Revd Sara’s Reflections Sunday 24th Sept Peace Sunday Responding to the reading: Matthew 12: 1-16 Reading these words from American theologian and pastor, Nadia Bolz Weber: I’m certain that scarcity is not something that God fears – after all, how many stories are there in the Bible of water appearing from nowhere, and flour and oil lasting forever, and manna from heaven and the feeding of thousands with a couple loaves and few fish. Scarcity is not the origin of value for God, I think the boundlessness of Gods own heart is the origin of value to God. I mean, come on, God did not create the heavens and the earth by holding back in case he ran out. In God’s economy, the storehouses of grace are stacked to the ceilings, and the gates are open wide. There is no fear for any of us that there might not be enough grace for us, or that it might not be available to us.
Are you somebody who finds it hard to believe in your own entitlement? Are you convinced that God’s abundant love and grace are actually scarce when it comes to you? Perhaps you’re like the workers in the parable who were hired later in the day and are convinced you will receive a pitiful wage as a result. It can be hard to believe, for whatever reason – shame, or self-loathing, or sadness – that God’s abundance is for us, too. Or perhaps, if we look again at today’s parable, we see another reason why not everyone is over the moon about this abundant provision. The workers who had worked the longest expected to be paid more than those who had just worked an hour or two. They were annoyed and grumbled about the fact that the idle workers had been paid the same. I wonder how many of us relate to those angry hard-working labourers? Working themselves into the ground all day, just to receive the same appreciation as people who’ve barely lifted a finger?
This parable is a lesson to us about privilege. Jesus is saying to those of us who suffer with a sense of entitlement: do you really think your privilege matters? Do you think you matter more than others? Do you, in some secret corner of your heart, think people with less than you are deserving of their lot? Examine your own deep sense of entitlement and then rethink what the Kingdom of Heaven might look like. Abundance for all is good news, but it might not feel like it if it means you are the one moving from first to last in the queue. And yet, if you can leave off your grumbling for just a moment, you’ll notice that your cup overflows as much as anyone’s.
God of this day, this time, this moment, God of abundant grace, Open my heart to you this day and always. God of every country, ever space and place, Help me to notice all the ways you pour out your love into my life. I come to you in prayer and worship, To pour back as praise all that I have received from you. God of abundance, It is plentiful, thank you, that it is plentiful. God of abundant grace, I am hungry for your love and forgiveness, You provide me with all I need each day, you made a way in the wilderness and give me food for the journey, and yet I have wandered from your ways, accidentally or on purpose. I grumble in the face of your generosity. I turn away ashamed from your love. I go back to ways of greed and selfishness. Help me and forgive me, merciful God. Pour out your grace into my heart today, Lord, It is enough, thank you, that it is enough for me. God of abundant grace, Bring me back to you, Forgive me all the ways I have strayed. Assure me of your faithfulness, your provision. Do your work of healing, and liberation, and transformation in me today, By your grace, It is sufficient, thank you, that it is sufficient. God of abundant grace, Thank you that you are here, right here, Working in this place, right now. Thank you that your way is not the way of the world Teach me to walk your way, every day, labouring In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Love and prayers Revd Sara