It is important for us to give thanks and praise on Sunday mornings. But we can’t stop there. Our faith needs to be more than words, more than creeds, more than a ritual we undertake once a week. It needs to be active and life giving. It needs to be sharing and open. It needs to be risk-taking and fearless.
The lamps and oil Jesus speaks about in this parable are not fueled by fear, but by love. By welcome. By knowing the power of grace and the gifts of the Spirit.
The good news for today is that all of us have been invited to the best party ever. To the best celebration. Whether you have thought of yourself as in or out, good or bad, religious or non-religious, God wants you there. Christ has made a way. There is a seat waiting for you.
We as a church should be a place for peace, not more worry and stress. We should be a place where all people have a moment to take a breath (pause) and know that God loves them, just as they are.
Jesus, in our passage for today, invites us to go after the true treasure with all that we have. He knows where true joy, true love, true life is found. It comes in following him. And he is telling us there is no amount of comfort, of possessions, of wealth or privilege or anything else that is worth more than this treasure. And sometimes it takes giving up those things to get to the true treasure.
People of good news don’t discard individuals because of their differences, but rather welcome them with radical hospitality.
Easter is not just a story about Jesus. It is about humanity and about all of us. As Mary is about to go off and tell the rest of the disciples that Christ is alive, Jesus tells her one last thing: “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” In that one phrase, Jesus is telling Mary you are now included with me in everything. This moment, this Resurrection, it’s not just for me. It’s for you. It is for all of you.
As we journey this week towards Calvary, may we not worry so much about religion and labels and who is in and who is out. May we not worry if we don’t know all the traditions and rituals and rules perfectly. Instead, let us reflect on the reason God’s house was built in the first place, the reason this house was built, the reason this community was built – to meet God, to know God’s love, and to shine that love as a light to all people.
“The only command God gives to those three disciples on that mountain is to listen. Not to build. Not to make sense of it all. Not to create a religion or rules or buildings or lists of things to do. But just “Listen!” Pay attention. See what Jesus is doing in front of you.”
On that mountaintop, Jesus is telling us about ourselves. He is telling us that we don’t have to go along with whatever the world tells us. We don’t have to give in to either fear or hate. The world will not dictate who we will be and how we will act. We may be attacked. We may face injustice. We may live in a broken and fearful world. But we can stand tall. We can remember that we are children of God, made in God’s image, and that the Spirit of the Holy Ghost resides deep within us, giving us creativity, strength, and a vision for a better world.