Saturday, September 22, 2018

Character Sermon based on Genesis 39:1-23; Sept 23, 2018

Rev. George Miller
Sept 23, 2018
Genesis 39:1-23

I’ve been a servant in Potiphar’s household for the past 4 years, sold to him as an indentured slave, with 3 years left to go before my debts are forgiven, and I am set free.

Because of my gifts of communication and flair, I get to work in the home while many others are out in the fields.

Though I’m educated, able bodied and able to feel compassion, I and the other servants are treated as things; objects; and less-than human.

It’s not an easy life, but it’s also not the hardest, as long as I keep to myself, don’t rock the boat, or complain too much.

The biggest issue is Potiphar’s wife. She has a way of being…overly friendly. Oh, it’s not much- just a pat on the butt here, a pinch on the cheek there, a random comment about my appearance, a tussling of my hair.

All very minor, really. Innocent seeming. Yet, it doesn’t feel right. It’s not like I want her to touch me, or invite her to do so.

But I also don’t speak up or say anything at all. I don’t want to upset my master with only 3 years left to go.

Besides, even if I was to complain, I have no rights or legal recourses. I am just a possession to do as they please.

So I just do my best, do my job, and try to stay out of her way.

So, I was sort of glad when this Joseph fellow joined the household staff. He was a Hebrew sold into slavery.

Potiphar’s wife took an instant shine to him, and what wasn’t there to like? He was tall, handsome, exotic, smart, and successful.

Still, I felt bad for him when she started diverting her attention to him, complimenting him on his muscles, on his smile, his skill. Soon it became clear that she was thirsty for him and had set her sights on sleeping with him.

Yet, Joseph kept telling her “no” and turning her down, saying it was not right.

Then one day, while I and the others were outside having our lunch, we heard this horrible scream.

It was Potiphar’s wife. She was holding Joseph’s coat, saying that he tried to rape her. Later that night she reported the news to her husband and Joseph was sent straight to jail.

It shook us all to the core.

But to be honest with you, I don’t know what to believe.

I’m a big believer that is someone reports they have been violated, mistreated, or abused, we should believe them.

On the other hand, to see a potentially innocent person punished, possibly even castrated or put to death, is real difficult for me.

So, I just bite my tongue, bide my time.

Though we may never know what happened between those 2, here is what I would like to share with you-

how Joseph thrives, even in the worst of situations.

When he first came here after being sold into slavery by his brothers, Joseph seemed to have an aura about him. Like, no matter what had happened, he was going to push through.

We all saw it. How though he had been beat down, he walked with a sense of purpose and pride. The things he touched seemed to grow and prosper.

It seemed as if he was truly favored and the gods were watching over him.

Even when he was cast into jail and spent two years locked away, his spirit did not seem to break. He became a shepherd to the other inmates, earned their trust, and shared with them words of hope.

From time to time I would visit Joseph, to check on him, to see how he was doing, and through it all he seemed as if things were well with his soul.

One day I asked him “Joseph, how can this be? You were sold into slavery by your brothers, accused by your master’s wife, and locked up in jail. Yet you seem to prosper and grow.”

To which Joseph responded “It is all because of my faith in the LORD, my God.”

Then Joseph told me the faith story of his family.

He told me about his great-grandparents Abraham and Sarah who were very much in love and very very old when they had their first child, his grandfather Isaac.

Joseph told me of how Abraham and Sarah had no children when God called them to get up and go, leave their kin-folk and country so they could journey to a new place in which they would have family, land and be a blessing to all the families of the world.

He said their story of trust, patience and God’s actions in their life was enough to keep him focused and to look beyond his current situation to see how God was using him to bless others.

He then told me this story about his great-great ancestor Noah, from 23 generations back who had built a giant ark and survived a giant flood that wiped the world away.

He told me how his ancestor Noah spent nearly a year inside that ark as it rained and the tides subsided before stepping on dry ground.

Joseph shared that even though it seemed the world had ended, God looked upon Noah and remembered him.

Joseph claimed that if the Lord, his God could look down upon Noah in the ark and remember him, then that means God could look down upon Joseph in the jail cell and remember him too.

That gave Joseph a sense of peace.

He said that if God could call a barren couple in their old age, give them a child 25 years later, he knew that he too could trust God, find a way to be patient, even if things seemed to be at a dead end, hopeless, and it was time to hit the panic button.

Joseph had such a way to share his family’s story, and to share his faith.

It wasn’t fake faith, or a sit-idly-by-faith.

