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Meditation on the Trinity

The readings for Sunday, May 27, 2018: First Reading: Isaiah 6:1-8 Psalm: Psalm 29 Second Reading: Romans 8:12-17 Gospel: John 3:1-17 Ah, Ho...

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Luke 12:32-48 AUGUST 8, 2010

When I was a child, I didn’t so much have a treasure chest as a treasure drawer, a place where I safely stored my valuables, my treasure. In that drawer I accumulated autographs of baseball players and professional bowlers, old pins from all over the world courtesy of one of my grandmothers; a pile of dinosaur fossils that I had collected along a roadway in upstate New York, baseball cards of some of my favorite players, my coin and stamp collections, a rock my other grandmother claimed came from a volcano in Hawaii, and drawings that I had made early Saturday mornings when I sat in front of the Television and drew along with Captain Bob.

Where your treasure is, there your heart will be.

If we went on a treasure hunt in our own individual lives, when we finished travelling here and there, over hill and over dale as the saying goes, when we reached “X” marks the spot and we dug with passionate fury, when the chest was unearthed and the lock snapped off and the chest snapped open, what would we find there?

Where your treasure is, there your heart will be.

Our heart will be there, that is what Jesus says, but with what will our heart be keeping company? Not what we think is there – because we could certainly all give the best possible answers that cast us in the best possible light - it is human nature to say what we know we should say – but rather, what will actually be there? What is our treasure? Now that is a useful question.

If we want to understand what our treasure is perhaps we should consider what choices we are making – where does our time, our passion, our energy, our resources go? With whom do we spend our time? In what are we investing?

Is it our faith? Is it Jesus? It is one thing to say that Jesus is the treasure that lives ever with our hearts and another thing altogether for that to actually be the case.
It is one thing to say it and another to live it.

Let us consider a question: how many of us know someone who has said that what prevents them from being a part of the Christian faith community is their belief that Christians are hypocrites – that we do not walk the talk – that we say that we love the Lord our God with all our strength, all our mind, and all our spirit and that we say that we love our neighbor as ourselves, but those beliefs are not in point fact embodied in our everyday lives.

Do we know people who stay away from the Christian faith community because they disdain the hypocrisy that they have found there? Maybe they were Christians and left. Maybe they know Christians and their experience keeps them away.

It is like they got to peak at the treasure of our lives and found our hearts keeping company with things that turn them off or even scare them.

I know what a lot of us are thinking – that as the saying goes – Christians are not perfect, just forgiven – That folks hold us to an impossible standard – that such folks are only looking for an excuse.
And we are not perfect; this is most certainly true. And we are forgiven – that is most certainly true. And in the waters of Baptism we have died to sin and we have risen to new life in Christ – that is most certainly true. That we live as both saints and sinners – each of us. True, True. True. But Jesus reminds us today –

Where your treasure is, there your heart will be.
We cannot escape that truth:

Where your treasure is, there your heart will be.
What is our treasure – what is keeping company with our hearts, my friends?

A few years back one of our young people went during her summer vacation to Spain as volunteer at an AIDS home run by the group BASIDA. In her emails home she spoke about the volunteer staff there – not the people who came and went every few months – the cadre of folks like her, but the folks who had made caring for the residents there their life’s work. Listen:

“But the volunteers here who have dedicated their lives to this - those that choose to stay by [the resident’s side] and care for them, despite whatever poor decisions [those residents] made in their past are the people I really admire. They fight everyday for little or no progress. In their heads, it doesn't matter if Isabelle will never walk properly again, she still has to do this leg exercise everyday because she just might improve. I don't know if I could do that, but I can certainly appreciate someone who does.

The worst-off resident here, Hassan, is the closest thing to skin and bone that I have ever seen in my life. He is so ill that he literally cannot do anything, except sometimes he cries. Yet everyday Hassan is given medicine, showered, dressed and fed (through a tube in his nose) just like everyone else. When he is not in bed he is put in a chair in the TV room where he can see sunlight. For me, this is the hardest thing to comprehend. Hassan has no family that visits him (in fact, no one here has a family) and not a single thing in the world that he can do on his own except breath, yet the volunteers here see the beauty in his life and literally chose to keep him alive every single day. I'm not saying that I wouldn't do the same for him or any other; I'm just so in awe of how selfless these volunteers are who will themselves to give so much for nothing in return, not even a thank you from those they serve. It's truly incredible.”

Where your treasure is, there your heart will be.

When the treasure chest of their lives is opened, what will those selfless volunteers find nestled with their hearts? What is their treasure?

What our faith says to us is for us to be honest with both God and ourselves – if the company that our hearts keep does not bear witness to the one who gave his life for our lives – then we need to ask God to forgive us – that is what disciples do – and God will. We need to ask God to give us the strength and wisdom to make better choices. That’s what disciples do - and God will. We need to encourage one another as brothers and sisters in the faith - to spur on one another to embody more and more in word and deed the incalculable grace of God which is beyond our ability to even comprehend.

Where your treasure is, there your heart will be.


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