Sunday 7th August 2022, Liz Roodhouse

All Age Worship

Luke 12: 32 - 40

Sunday 7th August  2022, Eighth after Trinity

Liz Roodhouse

I wonder what words stood out for you when Daphne read this first part of today’s Gospel reading from Luke. For me it was “Don’t be afraid”. It made me reflect on what I’m afraid of and what others may be fearful and anxious about and I started thinking about how my fears get in the way of my relationship with God and being happy in my own skin. Fear can be crippling and weigh us down. Our world seems to run on fear doesn’t it? Fear what we can’t see or don’t know and understand and the media fuels it.

I expect the sportsmen and women who have been competing in the Commonwealth Games this week have been afraid of failing to achieve their personal best. Many of us may be fearful of what the year ahead will bring with recession predicted and energy prices rising even more. Some of us may be afraid of making the same mistakes in a relationship or of disappointing others or of a medical procedure or of meeting a tight deadline when there is still so much to pull together. That’s the situation my daughter is in at the moment as she and her prepare to submit a bid for Leeds to host next year’s Eurovision Son Contest.

 In Uganda, Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia, where livestock deaths, failed harvests, water shortages and Covid are making life very, very difficult parents must be terrified that they will lose members of their family as a result of living in the worst drought conditions for 40 years. In Ethiopia I recently read that food costs were now 66% more than they were a few months ago. My fears seem so insubstantial compared – fearful of driving on unfamiliar roads, fearful of letting people down and a month ago fearful that I would say the wrong thing when I visited my dying mother-in-law.

So what are you scared of and how do you deal with fears? Please take a minute or two to think about it and then, if you feel able, share your fears with the people sitting near you.

So many fears can stop us being ready and expectant. But the God we believe in is a God of love and perfect loves casts out fear. So we mustn’t be afraid but trust in Him to provide all our needs. As Mother Julian of Norwich reminds us ‘all will be well’, for contrary to what might seem to be the case  God is in Charge. We must learn to trust that this is the case. How do we do that? I’d love to have a discussion about that but no time today! (Prayer, meditation/being in the moment – i.e. getting rid of background noise)

Let’s go back to the Gospel reading and put it in context. Jesus, whilst he’s travelling with his disciples from Galilee towards Jerusalem, is continuing to teach his disciples about what the kingdom of God is like and how the expectations are different compared to our human expectations. He is preparing them for what is about to happen to him.

Daphne is now going to read the second part of the Gospel reading.

Can you imagine the servants with their lamps lit waiting for their boss to return from a wedding he’s attended? They’d be chatting and laughing and no doubt some would be yawning and ready for bed. He eventually arrives home late – it must have been a very good party because not only is he late but he brings the party home with him and gets them to sit down and eat – he will serve them. Amazing generosity!! Servants treated as guests of honour.

So GENEROSITY is the second thing that stands out for me in today’s Gospel reading. This is the treasure that we are expected to be building up. I wasn’t in church to hear Susanne’s sermon last Sunday but I’m told it was about showing generosity with all the abundance that we’re given so that others are blessed and benefit from our possessions, our time, energy and skills.

Our God is a loving and generous God and he wants us to embrace generosity too. I think this is the readiness that Jesus has in mind – a readiness based on generosity and an accumulation of treasure in heaven where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. Generosity shown to each other within our church, village, local, national and international community. We’re all God’s children made in his image, with the same needs. Imagine a bucket of crabs all trying to claw their way out to freedom. To me this is the world we’re living in. We can unintentionally be that way competing with each other. How wonderful it is when someone gives us a helping hand up the ladder, or we get the privilege to pass the ladder down.

The words of the Gospel invite us to live as if the way of Jesus is true and really does cast out fear. It’s not easy, none of us are perfect, but we must keep trying. Even by responding in a small way our lives will show that perfect love does cast out fear.