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Monday, August 22, 2016

How do we live our lives when we think no one is watching?

My sermon for this week was based on Luke 12:32-48.

To download a podcast of my sermon, click here.

I saw a t-shirt a few years ago that I regret not buying.  It said, "Jesus is coming!  Look busy!"

This was a joke about the the Second Coming, of course, and although the Second Coming is not current theology in most of Christianity, this shirt did put its proverbial finger on what I think are nonetheless poignant questions:

How and why do we live our faith?  How much room do we make in our lives for our faith?  What are we doing to make room for God?

Like many people, I drifted away from the church when I was younger, partially because I felt I had to fear God.  It seemed to me like the only reason to be a person of faith was to avoid eternal damnation, and consequently the main reason for being a person of faith was fear: fear of God and fear of Hell.  There was something that just struck me as wrong about that.

Not that those things do not deserve to be feared, but I felt deep within me that if I was ever to come to God, it should be out of love and not fear.

I was once told that love was something you had to make room for, and that really resonated with me.  My wife and I are expecting a baby, and I realize as we get ready for his/her arrival that a baby is something that you have to make room for.  Babies are small, but they are prop-heavy, so our basement currently looks like a maternity garage sale.

I think part of the problem is that we expect God or Christ to just pop into our lives, or we pick them up and put them down when it is convenient for us.  We seem to think that religion and/or faith are things that only happen for an hour or so on a Sunday.  We expect God make his own space in our lives, when in reality we are the ones who have to make room for him.

If Jesus was to walk into our church on a Sunday morning, sit next to us and ask, "So.  What do you do around hereto honour God?", what would our answer be?

I think for a number of churchgoers, that answer might be easy: we are wardens, we are in the choir, we cook for the bake sale, and so on.

I think, however, that the answer to that question might be much less evident if Jesus was to show up at our house or place of work and ask the same question.  What do we do from Monday to Saturday to honour God?  What do we do to preach the Gospel?

I am not suggesting that we all invest in a soapbox and head for Rideau Street, but what I am suggesting is that we follow the advice attributed to St. Francis of Assisi: preach the gospel at all times and when necessary use words.

Honouring God is less about outward displays of piety or being able to regurgitate Scripture passages like parrots.  It is about how we live our lives when we think no one is watching.

Our daily lives are the best testament to our faith, or the worst as the case may be.  The integrity of our Christianity is demonstrated in how we treat complete strangers in our daily lives.

It has been said that we should be vigilant in our words and behaviour because we might be the only Bible someone reads, the only Gospel someone ever hears.

The Gospel passage for today speaks of good and bad servants: the good ones remain vigilant while the master is away from the house, doing their duties and taking care of the master's property and possessions; the bad servant slack off in their duties and are not ready to receive their master when he returns home.

If we believe (as I firmly do) that we are stewards of God's creation, that we are responsible for taking care of God's people and his "stuff", that means we need to be vigilant all the time.  We need to be engage in acts of justice, mercy, truth, love and forgiveness 24/7, not just for an hour on Sunday.

Today, I hope we can all remain vigilant and that we can all live our lives with integrity, courage and honesty.

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