Adopting Jesus' Way of Life .
Today in the midst of our summer the readings from the lectionary seem to have an Advent theme. Isaiah reminds us that God will come out to judge our actions, which must be congruent to our worship patterns. God does not want us to offer beautiful services filled with sacrifices if we forget to do Good. So Isaiah reminds us that we are to seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow, in other words we are to watch out and care for all members of our community!
Paul reminds us to be people of faith, people with an abiding trust in God, and in this trust we are to act on the promises of God- even when we do not know if our actions will fortuitous for us. And as we trust in God as people of the OT did in their time- we too will be a part of that city of God, prepared for the faithful.
And in the Gospel we are told to "Wait, Watch, be alert - and learn to find our security in God. Perhaps, in the midst of a lazy summer we are called to remember some important concepts.
Foundational in our faith: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.
1. But how are we to prepare ourselves for that coming of Christ? For the final establishment of the Kingdom?
I. Many get ready by predicting God's return. The Second Coming of Jesus is such a touchy subject for the church. From the 1st Century even to the present moment there are people who
Perhaps our Advent hope or rather our Christian hope should not rest on figuring out a date for perhaps our faith requires us to simply trust in this reality. And prepare by adopting a way of life that is rooted in God.
In the Gospel Luke Jesus contrasts this way of life with a life rooted in the securities of the World.
In the passage preceding today's Gospel reading Jesus encounters a young man who was arguing with his brother about an estate that was unfairly divided. The young man wants Jesus to preside over his case and resolve the matter. Because he wanted a secure financial future. Jesus said, I am not your lawyer young man but I will give you a piece of advice: “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed.”
And then tells him a parable about a rich man who had a great crop and stored it all for himself but that night his life went in unexpected direction. On the very night he got his barns built and secured his future he died. He never ate a single grain of corn. It is better, therefore, Jesus concludes, to be rich toward God.
Jesus then turns away from this young man to address his disciples and he says, this fellow is worried about his life and how it will all turn out. I don’t want you to worry about your life. I don’t want you to worry about what you will eat. I don’t worry about what you are going to drink and I don’t want you to worry about what you are going to wear. Consider the ravens and the lilies, he said. Doesn’t God take care of these, how much more valuable are you?
Jesus understood that most of our life is spent on worrying about our security. But what would happen if we trusted in God to provide our needs? What if we used our energies, our abilities, talents to help the world around us instead of wasting time and energy in worry . What if we adopting a posture for living is rooted in the understanding that God will provide all our needs. What if instead of living in fear- we lived with a sense of purpose and abundance- how rich would we feel, how satisfied would we feel?
And for Jesus this adopting of God's way of living is also adopting a posture of service.
For all the words that we use to describe Christian behavior there is none better than servant. One whose life is focused on helping others and creating a better world. In today's parable from Luke. A master has left to go to a wedding banquet and there is no way for the servants of that master to know when he will return. It could be that very night. It could be the next. It could be three days before he returns home. They are simply to be ready when he knocks on the door.
Everyone listening would have understood. The servants would be responsible for the household, everything must be kept in order, the work of the house must be run well in accordance to the wishes of the master and then when the master comes, they must be ready to feed him, help him unpack,give him an accounting. If they are not ready they’ll be judged harshly!
This makes sense--- but in verse 37 there is a twist. It is not the servants who wait on the master but in Jesus' story it is the master who waits on the servants. It will be good for those servants who are ready for the master not because there is the threat of punishment inattentive behavior but because there is the promise of a lavish master who upon his return graciously gives to his servants. The Master sits them down and serves them!
This is quite a different picture of a master and a servant. This picture of God's relationship with his servants gives us an understanding of God's abundant grace and love. Jesus' vision for us the servants for God is clear when the Kingdom in its entirety- God will sit us down at his banquet table and not just as servants but as children of that Kingdom.
For the reality is my friends when when we trust in God, adopting God's view of the world, God's view of service, we can also trust that God's wonderful kingdom will come. And yes my friends by each Good choice we make we are making that Kingdom a reality and we servants are among those who participate in it!