Though he had been unfairly victimized, he did not play the victim, but a victor.

He worked really hard, constantly discovering ways God could act through his current situations.

Because of his ancestors Noah, Abraham and Sarah, Joseph was able to
have patience, faith, and grow even in the midst of obstacles, allowing his journey to be a blessing to others.

His faith and his testimony about the Lord his God has become contagious, inspiring those he is in jail with and those of us left working at Potiphar’s house.

In closing, I still don’t know who or what to believe. But I believe this to be true:

The Lord is with Joseph.

The Lord is working through Joseph’s predicaments.

And if the Lord remembers, knows, and loves Joseph and his family, then the Lord must also remember, know and love me and mine as well.

That simple truth is enough for me to make it through another day.

Amen and amen.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Sermon for Sept 16, 2018

Rev. George Miller
Sept 16, 2018
Genesis 12:1-9


Jesus said that the greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul. The second is to love your neighbor as yourself.

Marriage counselors will tell you that there are many different languages of love.

There is the love language of Touch, which starts when we are a baby, and we are picked up, held, and fed.

As consenting adults, this language can be expressed through kisses, holding hands, and cuddling on the couch.

Acts of Service is another love language in which we do simple things like take out the garbage, run out to the store for their favorite ice cream, put air in their tires and fill the tank with gas.

There are Words of Affirmation, especially said in front of others, in which one says “Thanks”, or a text that says “You’re the best,” or a card of appreciation. Supposedly men thrive on Words of Affirmation, and the more they hear it, the more they want to do.

Then there’s the love language of Quality Time, which women are said to thrive on. Time in which we give someone our undivided attention, turn off the TV, put the newspaper down, and look into their eyes as they enter the room; time to talk, share their day, and to just be.

These are just 4 ways to say to a person “I love you.”


We’ve spent so much time over the past 40 years discussing love, especially as it pertains to marriage, divorce, cohabitation, who has and doesn’t have the right to legally marry, and just what is the traditional definition of marriage.

What makes this all even more interesting is that historically, marrying someone for love is a new phenomenon. In fact, for all of human history, including today, polygamy is the world’s most enduring, and traditional form of marriage.

It’s true. For thousands of years love was the last reason anyone got married. Spouses were workmates who struggled together to produce food, clothing and shelter.

Over the centuries people got married for many reasons- political alliances, to raise capital, and to build up the workforce by having babies.

In ancient Greece you did not get married for love, you got married for inheritance. In Rome marriage was a political move. In Europe, leaders acquired wives as a war strategy.

For eons love was not the point of marriage; getting families together, having children and producing heirs were.

The idea that couples wed for love was looked down upon, seen as anti-social, and, in France, a “derangement of the mind.”

Believe it or not, the idea of marrying for love did not begin until the 18th century, due mainly to the French and American Revolutions.

These wars promoted a person’s “right to personal happiness.” Then, as the Industrial Revolution swept across America and Europe, more and more people could meet their needs without getting married.

Less people lived on farms and were attached to the land, so they didn’t need as many children to do chores, and spouses didn’t have to be work-mates

Women didn’t have to depend on their parents for putting up a dowry; men didn’t have to wait for their inheritance.

Around 1850 for the 1st time ever, personal fulfillment became the primary goal of marriage and spouses looked for a soul-mate instead of a work-mate.

Now, studies are showing that contemporary families are falling apart faster and faster, and it’s not because women are in the work force or gays are getting married.

It’s because young lovers don’t have the skills, will and commitment to do things like clean up after the wife is sick, or listen to the husband’s endless fascination with football, stay by her side when she’s fired, or when he has Alzheimer’s.

Many couples today don’t know how to turn the initial spark of love into a deeper burning that lasts through all situations.

So, by now you’re probably asking: Why are we having this long history lesson on love and marriage?

Because today’s story is about Abraham and Sarah, the ancestors of our faith.

Scripture tells us that Abraham was 75 when God called him to “Go!”, while chapter 11 vs. 30 tells us that his wife Sarah was barren, with no children.

We hear this information and wonder if he was really that old, but do we take the time to realize what it means to say they had no children?

Think of all that was just shared with you. Think of the culture and time they lived in.

The sole point of Abraham and Sarah being married was so that they could have children who could take care of the land, put food on their table, and carry on their name.

To not have any children at that time and in that culture would have been pointless, a shame, and an embarrassment.

Yet as old as Abraham was, he and his wife Sarah had no kids to their name.

