May we who are rich not avoid our responsibility to others, though it may cost us dearly.
May we be generous, though there may be no reward.
May our abundance not deepen our spiritual impoverishment,
Or blind us to material poverty.
May we remember that the wealth we enjoy, came from the hard sacrifices of others.
May we not be so foolish to think we’ve earned all we have.
May we not be so satisfied to think our work is finished.
May we not be so captivated by glamour or status, we forget who loves us.
May we say “I have enough.”
May we say “thank you.”
Isaiah 65:17-25 “The former things shall not be remembered or come to mind” and offers a vivid description of what was normal: precarity; death; calamity. God will create “But be glad and rejoice forever in what I am creating; for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy, and its people as a delight.”
It’s an opportunity to discuss memory – how it prefigures and affects how we live into the future, our hopes and desires. Can we ever see things anew? I may spend time reflecting on precarity itself. God looks forward to a time without sorrow; and this means a mitigation of the everyday calamities in biblical culture. One paradox is when we are so distant from precarity, we forget God.
Thessalonians is an exhortation within Christian community. How might Christians work with one another? Some Christians are lazy. The exemplars live by example, seeing to do well through encouraging imitation – rather than, perhaps, by diktat. I’m instinctively wary of the rigor of the command, but perhaps Paul reminds us of our obligation to each other. They seek avoid idleness but to work so that they might not be a burden. That said, what of people who are truly burdens? Within a community we share the work; but we still serve others who are destitute. We are still called to serve the poor; but we have high expectations of ourselves
“All will be thrown down.” Jesus gets apocalyptic here. He denies those who claim the world will end, and yet also giving instructions about what to do. Luke clearly thought Jesus understood that the end of the world was impending. This may be an opportunity to talk about transformation, and that we have nothing to fear.