Sermon Prep, Pentecost X

Colossians 3:1-11

Luke 12:13-21

A parishioner remarked “this is the time to discuss planned giving.”

I may, to shake it up a bit, begin with discussing why I love money.  I’ll declare I’m pretty rich – which I am, compared to most people in the world.  Just not compared to my neighbors.  And then my retirement plan.

There’s a bit more than simply “greed is bad” going on here.  Is it “greed is bad” and “you might die tomorrow”?  I remember tha bumper sticker:  whoever dies with the most toys wins.

Do I get political?  Billionaires who have died this year have been able to create little monarchies because they’ve been able to avoid paying taxes.

Richard Layard notes the limites of happiness.  Building a bigger barn won’t do it.

Catherine Caimano preaches a very good sermon, but I might try to make the challenges more severe.    there’s no way to get around the apocalyptic depth of the message.

Are we being encouraged to look busy?  To prepare for death?  Or Is Jesus implying, “don’t save up to party in the future!  Party now!”  Has the world so fallen apart, that our hands are the emergency rescue team for the earth?  And can we do it?   Should we?  Must we?

It is not an anti-abundance message, I suspect.  It is a challenge to acquisitiveness for its own sake.   Such tendencies are built on the foundation of our anxieties as we compare ourselves to others.   Why must we compare our lives so when the only judge we need to know is Jesus Christ?

Church Building RIP.

Today the AP came out with the following report.

About halfway through Sunday service at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, as worshipers passed around the collection plate, a chorus of screams pierced the air.

Chunks of the ceiling in the 52-year-old church near Hickory came crashing down on the crowd of 200 or so, striking about 14, who were later treated and released from nearby hospitals. A jagged piece of the ceiling, roughly 10 feet by 10 feet, dangled from exposed wires over the back pews as deacons struggled to guide panicking worshipers from the building.

“My jaw just dropped,” the Rev. Antonio Logan said. “I thought, ‘This can’t be real.’”

Yes.  Real.

Church buildings are an albatross around the church’s neck, especially for small congregations who have, as the cliche has it, an “edifice complex.”

Such a complex would be OK – but many parishioners are not in the habit of funding it; and newcomers haven’t built up a commitment to the church.  And sometimes it takes years.

To fund staff, maintenance, AND church growth is expensive, which is why church plants are often easier than church turnarounds.