My first memory of the Olympics goes back to 1984 when Los Angeles hosted the summer games. I really do not remember much about the Olympics themselves, however, I do remember the torch and how it was used to light the cauldron during the opening ceremonies. I felt connected to that torch because earlier I had seen it in person as it was carried past our house by someone running on a cold and dreary spring evening. I was sitting on the front porch, not really feeling the greatest, and I remember thinking that this was pretty awesome!
Friday night we had the opportunity to witness another opening ceremonies for the Olympics. Rio did a wonderful job of welcoming the world into their country for the next few weeks and shared their story and even the story of creation and how we as humans fail to take care of it. While Rio has had their own problems preparing for the games and there are still many in Brazil that don’t even have the most basic needs, they have moved forward and are celebrating together.
The Olympics bring a sense of community. It is community that we need so desperately at this time. A community that reflects Christ’s love and cheers each other on. These past few months have seemed like nothing but violence occurring throughout the world. Fear at times seems to run rampant and breaks apart our sense of community. It is the Olympics that brings the importance of community to the forefront and brings hope to a world so much in need. It is in our gospel lesson this morning that Jesus addresses any fears that his followers may have.
Many of you are probably familiar with our gospel lesson for today. Verse 34 is popular when it comes to stewardship drives and the request for money within the church. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” No, don’t worry I am not going to be talking about stewardship this morning, we’ll save that for a little later. I do want to talk about treasures. The treasures that we have as a congregation and what we choose to do with those treasures.
We can talk about the personal when it comes to our treasures. What is it that we value? What do we find hard to part with? This could connect with my message from last week as I shared my own struggles with the vow of poverty. This morning I would rather talk about the communal. How do we as a community of Christ carry out the good news? From the beginning of our gospel reading we can feel called into the greater community of Christ as Jesus welcomes us, as a little flock, and tells us not be afraid. The term little flock is endearing as we picture Jesus as the good shepherd caring for those in his flock and loving them. Jesus gathers all of his flock into one great community.
We at times are reluctant to join together in community as we lose focus and tend to turn inwards. We rush around doing those things on our to-do list and then forget about God’s call for us to be in relationship with one another. Even our society at times seems to be narcissistic and the gospel compels us to reign that in. Jesus’ concerns for those whom he was speaking and his call for them to make sure they are ready are still words of advice that we should heed today. Are we as a church ready for when Jesus returns? Are we ready for those that walk through our doors and are visiting? Are we focused on community and not on ourselves?
Since being at Trinity, the one gift Trinity exudes that always comes to the top of any discussion is the sense of community. Having our worship here this morning and having a church picnic is a great way for us to share in community. Our community should also extend beyond those that we know and include all of God’s children. Jesus calls us to love our neighbors as ourselves and we do that through our various ministries and will be able to put our words into action as we host MCREST in October.
Our mission statement calls us to Celebrate God’s Word Together, and by worshiping as one community and serving with one another we are able to live out our mission. Are we always doing this? We’re human and we make mistakes and at times we may simply fall short of our mission and Jesus’ calling for us. However, we must not be afraid, as God is love and we ourselves are called into friendship with Jesus Christ. Are we reflecting this in our relationships with one another and for every visitor that comes through our church doors? We never know who may come through our doors and we should welcome them just as we would welcome Jesus.
As we share in the meal at the table this morning and share in conversation and a picnic, may we remember the greater community that Jesus calls us to. Jesus did not die on the cross for just us, but for all of creation. May we live into the community that reflects Christ’s love for us and celebrate the resurrection that promises us eternal life.