(House Church 8.11.2019 // Proper 14 - Year C - Track 2: Genesis 15:1-6, Psalm 33:12-22, Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16, Luke 12:32-40)
Ordinary time refers to the two periods in the Church calendar that are not marked by a major church season (Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, Pentecost). The Ordinary time after Pentecost lasts until Advent. (Church calendar + Special days )
The Liturgy: Grant to us the spirit to think and do always those things that are right, that we may live according to love and goodness; through the power and example of Jesus Christ, Amen
Old Testament - Genesis 15:1-6
The word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, "Do not be afraid, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great." But Abram said, "O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?" And Abram said, "You have given me no offspring, and so a slave born in my house is to be my heir." But the word of the Lord came to him, "This man shall not be your heir; no one but your very own issue shall be your heir." He brought him outside and said, "Look toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them." Then he said to him, "So shall your descendants be." And he believed the Lord; and the Lord reckoned it to him as righteousness.
The Response - Psalm 33:12-22 *She Remix
12 Happy is the nation whose God is the Lord!
happy the people She has chosen to be Her own!
13 The Lord looks down from heaven,
and beholds all the people in the world.
14 From where she sits enthroned she turns her gaze on all who dwell on the earth.
15 She fashions all the hearts of them and understands all their works.
16 There is no king that can be saved by a mighty army; a strong man is not delivered by his great strength.
17 The horse is a vain hope for deliverance;
for all its strength it cannot save.
18 Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon those who fear her, on those who wait upon her love,
19 To pluck their lives from death,
and to feed them in time of famine.
20 Our soul waits for the Lord;
she is our help and our shield.
21 Indeed, our heart rejoices in her,
for in her holy Name we put our trust.
22 Let your loving-kindness, O Lord, be upon us, as we have put our trust in you.
The Epistle - The Epistle - Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Indeed, by faith our ancestors received approval. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible.
By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to set out for a place that he was to receive as an inheritance; and he set out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he stayed for a time in the land he had been promised, as in a foreign land, living in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he looked forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. By faith he received power of procreation, even though he was too old-- and Sarah herself was barren-- because he considered him faithful who had promised. Therefore from one person, and this one as good as dead, descendants were born, "as many as the stars of heaven and as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore."
All of these died in faith without having received the promises, but from a distance they saw and greeted them. They confessed that they were strangers and foreigners on the earth, for people who speak in this way make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of the land that they had left behind, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; indeed, he has prepared a city for them.
The Gospel - Luke 12:32-40
Jesus said to his disciples, "Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 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. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
"Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit; 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. 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. If he comes during the middle of the night, or near dawn, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves.
"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. You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour."
NOTES + THOUGHTS:
*Liturgy means “the work of the people.” We enter into this work when we enact the scriptures together by reading and discussing them and allowing our lives to be formed by Christ and each other. Like a potluck, we each bring something to the discussion, and there is always enough.
Which passage jumped out at you the most? Why?
What thoughts / questions do you have?
What connections do you see between the readings + life?
What action or change do they invite?
Why was it included in the Bible?
Is there any disconnect between the narrators perspective and our perspective as modern readers?
…Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for,
the conviction of things not seen…”
Faith seems really easy to explain until we are actually forced to. Is it merely intellectual ascent to a set of bullet points and propositions? Even the Bible says this isn't enough. Whatever faith is, it gave the prophets the strength to not give up or quit - they keep going. Somehow even in the midst of their unjust suffering they kept going and kept trusting and continued to live out their race. It takes a lot of faith to believe that God is the voice that is calling you forward in the wilderness.
Faith is more like courage the belief. Faith is a sort of courageous imagination that both truthfully naming reality and imagines new possibilities that are not yet evident and known.
Faith is the courageous imagination that if we honestly name our racism, misogyny, greed, homophobia, xenophobia, then we can choose a new story with new motivations instead.
Faith takes us to many places - that are dead ends. Faith often builds a latter to the very platform from which I must then leap off into the unknown. Often this is where we lose faith - we find many tall platforms with whole “faith” communities living on them - romanticizing the amazing a leap made 50 years ago, while checking make sure that they are adequately supplied to never have to leap again.
We need more leaping faith in our faith communities - the faith to keep going past the edge of the scripts we have been given, to jump off the platform. To move on into uncharted territories beyond the foundational stories of oppression, slavery, exclusion, and violence.
Discuss: What does faith look like to you? How would you define it?
Discuss: Faith is more like courage the belief.
Discuss: It takes a lot of faith to believe that God is the voice that is calling you forward in the wilderness.
“… You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.”
The Son of Man comes at unexpected hours indeed. He comes in the bodies black men and women who are oppressed by a system of white supremacy with roots in slavery. Jesus comes in the bodies of native peoples who were colonized long ago, and continue to be manipulated and ignored when their existence is inconvenient. Jesus arrives daily in disabled bodies, in migrant bodies, in the bodies of gun violence and domestic violence and in the bodies of collateral violence. He comes in sick bodies that cannot afford treatment or medicine, in poor bodies that have no credit, in lgbtq bodies that don’t fit the expectations of their families and communities. We are told to be ready for Jesus arrival, but were are not ready. We look to the sky for his great entrance, while locking our doors, building our walls, and hoarding out treasures - as he sits outside hungry in his already-here-ness. We are not dressed for Jesus arrival, our candles our not lit… and Jesus is again shot, is again separated from his parents and caged at the border of our wealthy empire, is again shot in a racially motived mass shooting at a Walmart, is again blown up by “peace keeping” weapons, is again killed by the authorities for being black.
This passage is an invitation from Jesus to “repent” from our slumber and wake up see his daily arrival into our world in inconvenient bodies. Literally, wake up, lose sleep over how Jesus is being treated. Don’t get lulled to sleep by the propaganda of our age, our party, the national hype, the spin, the marketing ploys, or more.
Wake up. Get dressed and get ready for action - Jesus is arriving daily and needs us to see.
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Thoughtful quote about this passage:
“Jesus assumes that our need for treasure is not something which can be lobotomized by any amount of high-mindedness: we must have our desires re-formed around a more fulfilling treasure.”
James Allison - The Joy of Being Wrong.
We are creatures of desire who are captivated by treasure- that’s not going away, but we can shape the sorts treasure we live for.
Discuss: … wake up, Lose sleep over how Jesus is being treated.
What does it mean to wake up, get dressed and get ready for action?
This is the table of Christ.
Here we remember God’s love + acceptance for humans.
Here we remember our connection with all humankind.
All are invited to come and eat
You who have much faith + you who have little.
You who have been here often + you who are new.
You who have tried to follow + you who have failed.
Come, because Christ has invited us here together.
(*Inspired by Galatians 6, Isaiah 66, and Psalm 66)
Come now and see the works of God,
how wonderful she is in her doing toward all people.
Her eyes keep watch over all the nations,
as a mother comforting her children
Come and join her in this universe of care,
Lifting one-another’s burdens
Opening our hearts to the burdens of all our neighbors,
across the street and around the world.
Come let us carry the burden of love together,
For she who holds our life, will keep our feet secure. Amen.