8 Pentecost/Year C

8 Pentecost/Year C

August 4, 2019

Hosea 11:1-11; Psalm 107:1-9, 43; Colossians 3:1-11; Luke 12:13-21 

Opening prayer: Generous God, in abundance you give us things both spiritual and physical. Help us to hold lightly the fading things of this earth and grasp tightly the lasting things of your kingdom, so that what we are and do and say may be our gifts to you through Christ, who beckons all to seek the things above, where he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit. Amen.  ~ from Revised Common Lectionary Prayers

Our gospel reading begins today, with someone in the crowd asking Jesus to intervene in a family feud between two brothers, involving the family inheritance that had been left to them. Jesus immediately speaks up, with some clarifying words for the man…He was not sent to be a judge between him and his brother, or to be the one who makes the decision about how to divide the property. He leaves the decision to them, it’s in their hands now…this gift…this abundant gift… that has been entrusted into their hands…by the giver of all good gifts…spiritual and physical…abundant gifts entrusted to them by a generous God…

Jesus continues with a parable that may assist them in discerning what to do with this family inheritance…cautioning them to be on guard about making a decision based on greed…and reminding them that “one's life does not consist in the abundance of possessions."

IN the Good News Translation, the parable is told like this:

“There was once a rich man who had land which bore good crops.  He began to think to himself, ‘I don't have a place to keep all my crops. What can I do?  This is what I will do,’ he told himself; ‘I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, where I will store the grain and all my other goods.  Then I will say to myself, Lucky man! You have all the good things you need for many years.

Take life easy, eat, drink, and enjoy yourself!’  But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night you will have to give up your life; then who will get all these things you have kept for yourself?’”

 And Jesus concluded, “This is how it is with those who pile up riches for themselves but are not rich in God's sight.”

What stood out for me in this translation, was that this rich man, who bore the abundant crops…was focused on one thing…Himself…it was all about me, mine and all for me…I could literally imagine him, being buried in his possessions, all the grain and goods, and wondering how he could even think to himself…that he would have a future, that would include eating, drinking and enjoying himself…

How would one, who is buried in all the things of this world….be able to lift their head above it all…and breathe in life…abundant life…

How would one, who is buried in all the things of this world, be able to truly enjoy the riches and the abundance of blessings revealed to us, in the people and beautiful created world, that we inhabit and share together?

As a people, raised with Christ, by our baptisms - our scriptures teach us to loosen the grip of those things that bind us to this world only…and to grasp tightly to the lasting things of God’s kingdom, a beloved community…setting our minds on things that are above, not only on the things that are on earth.

They teach us to put to death - greed and anything that divides us from one another, and to set our minds on the love of God which calls us to love one another, and the love of God which binds us together in this world, in a way that holds us all together, in the palm of God’s hands…ALL OF US….today and for always…

Last time I looked outside my window, walked down Lincoln street, attended a music concert, listened to the stories of others, watched the news on the tv, read the newspaper, looked up at the mountains, looked out across the ocean towards the horizon, that I could not possibly see beyond…it was so clear to me….that this is God’s world which he created for All of US…and there are millions of people all over the world who inhabit this earth…people who look different than I, believe different things than I do, live in different places than I could ever imagine…more people than I will ever meet and fully understand…yet, who are all part of God’s dream, of a beloved community…where we strive to love one another, as we have been so loved…from the beginning…

From the beginning, God dreamed of this world, a place where all would come to know, that indeed there is more to life, than the accumulation, and abundance of one’s own possessions…... He created this world, out of love, abundant love, for you and I, and all of the people and creatures of this world…And now, it has been entrusted into our care …and calls us to love and care for each other…and to love and be good stewards of all of creation…

This is not my world only, to do as I please without regard to the impact my choices have on other beloved children of God, who share this sacred earth and life with all of us……

Jesus reminds us of that today. There is more to life, than the accumulation, and abundance of one’s own possessions. Everything we are given is a gift from God, and is meant to be shared with one another, for the well-being of All God’s beloved children….for the building up of God’s beloved community…here on earth…as we envision it will be in heaven…

Every day, we are given all that we need. And so much more…But there are many among us, whose lives are at risk, because many of our choices and decisions are stripping them of their basic needs, and their human worth and dignity.

Our choices matter every day. In all that we are and say and do.

The decision is in our hands…

What will we do with all of this abundance that God has so graciously entrusted to us?

Let me close with a story…it’s in our hands…

It's in Our Hands, by Carter Heyward, Touching Our Strength

Once there was a wise old woman who lived in a small village. The children in the village were puzzled by her – her wisdom, her gentleness, her strength. One day, several of the older children decided to fool her. No one could be as wise as everyone said she was, and they set out to prove it. So, they found a baby bird. One of the boys cupped it in his hands, and said to his friend, “We’ll ask her whether the bird I have in my hands is dead or alive.

If she says it is dead, I will open my hands and let it fly away. If she says it is alive, I’ll crush it and she will see that it’s dead.”  So, they went to the women and presented her with this puzzle.

“Old woman,” the little boy asked, “this bird in my hands – is it dead or alive?” The old woman became very still, studied the boy’s hands, then looked carefully into his eyes.   “It’s in your hands,” she said.

“It’s in your hands.”

Our choices matter every day. Life and death choices for all of God’s people.  Our choices matter… In all that we are and say and do.

The decision is in our hands…as we are all held, together, in the palm of God’s hands…

What will we do with all of this abundance that God has so graciously entrusted to us?


Let us pray: Bind us Together (#73 – Praise Chorus Book)

Bind us together Lord, Bind us together with cords that cannot be broken. Bind us together, bind us together in love. Amen.



Rev Julie Platson

St Peter’s by the Sea Episcopal Church

Sitka, Alaska