Do not worry is a tough message in the United States this week.
But there is a big difference between feeling safe and being safe. Oftentimes feeling safe is putting stock in material things. Knowing you have money in the bank, having a house, putting up alarm systems or walking around locked and loaded.
My church used to have one of those security systems, and it was kind of joke. We are more or less an open building, we rent to everyone. more often than not one group hands off the building to another group. So even though having an alarm system “felt safe” it really wasn’t providing us any extra security. (Due to our own choices). We soon realized that the better way to be safe was to build trust and relationships and not to rely on this system.
Luke 12:32-40 is very similar to Luke 10 where Jesus tells his disciples to take nothing with them and to concentrate on building relationships.
So Luke 12 could be the review and expansion of the previous text.
Remember don’t worry and don’t try to feel safe by carrying a lot with you.
Then the expansion on this is because our purse is in heaven. Our rewards are not what we see here and now. This is a tough one for me in a week where many people have died by gun violence, I do not find it all that helpful to know they will be rewarded in heaven.
So we don’t want to simply feel safe, but we do want to actually be safer.
Jesus says be ready. Like slaves waiting for their master (yuck!), Like a bride waiting for her groom. It’s like being on alert for the thief, so they can’t break into your house.
Jesus is coming, be ready.
These apocalyptic texts definitely translate the terror of what it is to be alive and to try to be ready for everything. But for us, being prepared is preparing (and protecting) our material goods, like the house owner and the thief. But Jesus is telling us to make ready our hearts. Wherever this is going, Jesus is clear about one thing, we are not ready and we often prepare the wrong things.
Also, Jesus is sneaky. Jesus is a master suddenly returning, a bridegroom who is going to come to elope any minute, a thief in the night. Jesus is so sneaky, no one knows when Jesus is coming. So we need to live today as if this is going to be the Kingdom tomorrow. We need to enact Justice and Peace. We need to imagine together what heaven is like, and then not just patiently wait for it to come, but instead to prepare earth as much as humanly possible for that moment when Jesus arrives.
How can we prepare for the Kingdom? Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg has a salient method.
Not only should we prepare for the kingdom because it might come but also because it makes the waiting more tenable.
What do the bride and groom do while they are waiting to get married? What salient things do they do to get ready? In modern times, when you know your higher authority is coming, what do you do to get ready?
Waiting is hard, because what is coming is so good that we need to do things to prepare.
What are you five things that are helping you to wait for the world to get better? And conversely, how are those five things helping the world to get to what it needs to be for the Kingdom of God?
Are you getting ready with the Luke text or something else. Tell us how your sermon prep is going.
Katy Stenta is a solo pastor at a tiny church that is bigger on the inside in Albany, NY for over eight years and blogs at firstname.lastname@example.org She is also the co-founder of the fledgling TrailPraisers inclusive Worship. When she is not dreaming up projects and ideas, some of which creep into the church, she plays with her three boys-boys or goes and visits her husband at the library, while he works, to read.
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