Readings for the 20th Sunday after Pentecost can be found here.
Being a lectionary preacher usually reassures me; I don’t have to choose the texts, with all that involves. But sometimes, the RCL confronts us with texts that hit so close to home that we really squirm, and now is one of those times. Just last week the lectionary asked us to wrangle with the issue of divorce; this week it’s wealth. Can a preacher catch a break?
In all seriousness, this week’s gospel featuring the rich young man who, when he seeks the key to eternal life, is told that he must give up his wealth falls at an opportune time for those in the midst of stewardship campaigns. How do we as congregations and as individuals wrestle with the issue of wealth, with the issue of sharing our resources with others? It can be a thorny issue. An older Working Preacher piece not only helps us confront some of the myths about this reading (think camels and needles and gates), and also offers some insights into its nuances that I find quite helpful. And perhaps the most helpful line in this pericope is Jesus’ reminder that “for God all things are possible.” How often we forget that!
The prophet Amos (one of my favorite prophets) also confronts us on issues of wealth and justice. Amos condemns those who trample on the poor, and predicts their doom, even as he holds out a shred of hope: “Seek good not evil that you might live.” How might these words speak to our 21st century reality with its deepening divide between the rich and poor?
If talking about wealth isn’t where you want to head, the readings from Hebrew scripture provide some interesting alternatives. This week we get the second of four installments from the book of Job – not an easy text by any means. The RCL makes a big jump from chapter 1 to 23; we hear Job going from a position of righteous acceptance of his suffering to a yearning to find God so that he might argue on his own behalf. Job’s plaintive cries speak volumes to anyone who has felt the absence of God – as most of us have done from time to time. I’m wondering if this text might be good opening for wondering where God is in our dismay about so much gun violence?
Do you know where the scripture is calling you this week? Are you in the midst of your stewardship program? Doing a series on Job? Struggling with juxtaposition of poverty and wealth in our culture? Wondering where God is in our struggle to come to terms with yet more gun violence? Share your inspirations, questions, even your frustrations here with us.
RevGalBlogPals encourages you to share our blog posts via email or social media. We do not grant permission to cut-and-paste prayers and articles without a link back. For permission to use material in paper publications, please email revgalblogpals at gmail dot com.