St Bride's: Sermons

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Luke 12: 32-40

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32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

33 Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth.

34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

35 Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning;

36 And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately.

37 Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.

38 And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.

39 And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through.

40 Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.

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Today we continue to be locked into St Luke's Gospel.
 
The Gospel  today is lifted from the middle of a conversation - not only does it seem to hang in the air a bit, There are two distinct sections, probably part of the fact that Luke was recalling different conversations at different times, and has inserted them along with a lot of other separate teachings, in Chapter 12.
 
Prior to the reading we have just heard, we have the well known and much loved parable of the lilies being clothed in Glory. In that context Jesus was talking about not storing up treasures for ourselves.  
 
Not being burdened by cares and worries. Not carrying cares and worries in and about life as baggage, but striving for faith, and knowledge of and in a providential God.

This where we started the Gospel today we are told - "Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
 
I do not believe that Jesus discounts the importance of the material and the physical needs of people - of food and clothing.
 
He must have known the need for these, for I have no doubt that he and his disciples went hungry from time to time. The temptations at the start of his ministry to fill it with comfort when tempted in the wilderness with bread, is clear evidence of his understanding of that. But, he simply says, that life is more than food
 
If we are to take Jesus at his word then it would seem that we might be able to say that "anxiety" could be considered to be a form of atheism,  for that would assume that God is not a providential God.
 
To live in perpetual anxiety for the future is surely to miss the present and the opportunities of the present and ultimately the danger of missing life altogether.
 
Christians then, are called to a sort of a divine care-less-ness. Having knowledge of, and a belief in, this providential God.
 
Then - in the reading today the second half, that is, the emphasis moves to what seems to be the future, to the unexpected coming of the Son of Man.
 
That is the section about being dressed, ready for service and keeping the lamps burning.
 
The original point of the parable of the returning master was not however  future, but present.
 
Jesus was challenging the people to be ready to make an immediate decision in the crisis which confronted them: This was the coming of the Son of Man. This was in the present - in the person of the one who stood before and amongst them - Jesus Himself.
 
The Son of Man was and is present in the person of Jesus -  but after his death and resurrection however the early Christians adapted the saying to warn the church to be ready for his second coming.
 
We need to remember the episode in John - which, in  this context is worth reading again Chapter 13: 1-20. For it is John's emphasis that final judgement and eternal life begin now in Jesus, and with people's response to Jesus' words.
 
So we have in these sayings and in the Gospel readings of the last three weeks  a key word: " Watchfulness" and a key phrase: " alive to possibilities".
 
So to summarise the final points over the last three weeks of the gospel readings from St Luke.
 
Two weeks ago:  In the reading we had Jesus teaching his disciples how to pray aright in  the Lord's Prayer.

The essence of that prayer was through prayer itself building, acknowledging and maintaining relationships with,
 
•    God first.
•    God's gift of sustenance
•    And forgiveness for ourselves in forgiving others.
 
Then last week it was that  we are blessed by God, so that we in turn can be a blessing in the lives of others. That richness of, and in life,  is found in relationship with other people and with God. It is that which truly matters
 
And  today that Christians are called to a sort of a divine "care-less-ness". Having knowledge of and a belief in this providential God.
 
AND finally today  that in Jesus, the Son of man, we have eternal life - now.
 
To know this - to be "watchful"  and to be "alive to the possibilities" for each of us in our relationship with God - AND with one with another.
 
Amen.

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