The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
Luke 12:13-21
14 mins 57 secs
Views: 35
This week, our readings are on the not so cheerful topic of the impermanence of life and the futility of our life’s work. Here in Silicon Valley, that is a hard message to hear, but of course the good news is that life here is not all there is to our life in Christ. Instead, in Colossians we read, “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:2-3 If we focus all of our attention on our success here on earth, we will always ultimately be disappointed, because life here and treasures here do not satisfy, even if we achieve them. Instead, they leave us wanting more or feeling empty. However where our treasure is, there our heart will be also, and it is when our hearts are in Christ that we are rich towards God and truly fulfilled.
Abraham spent years of his life living in hope of a future he couldn’t see. He set out for a unknown land believing it would be his inheritance. He lived as a nomad in that land for many years and believed that it would come to pass as promised. He lived to an old age with a barren wife without an heir, but when God said to him: “Look toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them." Then he said to him, "So shall your descendants be." And [Abram] believed the Lord; and the Lord reckoned it to him as righteousness.” Genesis 15:5-6 “Therefore from one person, and this one as good as dead, descendants were born, "as many as the stars of heaven and as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.” All of these died in faith without having received the promises, but from a distance they saw and greeted them. They confessed that they were strangers and foreigners on the earth, … But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; indeed, he has prepared a city for them. Hebrews 11:12, 13, 16 We also live our lives in hope of a future we cannot see. We live on this earth, but we also live in the Kingdom of God. We live and work here in this life, but we also anticipate the moment when Christ returns in power and glory: “Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” … “You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.” Luke 12:32, 40
In last week’s gospel, we were reminded to store up our treasures in heaven, because where our treasure is our heart will follow. We were told to always keep watching or be on the look out for the day of the Lord’s return. This week our lessons are all about the judgment that will take place when the Lord does return. Jeremiah compares God's Word to a fire and a hammer that smashes the rock to pieces. Jesus reminds us that he did not come to bring peace, or prosperity, but rather as the reading from Luke 12:49-56 says, " I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled! I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished! Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” Clearly the coming of the Lord will not be a fun time for those who have chosen to reject Him. Too late they will realize the error they have made. But these readings also remind us that since we have chosen Him as Lord and Savior, our sin is covered over with His shed blood, and God sees us as His precious children. Because of Jesus we never have to fear the coming of “that Day” again. We will be judged, but only on the basis of what we have done or not done for Jesus. Jesus tells us, “Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city..... I, Jesus have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.” Rev.22:12-14 … “You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.” Luke 12:32, 40
The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
Luke 13:10-17
15 mins 40 secs
Views: 17
Our readings this week all touch on sabbath and worship of God. Sabbath is a concept often lost in this place we live. Like many spiritual disciplines, it is more important than we assume, but also prone to fall into legalism if we miss the spirit and underlying purpose and message of sabbath. This week in our Gospel, Jesus is scolded by for working on the sabbath by healing a woman bent over and crippled. His response is memorable: "You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger, and lead it away to give it water? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years, be set free from this bondage on the sabbath day?" "When he said this, all his opponents were put to shame; and the entire crowd was rejoicing at the wonderful things that he was doing. Luke 13: 15-17