Now, they would have had options.

Abraham and Sarah could have adopted.

He could’ve participated in polygyny, which is marrying someone of the same social status of Sarah, or polycoity, which is marrying a woman of a lower status in order to produce an heir.

In some cultures Sarah could have had sex with Abraham’s brother to see if she could conceive.

Or, Abraham simply could’ve divorced her, allowed her family to ostracize her for not producing any kin, and marry someone else.

And yet, at age 75, Abraham had done none of these things? Why not?

Why would he have stayed married to Sarah? Why would he have endured the questions, the skeptics, the judgments from others when he could have easily found someone else?

What would have kept them together for all those decades if the sole purpose of marriage was to have children and leave a legacy????


Dare we say that it was love that kept these two together?

And if it was love, why does this matter?

Well, as we embark on this Narrative Lectionary and read through the Bible, we witness the people of God becoming recipients and bearers of the Covenant, and we begin to see the connections and the common threads.

People will talk about the faith of Father Abraham, or his patience and trust in the Lord.

People will talk about the mistakes both Abraham and Sarah make along the way, of how Sarah will laugh at God or mistreat her servant, or how Abraham came this close to sacrificing his son.

But how often have you ever heard people talk about just how much love Abraham and Sarah must have had for each other?

How much love these ancestors of our faith must have had:

Love that saw them through barren years.

Love that saw them through the leaving of their country, their home, and their people.

Love that would see them through strange lands with strange customs.

Love that would have seen them through trials, tribulations, threats and their son’s Terrible Twos.

Love, that no doubt, would have seen them through the dimming of their eyes, the loss of hearing, and the fading of their memories.

Love that would have taken them to that place of caring for one another even through sickness and loss.

If Abraham and Sarah were truly in love, then that means we are spiritual descendants of love.

If Abraham and Sarah were truly in love, that means our faith’s foundation is in love.

Perhaps we see no better example of this then in Genesis Chapter 23, in which an entire chapter is devoted to Sarah’s death and burial.

62 years after today’s reading, Sarah takes her final breath. Abraham is so full of grief that we see him weep and mourn. Wanting to do right by her, he goes to the locals and begs for property.

He offers to pay full price for a cave to place her body in. The people are so moved by his emotion that they offer him not just the cave, but the land it is on, and all the trees that surround it, for free.

But Abraham pays full price so he can properly, faithfully bury his wife.

If that is not love, what is???

In closing, we are not just people of the Resurrection. We are not just people of the Cross. We are not just people of the Commandments, or the Covenant.

We are not just the survivors of the Flood.

We are people born from love, made to love, called to not only love God, and to love neighbor, but to be love, through kindness, justice, and worship.

A final image to share. In chapter 12, v. 6, we have this mention of Abraham passing through the land, to the oak of Moreh.

Scholars have spent centuries wondering what this significance of this tree could be.

Here’s what I like to think. It’s kind of goofy and there is absolutely no proof, but…I like to think that at that tree, Abraham and Sarah, like two young lovers, got to take a moment in which they rested.

I like to think that at the tree of Moreh they got to speak the love languages of Touch, Affirmation, and Time; just the two of them.

And that afterwards, Abraham would have stood up and like a giddy teenager, he would have carved into that tree: “A & S 4ever”.

And if he so, then that tree would be part of our salvation story, just like the cypress wood that made Noah’s ark, just like the tree that made the Cross.

If so, that tree can be a reminder that the roots of our faith run deep, we are grounded in God’s love for us, and a reminder that we are remembered.

May today’s message be a blessing to us, and a reminder that we are children born out of cosmic love.


(Info on Love/Marriage taken from
“Love and Marriage: A History That Challenges the Notion of ‘Traditional Marriage’” by Peggy Fletcher Stack (2014)

“The History of Marriage: Why Marrying for Love is a Newer Idea Than the Printing Press” by Logan Ury and Eli Funkel (2017)

“Marriage, A History” by PT Staff (2005)

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Sermon for Sept 9, 2018; God Remembers US

Rev. George Miller
Sept 9, 2018
Genesis 6:5-22; 8:6-12; 9:8-17

Tomorrow marks a year since Irma made her way across Highlands County, ravaging Florida, and responsible for over a 100 deaths.

The storm caused us to close our church. Batteries and bottled water were in high demand, and the whole country watched as the reports came in.

It’s impossible to forget the moment the storm overcame us, the hours of ceaseless wind after the worst was over, the sidewalks overrun with rivers of water, and the uprooted trees that made it look like a bomb had blown up.

