October 18, Thursday, 7 p.m. Council.
Church Office Phone 419-798-4612 Rev. Kayís Home Phone 419-333-0433
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. You are welcome to call Rev. Kay at the church or at home anytime.
Tis' the season for giving. No not Christmas! Just the serious stuff of budget planning for next year promising to support the ministry, and yes the minister!
This week we have a "Jesus story" about a kneeling rich guy, more interested in what happens when he dies, than about getting food so he can live now (the inverse of most of our world). So he runs, kneels and falls.
Frankly, he just stumbles into his own sadness. He is more attached to his home and property than his faith. He encounters the Jesus of the Ten Commandments and ultimate allegiances, only to discover the disparity between his living and his faith. What he said and did was different than the "Jesus demands!" Now don't deceive yourself into thinking that this is not about you or that you are not rich. Almost ALL Americans are much more wealthy than the rest of the world. Just do a Google search. We many not be the top 3%, but neither are we in the bottom 75% of the poor of the world. Yes, we do need to run and kneel!
Who kneels any more? Not us! Not to a king or a queen, mostly not even in evening prayers if we have them. This Biblical story just doesn't really resonate. First of all, in Mark, it is a man. Secondly its a generic man, whom we discover in the end to be rich. Just a man, who runs and falls and says Jesus is good, then asks how to inherit eternal life. Who does that? Anybody with sense knows how to behave, what is right and just. Not only that, most of us don't even walk fast, muchless run. We do not run so we can kneel. We don't even kneel in front of anyone, most of us not even at the Altar. So how does this have meaning, unless we listen carefully to the end: about our Giving! Its about our giving. As we come into this year end of budget planning, its about our giving.
Katherine Matthews writes.....
A sincere inquiry I used to think this man was arrogant because he so easily claimed to have followed all the commandments since childhood. Where was his humility? And who can possibly follow all the commandments and not make a few major mistakes along the way?
But that's not the point: rather, this man is saying that he has done what was expected of him as a faithful and observant Jew, and that is a good thing. However, he is struggling with a deep hunger that tells him that there is even more to life than just doing what is expected of him.
The Law as gift, and then the next step
The laws of any (true) religion are a gift, a path laid out for us, a set of guideposts when we're not sure of the way. Jesus, in his response, isn't quoting a law, judging the man or laying a mandate on him. He's opening a door to the next stage, the next step, on the man's journey of faith.
Again, Zeffirelli provides a magnificent visual for this kind of experience, as Francis walks away from the town and out toward the countryside and the mountains. There's so much more ahead for him, not all of it pleasant or easy, and yet so rich and so full of power.
A breath of fresh air
At a point in history when the church was at a particularly low place in terms of integrity in its practice, when wealth and worldly power had led it away from its core values, Francis was the breath of fresh air who led to a time of renewal and rediscovery of the church's basic call to faithfulness.
"Rebuild my church, Francis," was the call he heard, and while he labored with stone (literally) to rebuild the crumbled sanctuary of San Damiano, his passionate response to the call to give everything away and follow Jesus was an inspiration that sparked a renewal of the whole church.
(A few years ago, we were told that the present pope has a similar sense of call as he chose the name of Francis upon his election to the papacy. Many people experience a kind of power in him to be a breath of fresh air in the church. I think many people around the world instantly felt the significance of his choice of a name, and keep him in prayer as he follows this path.)
Seekers right in our midst
Today we might call the rich man in Mark's story, our Gospel text, a "seeker," although we assume that most seekers have not necessarily been paying much attention to religious laws and requirements. (I find the lectionary pairing of this story with that of Job intriguing; Job was maybe the ultimate seeker with the ultimate questions.)
In fact, we tend to think of seekers as "unchurched," and we may be tempted to think that we need to teach them, these "outsiders," how to live as faithful disciples of Jesus.
Bucket list below!