Alex Wilson
September 15, 2019
Alex Wilson
Vicar

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God doesn’t make sense. Nothing about what God does makes sense. Yet, there is this deeper practicality about how God spends time and attention that makes all of this faith seem like a joke. Why does God go so overboard in what he does for us? Why does God have to be so extra? Do we have to be as extra in our lives in order to follow God? For instance when we invite our friends over for dinner, we hope everyone can come to the date we’ve set- but we are not very likely to cancel it if one of our friends can't make it. When we lose our favorite sweater, we can either buy a new one or turn up the heat at home. We aren't likely to call our friends and throw a party in honour of the lost sweater. Yet that is exactly have God does in our gospel this morning, which offers us an invitation into a way of life that doesn’t make sense- or does it?

Do we really have anything that is so important in our lives that we would stop everything and go after it if it got lost? Maybe our spouses, best friends, or even kids? But at some points there's just a level at which we stop searching and move on with our lives, often carrying the burden of the loss for the rest of our life, yet for God, we are so important that he wants to stop everything and find us- find us even when there are so many other things in this world that need his attention. From natural disasters, to political disasters, poverty, racism, sexism, homophobia, child and forced labour- the list goes on. But we can’t be soooooo important that God has to stop everything to find us, can we? I mean, when you’ve got 99% of the passenger list boarded the plane, and made a final boarding call for that last passenger, the airline does not ground the plane until they show up. It takes off, because it has places to be, and so do we. So why does God stop, and search for us in the midst of so much need? Because life without you and I is unbearable for God.

The gospel this morning continues the parables of Christ which are trying to help us see and know the mission he is on for God. Yet parables are more than just puzzles to be decoded, they are meant to be examples of human experience which when understood as I statements, we start to understand the depth of Gods desperation to be close to us because of what we hold within us. We are image bearers of God- that is, we are created in the image of God- with infinite abilities, gifts, and power to work for the inbreaking of God's kingdom in our midst. The challenge is the world tells us we aren't enough, that success is about money, position, titles, and popularity. Indeed, that is how the social world of Jesus worked- everyone had a place based on their position in life. Yet Christ comes again in this section of Luke and throws that upside down, by inviting the broken, the tax collectors, the marginalized, the socially inappropriate according to the norms of the time- to eat dinner with him. And it is never a simple dinner- like a soup and buns, rather it is the kind of banquet we’d expect at Buckingham Palace for heads of state. Jesus doesn't just invite us to eat with him, Jesus feasts with us. But why? because that's how much we matter to God.

Food is an important equalizer in society, and in Jesus’s society how, what, and with whom we ate, mattered. This is one more example of upending our social norms of our Roman kingdom, for the sake of the kingdom of God. It is in this kingdom where we find the freedom to be who and what we are, to be named, chosen, seen, set free, and called into a remarkable relationship that changes not just who we are, but what the world around us is. But how? Through the work we offer for the kingdom's sake in our everyday, by choosing to see our time as just as sacred as the time God used to make us in his image. Which means that what we do, with what we believe, matters, because we matter to God, and this morning we are invited to commit our lives again to the work of the kingdom in our everyday. And it all starts here, at this feast-- a feast of the resurrection, the feast of this Eucharist-- in which we recognize not just our own daily death to the world and its powers via our liturgy, confession, prayers, and hymns, but in which we receive the abundant feast of Gods abiding need to be so intimately close to us that God died for us on the cross to bring us closer to him. So that God would live, feel, cry, dance, live, and die as we do, so that God can understand us,  be with us, and bring us into life so profound that the powers of Rome will tell us we are crazy, that this isn’t real, and that we aren’t good enough. Yet today, as in every eucharist, God says to us you are enough, and that I love you so much I want to be as close to you as the very hairs on your head, or the breath in your lungs. Our challenge today is to go out into the world, and work alongside God in sharing the good news of Christ which tells us again today: You belong, you matter, you are worth so much that God wants to be with you, to hold you, to cherish you, to see you thrive-- work we do with our actions in the world, and not just our words. The world needs to hear this invitation more than ever today from us-- You matter, you belong, and there’s a guy named Jesus who wants to meet you. The feast is ready and all are invited, and here-- all means all. So church, how will you share this message with the world this week?