Do you recall the first night after the storm, in which there was no electricity, but we were happy to be alive, and you could see all the stars in the sky?

That afterglow didn’t last long as the cool breezes stopped, humidity rose and another rainstorm hit.

By Wednesday there were long lines waiting for gas. People driving to Okeechobee to get fuel to keep their generators going. The sense that neither the state nor Duke Energy were able or willing to help.

That slow process of waiting for the electric to come back on, bit by bit, block by block.

A week, a month, a season, a year later and things have not returned to normal.

Too many homes still with blue roofs. The town of Venus dealing with earth that never ceases to be wet and homes that are still being flooded from the floor up.

And, if we’re to be honest, the entire state has been holding its breath all summer long, anticipating another storm.

So it’s appropriate that today’s scrpture comes from Genesis and is about the Great Flood.

Today’s reading is one of the most primal, terrifying tales that one can imagine. An entire world is wiped out by a great bursting forth of water that reaches up to the highest mountains.

10 generations of all breathing life is gone, destroyed, and blotted out, while Noah and his small family of 8 are entombed in an ark that aimlessly sails over what used to be their homes, businesses, and places of worship.

How in the world has this story made its way into children’s books, nursery school ads and playpen mobiles when at its heart is the story of a god who says “Enough- it’s time to kill them all!”, then proceeds to destroy virtually every man, woman, child, cat, dog and pony?

How many of us have taken the time to full read this entire story, from chapter 6 to chapter 9? To realize that all we have here is a 3 story boat filled with 8 people and a bunch of animals.

How many have wondered just what this experience would have been like?

The growing dread and anticipation leading up to the flood.

The primal fear they would have felt as the waters broke free from the rivers and lakes and rain poured from the sky amidst thunder, lightening, and wind.

The sounds of scared animals. The screams of drowning people. The cries of help from neighbors, friends, child hood playmates…

…followed by the post storm stillness, in which Noah and his family would have felt both guilty, but glad to be alive, to look out and see the night sky full of stars.

The catching of their breath, the laughter, the giving thanks to God…

…followed soon by the boredom; the intense boredom. The waiting; the not knowing.

The aggravation that living in close quarters would cause. How they would get on each other’s nerves. Maybe Noah couldn’t stand the way his wife hummed. Maybe she couldn’t stand the stubble on his face.

Eventually after 40, 150, 365 days of being sealed up in the boat there would be fights among the 8 survivors; the triangulations; the teaming up against one another; the blaming; the shaming.

Not to mention the non-stop sounds and smells of the animals. The dander; their breath. Their poop.

The running out of supplies. The claustrophobia. The total lack of control. The false signs of hope.

The doubt- does God even remember us? Can God see us? Does God even know where we are as we float on these waters in a boat made of cypress wood?

…How many of us…

…How many of us may be thinking these very same things here and now?

How many of us today, or yesterday, or in the past year or two have wondered “Does God know the struggles I am facing?”

“Does God see me?”

“Does God even remember me at all?”

Thinking of our specific, cultural, geographical reality in which we are located, these thoughts may not be uncommon at all.

Here, in the center of the state separated from top notch hospitals, modern day museums, and Macy’s.

Most of us were not born or raised here. Most of us came here because of a job, or retirement, or moved here from the coast because the people and languages no longer seemed familiar.

Yes, there are great things about living here- we got the sun in the morning and the moon at night, a sky full of stars, small town sensibility and friendliness that can’t be found anywhere else.

But in reality, many of us, in some ways, are alone. There are those whose majority of their family is up north or spread around the nation.

Grandchildren, nieces, nephews are a long car ride and plane trip away.

No matter how much volunteer work you do, or acquaintances you have here, it can sometimes feel like you are in an ark, surrounded by 2, 4, 8 people at the most.

If we were to be honest, and allow ourselves to see the rain and acknowledge the waters, how many would say that as we age, we may feel as though we are facing our own wiping-away kind of storm?

The kind in which the friends you went to school with are getting very sick or dying away?

Favorite musicians and war heroes are being buried.

Family members are no more. Not just grandparents, but siblings, cousins, folk you played with as children that have taken their last breath.

The beloved family pet that is no more. The home you grew up in now someone else’s address.

Even memories are being washed away as we continue to lose our hearing, experience a dimming of our eyes, and no longer recognize the songs on the radio or the celebrities in the news.

It can be as though the world we always knew is being washed away and a 100 people becomes 50 becomes 25 becomes 12 becomes 8.

