Collect and Readings for the Seventh Sunday after Trinity – Hosea 11.1-11, Ecclesiastes 1.2, 12-14; 2.18-23, Psalm 107.1-9, Psalm 49.1-12, Colossians 3.1-11, Luke 12.13-21
The Prayer for today
Lord of all power and might, the author and giver of all good things: graft in our hearts the love of your
name, increase in us true religion, nourish us with all goodness, and of your great mercy keep us in the
same; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy
Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Our culture runs on consumerism, and one of the side-effects of that is an encouragement of greed and increase in the daily temptation through the media to us that security, happiness and peace of mind come from possessions and self-indulgence. It is a myth which has enough truth in it to be dangerous. It undoubtedly helps to have enough to live on, but the wisdom of Mr Micawber holds true, all the same living within our means is happiness where finances are concerned, and sixpence over that is misery! Many know the misery of accumulated debts resulting from the pressure to live beyond our means and spend what we actually haven’t got.
It is a short step from being told that we haven’t got something to believing we need (rather than want) it, especially if we can see others who already have it. The ‘if only’s’ set in, with their accompanying sense of discontent and resentment. Equally dangerous is the possession of financial ’security’ which can kid us that we have no need of God, so that we shut down our spiritual antennae and grow increasingly oblivious to the needs of others and the glaring inequalities. The preoccupation with protecting what we own is good news for the insurance and home security firms, but bad news for the soul.
This week’s readings point out the foolishness of living in this way, and the wisdom of living with our security in the eternal things. Now that Christ has given us a new life, our insurance – or perhaps I should say ‘assurance’ – is kept with Christ in heaven. The whole yardstick of life is changed, and our time here recognised as only the first part of our full and lasting life. When we really grasp the implications of what Jesus has done for us, it is bound to alter our outlook on what is important to possess and what is of only minimal value.
It is not so much a question of giving away our possessions as changing our attitude to them and recognising them for what they are – pleasant comforts to thank God for, but lent to us to use, as good stewards, and in no way altering our real wealth and security.
Some things to reflect on:
· Is it possible to live in our culture without becoming materialistic?
· How can we help people see the value of this long-lasting spiritual wealth? And do we still need convincing ourselves?
God bless and stay safe and well.
Rev’d Fiona Robinson