Saturday, July 31, 2010

Gospel Text for Sunday, August 1st

Luke 12:13-21

Someone in the crowd said to Jesus, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me." But he said to him, "Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?" And he said to them, "Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one's life does not consist in the abundance of possessions." Then he told them a parable: "The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, `What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?' Then he said, `I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, `Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.' But God said to him, `You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?' So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God."

Questions for engaging the text:
- What do I observe" What am I seeing" Does this passage raise questions for me?
- Is anything attracting me, drawing my attention, or repulsing me?
-What response is emerging within me? What is my response to what is attracting me?***
-In what ways might I specifically act on my insights in the world
I really want to hear from you. Thank you for clicking on "Comments" below and adding your responses.
Grace and Peace, Debra
*** 1st three questions taken from The Art of Engaging Holy Scripture curriculum (see resources)


  1. According to Jesus' parable the self-satisfied rich man who was happy to rest on the abundance of his earthly goods was a fool. Ouch. I have a lot of stuff.

    A word that has gained much press of late, 'downsizing,' comes to mind. Corporate downsizing, layoffs, reducing redundancy, personal downsizing of property and possessions, increasing efficiency. So I googled 'downsizing your life' and found a CNN video, a story about people shrinking their material lives to fit in 100 sq ft homes.

    This is really quite counter to our super-sized culture. What I found most attractive on the video was a man's comment that his "tiny house bought him freedom,' freedom from' being a slave to his home and a job he did not like.

    I'd like to take the next step and suggest that 'freedom from' the burden of abundance may create the spaciousness of 'freedom for' the kingdom of God. How might I be 'rich toward God?' Perhaps the answer is in downsizing my appetites and acquisitiveness and upsizing my freedom to live for the good of my neighbor, my community, my earth and my God.

  2. I can escape identifying with both the questioner and the rich man in this text, but I cannot avoid the confrontation in Jesus' words, "Be on your guard against all kinds of greed ..." (Isn't that the way of Jesus' replies: they let no one stand exempt). There is always something I want to store up for my ease - books, relationships in a good cycle, emotional credits, potato chips, potential contacts.
    The questioner would be left to enter the future without a claim to justice; the rich man, content with his normal provision. Me, with my bent toward greed exposed, with the challenge to keep turning aside: to generosity? - to content with what I have? - to hope for sufficiency from a source unknown? I silence my voice, calm my hands, and live.