August 12, 2001

Luke 12:32-40

"... my dearest friends! The Father wants to give you the very kingdom itself.

"Be generous. Give to the poor. Get yourselves a bank that can't go bankrupt, a bank in heaven far from bankrobbers, safe from embezzlers, a bank you can bank on. It's obvious, isn't it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.

"Keep your shirts on; keep the lights on! Be like house servants waiting for their master to come back from his honeymoon, awake and ready to open the door when he arrives and knocks. Lucky the servants whom the master finds on watch! He'll put on an apron, sit them at the table, and serve them a meal, sharing his wedding feast with them. It doesn't matter what time of the night he arrives; they're awake--and so blessed!

"You know that if the house owner had known what night the burglar was coming, he wouldn't have stayed out late and left the place unlocked. So don't you be slovenly and careless. Just when you don't expect him, the Son of Man will show up."

<The Message >


1. Have you ever tried to substitute the phrase "presence of GOD" for the image of the "kingdom"? If this is done for a month or so we find ourselves opened up to the loving GOD so wonderfully seen by Julian of Norwich. It also becomes easier to see ourselves as "friends" of Jesus.

How have you found yourself entering into friendship with Jesus? Is it an idea? a doctrine? an experience? . . . ? This is a key to the whole passage. This is a key to the whole of life.

Not everyone comes to friendship in the same way. For some it is a magical moment. For some it is something grown into. For some it is always on the horizon and for others always a disappointment.

It would be helpful to reflect on friendship - both personal and congregational. How do you make friends as an individual? How does your congregation make friends? This will be an issue not only of one's personal morale but congregational growth. We often talk about that church word "discipleship" when we might more easily and constructively talk about encouraging folks to become "friends" with one another, with the Bible, with Jesus, with their self. I suspect we would be better off with a relativity of friendship/hospitality rather than the static/mechanical image of making disciples.

2. It is in friendship and gratitude that tables are able to be turned - servants are served. When we are friends we seek out the best for one another, even if it means staying up late to watch for (and worry about?).

Who are you willing to stay up late for? and why?

3. Don't you simply love surprises?

What! only "good" surprises?

May you be surprised by a new friendship this day, this week. May it change your life.

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