As the summer rolls on, you may be getting some nice produce from your garden or from your neighbors' gardens. Maybe strangers are leaving piles of zucchini on your doorstep at night as they try to get rid of a bountiful harvest. It's a great time of year in my book. This week's gospel lesson includes a parable about a fellow who has a bumper crop from his fields. The harvest is so good that he tears down his old barn and builds a new one to hold all his wealth. But hold on! Just as he's ready to sit back and relax, God comes to collect his soul. Jesus used stories like this to help his followers then and now reflect on our relationship to worldly goods, helping us make sure our hearts and minds are right with the Lord. That's what we'll be looking at in this week's sermon.
Notes from the Preacher
I had intended to print an outline of a heart in the bulletin for folks to use for reflection but didn't get it put together. I think it worked well doing this exercise together, though. So about half way through the sermon we paused to think of the different sorts of things we stockpile in our lives. I was surprised at how quickly and freely the responses came! As you can see in the video, I arranged them to fit the shape of a heart, because these collections can easily take up the space that should be filled by the love of God for us and for God's people through us. We use our things to hide from our feelings of fear, shame, or anger, leading us to be less than fully present with God, our neighbors, and ourselves. This is what I think Jesus was warning against in the gospel lesson.
Here's a picture of the list we came up with in worship. You are encouraged to ponder what is on your own list, in your own heart, whether it is actual physical "stuff" or perhaps some emotional baggage that takes up just as much room. Once you identify these things that we desire, even though we have more than enough, pray that God may lead you to the freedom of releasing it and replacing it with free-flowing love and generosity.