Albert Einstein once said:
“The world we have created is a product of our thinking.
It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”
The challenge to change our thinking comes swiftly and frequently in our Scriptures.
Today’s readings can lead us down a path full of challenges, to a place where we can engage with both our deepest dreams and our deepest regrets – and it begins with the story of Job…one of the most powerful stories in the Bible – which attempts to deal with the most difficult of all theological questions: the subject which is called Theodicy – “God’s justice”
The question which Theodicy asks is this: “How can we speak of a loving God, when bad things happen to innocent people?” Job was an innocent, honest and righteous man, who believed that God was also just and righteous.
However, when everything went wrong in his life – his sons and daughters were killed in a disastrous accident, he lost all his livestock to thieves, and his health failed him, he sought an interview with God Almighty, to find answers to this question of Theodicy. But he could not find God…
“on the left he hides, and I cannot behold him;
I turn to the right, but I cannot see him.
16 God has made my heart faint;
the Almighty has terrified me;
17 If only I could vanish in darkness,
and thick darkness would cover my face!”
We are with Job, aren’t we? This is the human condition. We struggle to understand a God who is described as just, when bad things happen to good or innocent people. I am reminded of the many natural disasters which are occurring around the world; earthquakes, tsunamis, famine. Regardless of anything,the people displaced, killed, left homeless, in grief…. are largely innocent. They may even have been good – like the rich man in the gospel reading today, who cannot bear the idea of selling everything he owns and giving it to the poor. Most of us are like him. Good people. Honest people, who try very hard to understand what is required. But the thought of such radical action is too frightening for us.
Yet, Jesus looked at him and loved him. Jesus looks at us with love, too. Regardless of how poorly we might respond to his call to radical discipleship. The truth is, we may not know when we will be asked to give something up for the sake of the Good News. For some of us, it may be something huge, and for others, something precious. But we are all called to reflect, to take stock, to try to understand what it means.
For me, the thing Jesus saw very clearly in this rich young man, was that he was worshipping in his head, but not with his heart. He knew the commandments, and obeyed the law to the letter; but he still loved his possessions with more passion than he loved the Law.
The challenge for me, and for us, is to love Jesus, and his radical Good News, more than anything else. In the rule of God, everything is upside down. Those who seem to be powerless will defeat the strong. Those who seem ridiculous and stupid, will be found to be wise. Those who have nothing will be the rich, andthe proud will lose face. When Jesus says to us, in the private depths of our hearts;
“go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, then come, follow me.”
How will we respond?
Where our treasure is, there our hearts will be. If our treasure is Jesus Christ, we will find the strength somehow, to do what is necessary.
This is the time of year, when we approach our AGM. (28th October, 2018, following our joint service at 9.30 am at St. John’s). Please pray about the possibility of nominating as a member of Parish Council, or a warden. Our parish needs good leadership. Perhaps you can think of someone you would like to nominate?
Meanwhile, enjoy the Springtime and God bless you