Sunday, March 6, 2011

A blessing and a curse

There is a radical nature in the Gospel today. Matthew completes the Sermon on the Mound section of his Gospel. A few weeks back we began with the Beatitudes, and spoke about how this was the springboard of Jesus' ministry and mission. As we finish, Jesus reminds us that faith is not simply about being in the general vicinity, but we have to have an intimate relationship with Jesus.
In the Book of Deuteronomy the invitation is to choose to follow the Covenant, or not. But it is offered as a choice between life of death. Moses tells his people that they may have a blessing or a curse, depending upon whether they follow the statutes and laws as prescribed in the Covenant. Following the law means that we are developing a relationship with God and all men and women, based on justice, love, and peace. These are important elements in our faithful response to all that God has given to us.
Eons ago, I remember this gentleman at the 'Y' who would park himself in the locker room. I would go for a swim, lift weights, and soak in the hot-tub, and come back to the locker room, where it would seem that this man had not moved. Did he think that simply being at the Y was enough to stay healthy?
But I think that we can do that with our faith too. If I pray these prayers, or get my kids baptized that will be enough. The theology of Stewardship teaches us to receive God's gifts gratefully, to nurture them, share them in love and justice, and return them with increase to God. Conversion and Discipleship asks us to go beyond looking through the 'store window' at faith. Faith and belief mean that there is a relationship with God that demonstrates itself in compassion and charity.
Aaron spoke similar words to these of Moses. His response was that for him and his people, they have chosen the Lord. Hopefully as we go into Lent we can make those choices and decisions which place us in the household of the Lord. It would be nice to hear God say to us, "Well done good and faithful servant, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world."

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