As the floods rise and consume the past, the present, and the future, we feel the walls of our own personal ark getting closer and closer, left to wonder if God remembers and if we matter at all…

How much do you think that Noah thought these things, as did his wife, their children, and perhaps even the animals on the boat?

These deeply spiritual questions were no doubt on the minds of Eve and Adam when they left the garden, Sarah and Abraham as the wandered the land, Joseph as he was cast into prison, and Jesus as he hung dying on the Cross.

These questions of “Do I matter to God?” “Does God see me?” “Does God remember me?” are as old as time and as powerful then as they are now.

One reason we have the Bible is because people needed to know and passed on the assurance that when we face our own cross, when we come across our own sea, when we are left wandering in our own wilderness, when we are facing our own floods, that it is not for naught and we are not alone.

Assurance that even when our world becomes limited to a few places we can go and a few people we know, that God is still real, and God is still besides us.

How can we make that claim?

Because we can look at this narrative and see right here in chapter 8, verse 1 “But God remembered Noah…and the waters subsided.”

What a beautiful line: God remembered Noah.

Though the floods had come; though all seemed lost; though situations were not easy, Noah and his family had not been forgotten by God.

God knew exactly who they were and what they were going through. In fact, God had never lost track or lost sight of them.

The statement that God remembered does not imply that God could ever forget. It does not mean that God is capable of losing track of us or misplaces us like a set of keys.

In Hebrew, to say that God remembers means that God knows, and God is ready to act.

To say that God remembered Noah means that just like the sparrow, God’s eyes could see just where Noah was and what he was going through.

To say that God remembered Noah means that God could hear his cries, could hear the thoughts in his head, could hear the contents of his heart.

To say that God remembered Noah is to state that God had an intimate, caring connection with Noah, in which God loved him very much.

God remembered Noah because God was willing to be close to him when he called upon him and his family to endure the floods and difficult times.

God remembers. Even if we don’t.

God remembers, even when we no longer can.

God remembers, even when we refuse to remember God.

God sees us, even if our eyes can no longer see as clearly or as far now.

God hears us, even when our hearing aids crackle, whir, or stop working all together.

God knows where we are, even if we have moved away from everyone else, or go into the Palms, or across the state, or back up north.

And even if our own minds go, and we are no longer able to remember ourselves, God remembers.

Like the sparrows, God’s eyes are always on us.

Like the Israelites, God’s ears are always attuned to our voices.

Like Noah, God always remembers who we are and what we are going through.

Like the grace of God, there is nothing we can do to earn this. Like the rising of the Sun, there is nothing we can do to change it.

And like the rainbow in the sky, there is nothing we can do to control it.

God is active in our lives. God is present. God remembers us. God does not forget.

Amen and amen.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Sermon for Sept 2, 2018; Luke 12:13-24

Rev. George Miller
Sept 2, 2018
Luke 12:13-24 & Psalm 51:15-17

In West Africa there is a beautiful story told about a heavenly being called Aje Saluga.

Aje Saluga is the saint of riches and wealth.

One day, long long ago, Aje Saluga left the spiritual realm to journey around earth. She was very pleased to see all the small villages that appeared to share her gifts with one another.

However, as she moved closer to the city of Benin, she noticed the villages on the outskirts were in complete misery. She saw despair, famine, disease, and death.

It was clear that her riches were not being shared with these communities. She spoke to one of the local chiefs “Ah, this is a terrible thing!” she said, “My riches are abundant and meant to be spread throughout the land.”

The chief replied “All the riches of the land now belong to Benin City and none of it is shared with us.”

When Aje Saluga came to the city, the residents came out, singing praises in her honor. They were very happy to have her, and prepared huge feasts in her honor, hoping to get even more from her.

Aje Saluga was not pleased. “Why do these people with good fortune not help the people nearby?”

The next day she gathered the entire city to speak to them. “I am very happy that you welcomed me here, but I am sad at the misery I see nearby and that none of you cared to share your riches with the poor and sick. It is my wish that you show justice and kindness to your neighbors and share what you have.”

The crowd immediately became rowdy and rambunctious, ignoring her as they went back to their feast.

Aje Saluga returned to the heavenly kingdom and shared her concerns with the other saints. “I do not know how to address this concern. My gifts are enough for everyone to share, yet they are overcome by greed.”

