Ninth Sunday after Pentecost
Readings- Isaiah 1:1, 10-20; Psalm 50: 1-8,23-24; Hebrews 11: 1-3,8-16; Luke 12: 32-40
From the Gospel according to St. Luke
First, “have your lamps lit…”. In the heat this summer we are constantly encouraged to keep hydrated. We are to drink, and drink, and drink some more. So, I do, water, Leigh’s iced tea, limeade. And I hope you, too, are hydrating well, and keeping safe. To have your “lamp lit”, we need to keep hydrated.
An everyday chore most of us engage in is keeping our cell phones charged. Every evening I plug mine in, and on some days I need to plug it in, to recharge before nightfall. Keeping our “lamps lit” is like the old Boy Scout motto, “Be Prepared”.
There is another dimension to keeping our “lamps lit” that also requires our attention. That is keeping our faith well nourished, hydrated, and charged, keeping our faith alive.
First in my book for keeping that lamp of faith lit is Sunday morning worship surrounded by a community of faith. We are refreshed by attentively absorbing God’s Word speaking to our hearts, and we are renourished as we receive “the Bread of Heaven”, and ‘the Cup of Salvation”. We are rewrapped in God’s love in worship and the rewrapping in God’s love continues at coffee hour among our sisters and brothers.
In addition to Sundays in the community, everyday prayer and quiet time strengthens our keeping our “lamp lit”. Without this daily routine, going from Sunday to Sunday, by Friday and Saturday the lamp can grow rather dim. Just reciting the Lord’s Prayer and imagining the congregation gathered around on Sunday assists greatly. Put in your hearts an additional prayer or two that will extend and enrich your time of prayer. Remembering by name those close to you in your prayers, is always a good lite enhancer.
There are two other practices that I find helpful in keeping the lite shining brightly in these challenging times. Dropping coins in a mite box at the end of the day with a simple “thank you, God”, is a way to refocus on the goodness we encounter each and every day. A second is when writing out checks, to review the checkbook for those times you have financially assisted in making the world a better place for all of us.
Be prepared; have your light lit.
Next, let’s revisit the line:
for the Son of Man [Jesus] is coming at an unexpected hour…
Was the Samaritan expecting to find a beaten man on the road to Jericho?
Was Stephen, being stoned to death, expecting the great missionary to be, St. Paul, standing with the gathered crowd, listening to his dying words?
Was Zacchaeus in the sycamore tree expecting that Jesus would look up and invite him to share his dinner table with him that night?
Was Nicodemus planning to offer his burial tomb to the newly crucified Jesus?
There are in fact opportunities to meet Jesus every day; opportunities to partner with Jesus every day; opportunities to serve with Jesus every day; opportunities that are unexpected. We keep our lamps lit, prepared for the unexpected.
Finally, for us to be “dressed for action” is to be clothed in God’s love for us. God is love, and when we are dressed for loving action, we are wrapped in God’s love, ready to love; our hearts are open to others, and we are ready to extend our arms of love.
Today we recharge, to make sure our lamps are lit and shining brightly.
Today we drink in the love offered by God, and we drink in the love that surrounds us here, in this place, among these People of God.
And today we prepare for all the opportunities God will place before us to serve and partner with the Holy Spirit, active in our neighborhood, our community, our commonwealth, our nation, and our world.
Be dressed for action; have your lamps lit; for opportunities are coming at unexpected hours.