By Pastor Wes Poole
And my God will fully satisfy every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. NRSV
On any given day, people patronize different markets or businesses to acquire goods or procure services. In a society as wealthy as ours, those goods and services are practically omnipresent. Anything we want is basically available at a moment’s notice. If it’s not available locally, we have but to pick up a smart phone or log onto Amazon and whatever we want will be on our porches in a few days tops. Our Western consumer culture is often demonized as promoting greed and selfishness. To be sure, there are elements in our culture that don’t always play well with the teachings of Jesus, but that’s not the point I want to make today. Coming off of the Independence Day celebration, I actually want to give thanks for the people who keep those goods and services available; who truly make this country great. From doctors to grocery workers to the ones working the phones at the online merchants, these Essential Workers are making it possible for us to care for each other. No doubt, we as a society still need to do a better job making those essentials available to everyone, regardless of race, gender, religion, financial status, or any other of the labels we tend to place on each other. Those conversations are always ongoing. For now, thanks be to God for those who have worked so hard to keep our communities healthy! We love you and are truly grateful for who you are and what you do.
1st Corinthians 12:4-5
4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5 and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; 6 and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. NRSV
In much the same way, the church can reflect our consumer culture. Again, while this can sometimes be troublesome, that’s not the point I want to make today. Sure, on any given Sunday, we might come to worship for any number of reasons. Some come for fellowship and social interaction, some for teaching, some for sacraments, or some for (hopefully) good preaching. Truth to be told, we probably come for any and all of the above in various combinations, but we come to have our needs met. That’s OK, because we need to be able to take care of ourselves, spiritually and otherwise, so that we can effectively meet the needs of others. The flip side is equally powerful. A diverse community with differing needs also brings a diversity of gifts to the table. Jesus knew this, and it was reflected in the radical inclusivity of his mission. Jesus loved and valued everyone, regardless of any other consideration. In the end, his sacrifice was for all, even those who had been his enemies. What this teaches us in the church is to value each other the way Jesus always has. The astonishing truth at the heart of the Christian message is that this life is not an “us vs. them” proposition. God is the source of all that we have and all that we can do, and continues to love and provide for us all in Jesus Christ. We know now that we are indeed all in this together, as we are always one in Christ. Thanks be to God for the wonderful diversity of His people and this Creation He has called good!
Let us pray…
God of all that we have and all that we can do, we thank for your manifold blessings. We thank you for the freedoms we enjoy and the opportunity to share those blessings with our neighbors. Help us always to see each other through your eyes, that we may keep celebrating our uniqueness and building one another up. For we know that your grace is sufficient, your forgiveness unconditional, and your love inexhaustible. We pray these things in the name and for the sake of Jesus Christ. Amen.
I hope to see you soon, but whether we worship in our church building or in front of screen, we are still the Church, God’s Hands doing His work in this world. Be well, be kind, and be safe!
Pastor Wes †