Friday, February 23, 2007

First Sunday in Lent – C4 Bonus

First Sunday in Lent – C4 Bonus

Years C
Luke 4:1-13

A piece of wisdom from the United Methodist tradition - that which sustains life is to be dealt with according to this formula: Earn all you can; Save all you can, Give all you can. Alternative phrases include: Be Industrious; Be Frugal; Be Generous

One way of relating this to the temptations and turning them on their ear:

1) A temptation to a Lottery way of life. A temptation is to Wait for the miracle that will turn your stony life into one of pleasure, where bread becomes chocolate and caviar and cream. Somehow we don't have to till the stony ground and nourish it with water and mulch. There is work to do among the poor-in-property and the poor-in-spirit to transform them from a fixation on relying on a Lottery (either PowerBall or PowerExegesis).

2) A temptation to an External Saving way of life. A temptation to Rely on Mechanistic Salvation that will turn our perceived danger into one of a universal Get Out of Jail Card, where accumulated resources, strength of positioning, and other connections can cover the reality that every bigger barn will be called to account - tonight. Somehow we can hedge ourselves around with all manner of protections to keep us from feeling that which goes bump in the night - our security angels that promise to hold us up. There is work to do among the fearful and the satisfied to transform them from a fixation on relying on a leverageable economic position - a pile of money will be as hard to land on as cold hard ground and the invisible hand of an economic angel is not where life will ultimately be found.

3) A temptation to Staying in Charge way of life. A temptation to find a way to make it All About Me and my personal salvation, apart from the salvation of all, and thus avoid the integral part mission plays in a basic commission to not simply receive a blessing, but to be a blessing. There is work to do among dominionists and fundamentalists to transform them to take a stewardship responsibility for the earth and an evangelistic responsibility for the whole-story into the world.

This is a formula that must be read backward. If there is no impulse to give there is no motivation to be frugal with the fruit of one's labor or to invest labor in many small returns. Without the impulse to give we look for comfort first and find it accumulation of resources. Without the impulse to give we see our accumulated resources being our source of wealth rather than our on going investment of time and energy which will put us in a position to give more.

The most opportune time to get to us is when we are focusing exclusively on getting and having. Always we need to move on to a stage of integrity of giving, not settling for any previous state of receiving and storing that will ultimately leave us flat. If we don't keep a focus on a theology of generosity and expansive love we will settle for get-rich-quick schemes, reliance upon mechanistic buffers, and power and control over our resources and that of others and thus miss the joy of diligence that more might be given, the joy of frugality that more might be given, the joy of giving that more might be given.

= = = = = = =

joy joy joy
comes in the morning
anticipating giving
justice justice justice
comes in the day
earning honestly
peace peace peace
comes in the evening
daily bread shared
hope hope hope
comes in the night
satisfaction enough

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