Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Your money or your life?

(This is a pretty close reconstruction of Sunday's homily: I'm mostly preaching extemporaneously these days, so any blogging of sermons is memory-dependent. Thanks be to the author of the commentary on Acts in the New Interpreter's Bible who sparked this train of thought).

7th Sunday after Easter
Acts 1:15-26

Your money or your life.

That's familiar scene in a lot of bad movies. "Your money or your life."

But it's also the theme of the author of the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts.

A rich young ruler comes to see Jesus. What will it take to get me into the kingdom of heaven? Jesus asks him if he's obeying the commandments. Yes, all that. Give up everything you have and follow me. The rich young ruler walks away, sad, for he cannot do it. He cannot choose to give it all up.

Your money or your life.

The parable of the prodigal son--the young man chooses his half of his inheritance over everything else--his relationship with his family, and squanders it all.

And in Luke's Gospel, we are reminded that "Blessed are the poor. . ." not "Blessed are the poor in spirit " as Matthew wrote, which has provoked many scholars over the years to wonder just how many wealthy people were in Matthew's congregation?

This morning's reading from the Book of Acts presents us with another choice--your money or your life. In Luke's story, Judas does not repent and give back the thirty pieces of silver he acquired to betray Jesus. He does not hang himself. Instead, he uses the money to buy land. Land means building a life--a home, a family, crops and flocks. But instead, he "falls headlong" or in other translations, "swells open," in a particularly gory passage for 10:30 in the morning and all his bowels gush out. What should be a field for life becomes a field of death. A field of blood.

Your money or your life?

Husband and I were up in Guthrie this weekend, and we wandered through a lot of the antique stores. When we left, I said to him, "there's a fine line between 'antique' and 'junk.'" It's amazing what we will spend our money on.

Developing a spiritually mature relationship with our money is part of our call. Money is neutral--simply something to be exchanged for goods or services. But it can becomes something else. But do we separate wants and needs?

A definition of addiction is that you are willing to sacrifice everything else for that which you are addicted to. . .

Your money or your life?

On this Sunday, the Sunday after the Ascension, we celebrate Christ taking human flesh into heaven, taking humanity to participate fully in the life of God. What could hold us back, keep us attached, weigh us down from ascending into new life in Christ?

Your money or your life. . .


At 11:26 AM, Anonymous Wonderland Knitter said...

Wow! Great food for thought!

At 5:29 PM, Blogger Prayerful Knitter - Shelly said...

Emily, this post is wonderful.



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