A plan was devised to teach the people a lesson. The saints brought fire, lightening and strong winds over the city. Yet the people did not repent or seek out help. Fire, thunder, wind raged for days, weeks, day and night, yet the people never lifted up a prayer for wisdom or forgiveness.

Finally, after many many weeks, their king went to the high priest who told him “These things are happening because your city is plagued by greed while your neighbors suffer in misery with nothing.”

“What can be done?” asked the king.

“You must learn moderation in ALL things,” the priest responded. “You must invite your people to let go of their greedy ways. Then you must resume your ways of walking in faith and remember the joys of generosity.”

The king told the people what they were required to do and the next day, before the sun rose, they all gathered by the gates of the city, carrying gifts and offerings.

As the king and citizens of Benin moved towards the sacred ground, Aje Saluga appeared, walking towards them, singing. A brilliant light began to shine across the path in front of the people, lighting the dark skies.

Right behind Aje Saluga were the least of these- the poor, the elderly, the sick, the hungry, widow, the orphan, the naked, and the thirsty.

When the two groups of people met, Aje Saluga spoke in a heavenly voice “It is my wish that greed never rules your lives again. Always remember those who are poor and suffering. Share a portion of what you have been given in abundance. If you follow my teaching you will always have enough.”

The citizens placed their gifts and offerings before them, and as they did, the bright light began to dim as the morning sun began to rise. When the people returned to the city they saw the storms had ceased, and in its place was brilliant sunlight.

The people rejoiced and gave praises.

In this way, the African saint of wealth spoke out against greed and provided help for the poor. (This story is adopted from “African Narratives of Orishas, Spirits and Other Deities” by Alex Cuoco, 2014, pp. 376-381)

What you just heard was a take on wealth, in which being rich or having an abundance is not seen as a bad thing or a sin, but how greed and the desire to have it all at the expense of others is.

How do you think Jesus would have responded to this story? Considering that he lived where Asia and Africa intersected, he may have heard a variation of this story. Hopefully he would’ve enjoyed the insight it shared and the ending in which both rich and poor come together in coexistence.

As we discovered last week, Jesus was not afraid to talk about difficult or controversial things.

He addressed issues of sexuality like adultery. He addressed issues of politics in which he lifted God’s Kingdom over Rome.

He proved to be provocative when he told the masses to eat his flesh and drink his blood. He continues that trend by talking about greed.

When Jesus is asked to take on a legal matter, he sidesteps the matter at hand, using a story to do so.

Jesus speaks of a man whose farm has such fertile soil that it produces a wealth of abundance, more than any one person could ever need.

What does the man do?

Give praise to God? Give thanks to the Good Earth? Give his employees a $15 an hour raise?

Donate some of his surplus to The Shepherd’s Pantry or start a scholarship? Take his family and neighbors out to Don Joses for a celebratory feast?


The man has been visited by the gifts of abundance, and instead of living in balance, giving thanks, or reaching out to the community, building relationships, he turns completely inward.

He decides that he must destroy what he has so that he can build something bigger, taller, better to collect even more and more and more, all so he can have a party of one, eating, drinking, and being merry.

But in this story, the man dies as he lived- alone and not making a whit of difference in the world.

Though some may use this story to shame the rich or make it sound like saving for a rainy day is bad, this story is much more complex than that.

It’s an account about the dangers of living only for yourself and only living in the future, because we were created to be much, much more than just ourselves, and life is so much more about the past that could have been or the future that may be.

A life well lived is about living in the here and now, the present, with other people, with creation, and with God.

This tragic story of lonely, selfish greed is a teachable moment- that Jesus came to earth to share with us the Reign of God; to remind us through miracles and meals, mystery and wisdom that God’s Reign is not defined by haves and have-nots, but that God’s Reign is made known through an abundance of good things flowing out of God’s own generosity and love.

Jesus knew that all we will ever need to live a life worthwhile has already been provided by the Father.

God’s wealth and riches are so abundant and so spread out that they can be gathered by all and shared by everybody.

In closing, what we have here is another example of Jesus’ wisdom, and how his teachings cause us to wrestle, to rethink, and to wonder what it means to exist in the Kingdom of God.

Is Jesus is saying that being rich is bad or being poor is good, or is he getting us to ponder “just how much is enough?”

How much does wealth imprison a person or make one blind to what’s around them?

Does abundance create anxiety in your life or promote joy?

Do we clutch tightly to all we have or do we step forward to share a portion?

How much do we to trust that through God, what we have can be used to make the world better, brighter, and more beautiful, in which angelic song and heavenly light prevails?

Amen and amen.