My cousin Sally preached today and I sent Z and E downstairs with T so I actually was able to just sit and listen (and drink my Tim Horton's - okay I'm pretty sure I was breaking the unwritten rules of church, but it was still too hot while we were driving and I rarely buy myself Timmy Tea so I didn't want to just waste it - so I sat in the back in a pew by myself and felt guilty!).
The lesson today was the Sermon from the Mount (which in Luke was on the plain). Blessed are the poor for they shall be rich. Damned are the rich for they shall be poor. The full shall go hungry. etc. I've always felt pretty uneasy with this passage (and the similar it is easier for a camel to walk through th eye of a needle than for a rich man to get to heaven). Cause face it I'm rich; and I'm never going to be poorer than the 3billion who live on less than $5/day. So what do we do just shrug our shoulders and hope that part isn't on the test?
I remember doing a reading once at some camp with two women; the first woman starts out like us and various bad things happen to her so that she ends with "And we only had rice and beans to eat". The second woman is poor and as things are taken from the rich woman her life improves so that she ends with "And we even had rice and beans to eat". Wow this clearly made an impression on me. Our crappiest supper would be something 3 billion people would be happy - really happy to have to eat. I'm not sure what we do with this but I think it means we need to really appreciate even the lowliest of the things we have.
Our money train has left he station and we are now living like everyone else and just one salary so it means that money is tight. I'm actually liking it, it makes me happy to not have to spend; to think very carefully before making purchases. To think of my clothes as my complete wardrobe; settled; no new decisions to be made (I'm not quite explaining the feeling - it feels comfortable, nice). Of course the real test of the scripture will be more when the time comes that there is more money again. How will I act then?
Sally and I also came to the conclusion after the service that part of our job as the rich is to remember that we are only rich because of God. It is not our smarts or luck or goodness that allows us to live in the rich part of a rich culture swarming with opportunity. We did not earns this. We were granted this. And like Job it could all be taken away.