Thursday, August 3, 2017



    I was (surprisingly) asked to preach at a Kingston church last Sunday. Being a 'one-off', I talked, of course, on the one thing Jesus talked about, the Kingdom of God. This is usually a hard sell for churches to hear because what Jesus talked about, did and lived, was precisely that. His 'good news' was that the Kingdom of God was here, at hand, available and livable. Not some vague, nebulous and dreamy state in the future or after death, NOT as seen in churches. 
   How was this WAY recognized? By the fact that people were SHARING. Whether in Acts, the writings of Paul or the Gospels, the fact of SHARING is always present in the groups formed by Jesus and in the century later. It was a different WAY of life, beyond mere giving and formalities.
   We don't want to hear that. Living in perhaps the lease sharing culture the world has known, this idea is very hard to swallow. We get really defensive. We're OK with some giving (of what we don't need anyway), but to SHARE? That's a sign of weakness, and only what the poor might do, those that don't really have much to share in the first place.
   We can easily agree that we'd all like to grow in love. But we close our eyes, minds and hearts to the reality that we can't grow in love if we insist on keeping control of everything, that our whole purpose in life, in this culture, is enlarging of our control. Since real love is the giving away of control, we're in a real bind. 
   In sharing we give away control. This is the only way we can grow in love. And the more control (money, stuff, power, influence) we have, the less likely it is that we will see the truth and act on it. 
  We're still children of God, and well loved, but without sharing, we're going to live half-lives and be far from what is there for us. It's not a matter of 'going to hell'. Remember that Jesus never condemned those that didn't follow him. He was just sad.
   He must be very sad about churches. We rarely put before people the choice of really following Jesus, but substitute some  kind of 'belief'' for the real thing. Where are people really sharing? Very rarely in the name of Jesus of Nazareth. The truth is, many less are coming to church. Most can clearly see that we aren't searching for God. We merely believe that we are able to, if we want. But we don't. So they don't. Around us we can see many examples of people learning to share. But we're not among them. This is such a shame, for the world is in continuing crisis now because of people not sharing. How can we learn to share the world if we can't even do it as people? 
   How many of us have empty rooms? Can't we share cars? Do we really need control of all the space and stuff we've accumulated? Does it all make us more happy and loving? 
  It only takes a few to become 'salt' or 'leaven' as Jesus said. This is not a 'majority' calling. But a few are needed. We in churches have the words. We might 'become flesh' and follow, but I doubt it. We're just too rich, and you know what Jesus said about the probability of 'the rich' entering the Kingdom, that it's about as likely as a camel getting through the eye of a needle. 

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