The kind of generosity that gives to receive something is neither the downside nor upside of giving. It’s kind of neutral a ground where our giving is matched by our need to receive. To tell you the truth, giving to get something begs the question, “Is something missing in my life?”
Let us continue to develop a spiritual practice of welcome and invitation of Jesus in to the hearts of each person with whom we join hands – praying for the day when neither straight or gay are terms which divide the beloved communities we seek to build in the neighborhoods which surround our churches….
Love is the theme of our meditations this morning. Certainly, Up is about love in its most highly developed form: marriage. The movie is also about adventure, family, and friendship – a combination of all the themes we have been exploring this summer. That is appropriate because marriage is a hearty mix of adventure, family, friends, and love.
So it is with faith. We aren’t ever going to be an Abram or Moses or Jesus. But we are our beautiful selves: we are children of God and we are called to live out our relationship with God in our daily lives. This is the great adventure, a blessing beyond imagination.
It is a challenge, indeed, for today’s parents to find the balance that allows their children to grow, which means to experience difficulties that need to be resolved, and to protect them from a world that seems to have gone crazy with those who would wish children harm.
The greatest fear-chaser is recognizing that we are God’s beloved. When we take this concept deep into our selves, we recognize that we are loved by a power so much greater than ourselves and we find we want to grow in relation to that power: we become the loving person God intended.
So that’s the setting of the baptism of three thousand new Christians…all before doctrines muddied the theological waters, all before bishops and popes argued over beliefs, before creeds and tests of faith. These three thousand simply wanted to become followers of Jesus Christ, seeking new life through his teachings of love, mercy, justice, and peace. At the same time, their desire for baptism was still rooted in the Jewish tradition.
The Apostle Paul had great respect for the Roman government, even though it finally judged that he should lose his head. He appealed his legal case to the Roman court. He ordered his followers to obey the commands of the government for, he said, they were from God. And his advice has come down to us with the approval of important theologians and millions of faithful followers.
Living with disease for long periods of time promotes greater disability. The consequence of this may be, for the first time in America’s history, children will have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.