Reflection for July 19th

My reflection from Sunday’s online worship


Sermon Text

I don’t think I’m an especially good person. Nor do I believe I am an especially bad person. I’m just a person. I’ve done good things and I’ve done bad things; and I just hope that at the end, the balance will be in favor of the good.


I believe that most of us are like the field in Jesus’ parable, a mix of wheat and weeds, of good and bad. So, that means there aren’t bad people or good people in the world, just people. People who choose to do good or bad.


Of course, most of the choices we face each day are neither. There’s little moral weight in whether we choose coffee or tea in the morning for example. I think the truth is that few of us face, on a day-to-day basis, real choices to do good or to do evil. I have a really hard time imagining any of us waking up, rubbing our hands in glee, while we cackle imagining the wickedness we plan to unleash that day.


No, for most of us, when confronted with weighty moral matters, is the choice between doing good or doing nothing. To speak up or stay silent.


Most people are, I think a little bit selfish. I know I can be. I have preferences and likes and dislikes and I seek to have them met whenever I can – we all do. It’s part of being alive; we seek the things that will keep us alive or make us happy, food, shelter, safety, friends, etc. But it is an impulse that can easily get out of hand.


And modern life, with its distractions and demands, tends to push us to be more selfish. The marvels of the modern world make it almost possible to believe that we are truly and completely autonomous, thus leading us to believe that only our needs and desires matter.


One of the things to which this pandemic has opened our eyes to, if they weren’t already, is how much we really are dependent upon one another. The sense of autonomy has been shown to sit upon a shaky human period of essential workers who make it all possible while remaining largely out of our line of sight.


As Christians and followers of Jesus, this really shouldn’t have been a revelation. Remembering and seeing the marginalized and forgotten is kind of Jesus’ whole ministry. Jesus, literally, goes around in the gospel stories and pays attention to those whom society would prefer to not pay attention to and telling them “you matter.”


The other important thing Jesus does is that he builds community. He sends the disciples to out so that they can develop relationships with he forgotten, the overlooked, the marginalized, the essential but invisible.


Our calling as the church remains the same; to build relationships, to in the imagery of the parable, to plant the wheat seeds and to tend them so that grow strong bear good fruit.


In fact, community is the Christian answer to the problem of selfishness. Because when we understand how much we depend on others it can help us to also see how much others might depend on us. Community draws us out of our self concern and allows to live into our created selves, together.


Thanks be to God.

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