jesus, Entering the Passion of Jesus, and others.