Weekly Update: Quit it with the Money Talk Already, Jesus

St. George's Weekly
August 3, 2016

Dear friends,

Let me admit something. I hate it when Jesus talks about money and wealth, like last week. First, it's a tense subject. I don't like talking about money with other people, especially my own relationship with it. And secondly, when Jesus talks about money, he's really harsh. In this Sunday's reading (Luke 12:32-40), Jesus instructs his disciples to flat out "sell your possessions, and give alms" and that "where ever your treasure is, your heart will be also." When you're a preacher it's a pretty tough sell to people who hear, and for good reason. So my inclination when I listen to Jesus say things like this is to try to explain them away, or to lessen the hard edge of Jesus' sayings to make things more comfortable for me and my listeners. Something like, "Look he didn't really mean we should sell our possessions... just, you know, keep an eye for when things get out of hand."

I wonder if this is always the best way to look at the Bible, though. I am someone who definitely believes that we can't always automatically apply the bible to our present day and that we have to look for deeper meaning below the surface of things. But I wonder if sometimes when we do this we close ourselves to hearing something new and true about ourselves and our world. If we truly believe that Jesus is, in the words of A New Creed "the Word made flesh" (meaning God's Wisdom in the form of a human being), then we are compelled to give these words our foremost consideration without first explaining them away, trusting that the Spirit might have something to tell us through them. I'm not entirely sure what to make of Jesus' commands in this passage yet. But I wonder if we wrestle with the text as it is, we might discover something about ourselves and our world that we don't already know. Even if it might be uncomfortable or challenging for us. For me, I've found that it's the uncomfortable or challenging places where my most fruitful and life-changing encounters with the Spirit seem to happen the most.

I look forward to worshiping again with you this Sunday as we seek to wrestle with the "old old story" in order to hear a fresh and relevant word for us. I hope you are having a wonderful summer here in this beautiful place we are all blessed to live in and share.

Yours in Christ,
Rev. Ryan Slifka

PS: I will be away again on vacation from August 8-14. Rev. Murray Etty will be our guest preacher on the 14th. If you are in need of urgent pastoral care, Rev. Ray Brandon can be reached at 250-339-3889.

PPS: Thanks to all who were able to attend the congregational meeting this last Sunday. The proposed constitutional changes were passed without any difficulty.

PPPS: Please remember your non-perishable donations for St. George's food pantry this Sunday, as we'll be celebrating Holy Communion.