On the one hand, a great reward is promised. Bob said that the gold cadillac was the icon of success where he grew up. I mean, Jesus does talk about rewards, and receiving back 100x's what you give away...ipso facto, God wants me to have a gold cadillac.
The passage from Luke this week (Luke 12:32-40) tells us that "it is God's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." God wants to give us the kingdom. Great! Stop right there. But Jesus goes on..."Sell your possessions, and give alms." What God wants to give us is clearly not going to be characterized by a gold Cadillac. What God wants to give us is the peace and courage live out of faith and not fear. To know who we are and whose we are. To be able to dance with both faith and fear and to choose faith. And I think that in an honest moment, that is what people are truly longing for.
Bob painted a picture by characterizing life as dancing with faith and fear. Dancing with fear looks like self-protection. A fearful mindset results in habits that hurt others and habits that shield ourselves from God's freedom and love. God gladly gives us the kingdom. This gift is worth more than any possession. It is freedom from the fear that causes us to stock pile more stuff. It is freedom from the fear that we don't have enough, don't look good enough, or that we aren't enough.
God invites us to live into the kingdom, which is characterized by generous self-giving love. To choose the kingdom is to choose to dance with faith rather than fear. To breathe deeply knowing that even when you do not feel like enough, God has already gladly given you the kingdom. It will not get you the attention of a gold Cadillac...but dancing with faith rather than fear will allow you to live freely and to love others generously.
God of Abraham,
Grant us a new prayer today. Give us the faith of Abraham to trust that you are our shield. Be the defender of those who face relentless danger. For the beautiful people of Syria who fear explosions and bullets daily. For those in Chicago who are caught up in gangs or who are affected by their violence.
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.
We pray for this school and all schools and teachers as they prepare to start a new year. We pray especially for schools who are working on smaller budgets. We pray for energy, wisdom, and compassion to fill these halls and the halls of all Chicago area schools.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
We pray for all people living in fear. For those in our community living in fear from anxiety, depression, or grief. For those living in the fear of an abusive relationship. For any living under the shadow of fear, we pray that they would hear you speak your most common refrain, “do not be afraid.”
Grant us faith in fear’s place.
- Brunch With Grace! Next week Sunday the Caref's are hosting a church-wide brunch at their place. We will head over to Ana and Jason's place right after church to hang and brunch. An RSVP is going out this week!
- Help with Coffee/Pastries. We need a few more volunteers to make sure that we're prepared on Sunday mornings. Email Caleb (firstname.lastname@example.org) to sign up.
- Women's meet up is Tuesday, August 16th. Do not miss it. More info can be found on our events page.