Year C Proper 14 Luke 12
People Get Ready!
People get ready
There's a train, a comin'
You don't need no baggage
You just get on board
All you need is faith
To hear the diesels hummin'
Don't need no ticket,
You just thank the Lord
In that turbulent decade Curtis Mayfield was calling people to a higher purpose. The chaos of the 60's left this nation in much confusion--from the Six-Day War to Viet Nam, from the assassination of JFK to Martin Luther King, . There were many reasons to be afraid during those ten years. But Mayfield, like many others, understood that something great was on the horizon. He could hear it like the distant hummin' of a diesel engine. You don't need no baggage; all you need is faith; don't need no ticket; you just get on board.
People get ready. This is the very message that Jesus is giving to his disciples. They are to be ready. They are not to be afraid; they are to sell their possessions—don't need no baggage. They are to be dressed for service and ready to open the door when the master returns.
The train is coming. One day Jesus will return and we must be ready. But how are we to prepare ourselves? For the answer to that question we must look closely at our text this morning for there are three ways for the people of God to get ready.
- We are to get ready by ridding our lives of fear.
- We are to get ready through spiritual discipline.
- We are to get ready by watching for the Master's return.
A Faith That Transforms, Not Just Adorns
Hebrews 11:1-2; 8-16
The beauty business is big business. Adorning ourselves, perfecting every perceived imperfection, curling what is straight, straightening what is curly, bleaching this/highlighting that, products that promise to make youngsters look older and oldsters look younger never lose their appeal. "Stuff" made out of low-tech squished fruit or high-tech spliced genes all promise to adorn and ultimately to transform our faces, save our skin, and sanctify our souls.
An Arizona based cosmetics firm calling itself "Philosophy" sells a moisturizer it calls "Hope in a Jar." The label on this jar of "hope" declares" "Where there is hope there can be faith. Where there is faith, miracles can occur." Here the cosmetics company provides (for a hefty price) the "hope in a jar." But the consumer must supply their own "faith" if they expect a "miracle" to occur.
We all KNOW that nothing we smear on our face, or rub through our hair, or massage into our "love handles" or cheese thighs is really going to defy the space-time continuum and strip away everything wrinkled, grey, or saggy. We all KNOW that if that super-secret skin serum being hawked on that late-night infomercial could really do what it claims, its manufacturers wouldn't have to be advertising it on a late-night infomercial.
And every cosmetic manufacturer in the world loves, depends, exists on this "but." BUT we do have "hope." The problem with this "hope" is that too often it is rooted in "hype." Unlikely. Unproveable. Unrepeatable. Unreliable.
Hope based on hype leads nowhere at best, hell at worst.
The passionate preacher of the "Letter to the Hebrews" didn't give his spiritually exhausted congregation a message of "hope" based on hype. He didn't weave them a yarn about a perfect life that was just around the corner. Instead, he spoke about FAITH...