MESSAGE – Twelfth Sunday After Pentecost – C – 28 August 2022

MESSAGE – Twelfth Sunday After Pentecost – C – 28 August 2022

MESSAGE: 12th Sunday after Pentecost 28 August 2022

THEME: DEPENDENCE ON GOD – Humility

Where is your seat of honour ……………….. in Church? At Diocesan SYNOD, at the Northern Region Clergy Conference? At a Church luncheon? At a party?

KINGDOM OF GOOD NEEDS A COMMITMENT TO GOD AND A COMMITMENT TO EACH OTHER

COMMITMENT TO GOD

The bible readings call us to choose what is worthy and life-giving. They call us to choose God and God’s ways. In Jeremiah, God accuses Israel of following other gods—mere “worthless idols” and “cracked cisterns.”
God alone is worthy.
God alone is the “fountain of living water.”

COMMITMENT TO OTHERS

Hebrews focuses on how we give life to others through acts of mutual love.
Implicitly, the writer calls us to choose commitment and connection to others rather than a life ruled by greed.

TABLE TALK – Metaphor for the Kingdom of God

  • Healing on the Sabbath
  • Lesson for Guests – sit at the lowest place
  • Lesson for Hosts – invite people that cannot repay you
  • Parable of the great dinner – People make excuses to not come, so the poor, crippled, blind, and lame are invited
  • The Kingdom of God: we bring more chairs so that ALL can be at the Table. This is the true nature of the Kingdom of God. Inclusive, all loving and all serving.

TRUE HUMILITY

It feels good to be honoured, and it is natural to seek the recognition we deserve. But what is natural is not always what is best for us. Our egos are insatiable, and when we are made to feel important, or when others begin to treat us differently because we are “special”, something can easily become corrupt in our souls.
When we become obsessed with the game of who is most important, and when we are always seeking the best seats at the table, our capacity to love, to serve and to honour others is significantly diminished.
This is why Jesus, noticing how the people at a dinner were playing this power game, taught that it is better to choose the lowest place, and to embrace an attitude of humility and service. This attitude frees us from the tyranny of our egos, and it ensures that we are not ashamed for assuming too much honour for ourselves. But, more than this, when we make a habit of choosing the lowest place, we keep our souls healthy. We maintain an ability to be with anyone, no matter what their status or position, and we nurture a capacity to love and serve all people.
Humility is not about devaluing self. It is about denying human-made status, and embrace equality of the other.
Humility was a counter-cultural concept. “His exhortation is to pursue humility, a concept with significant status connotations. Humility was very rarely considered a virtue in Greco-Roman moral discussions. Yet, humility is to mark the followers of Jesus” (Jeannine Brown, The Working Preacher)

Today, humility is often a lip-service virtue. People talk about humility as a virtue, but those who are exalted are usually not truly humble.

Humility is about an awareness of others (beyond yourself)

It is not denying your own power or ability or prestige, but acknowledging that others have equal power, ability and prestige and not assuming yours is more than others.

How can you release any desire to be treated as special, or to be honoured today?

Do:

One of the best ways to keep ourselves humble is to engage regularly in serving others – especially those from whom we can expect nothing back. This is why Jesus goes on to suggest that we invite the poor and the marginalised to our feasts. When we give ourselves in service, we learn to recognise the humanity in all people, and we receive far more than we give as our souls are liberated and inspired. Today, do something in service of someone who cannot repay you. In Luke, Jesus bids us to choose the way of humility and radical hospitality to all, not the way of pride and the exclusion of the lowly.

Pray:

Teach me to be a humble servant of all Jesus, and to release my need to be “special“.