Choose to respond
All time is sacred, set apart, will not come again. So how will you use your time?
What will fill your days and your heart, what will you treasure in the time set aside for you? Who will you treasure and in what will you trust?
In many ways, this is the question asked, in a divine whisper, throughout August's lectionary readings.
Throughout these passages, we are reminded to be ready, to be watchful, because there are times when we will need to choose.
God speaks into times of trouble and calls for justice and compassion, enters into the times set aside as Sabbath (holy) and says, 'love, not lip service, is the way to honour me.'
There is a sense of almost desperate pleading: children of God, embrace your time, lean into the love and live!
In Luke 12:49-56, Jesus challenges the crowd to interpret the present time and respond. His call echoes other prophets down the centuries before him who set God's desire for justice and peace before the people and asked them to decide how they would respond.
As our moments turn to days, weeks, months, years, each choice we make makes a difference, and the God who has planted and dreamt, waits and watches.
So, in a world where there are so many challenges, how will we interpret and respond: to refugees who desperately need to be welcomed; to brothers and sisters across our planet home who live with the chaos caused by our over-consumption; to those excluded by our economic structures, keeping them perpetually poor?
‘The progress we have made is in jeopardy.'
Christian Aid's new Change the story campaign challenges the negative rhetoric used against refugees coming to our country, inviting action from those who embrace our common humanity and want to welcome.
And Christian Aid Scotland has recently launched a Malawi Food Crisis appeal to support our brothers and sisters there who are facing the worst drought in a decade. Six and a half million people, a third of the country, are going hungry.
The projects we have begun together in Nsanje district, using solar-powered irrigation systems to ensure crops flourish, are at risk and the progress we have made is in jeopardy.
Hunger today is robbing them of their tomorrow.
We are told in Luke's gospel that, 'It is God's deepest wish to give us the kingdom'. But the riches found there are not the expected or obvious prize.
Turning conventional wisdom on its head, Jesus offers us something much deeper, more dangerous, more elusive. His words and his actions hold a subversive wisdom. It is an unexpected vision, not what kingdom would look like to those who presently hold that territory as theirs.
Invite those who cannot repay you like-for-like, he says, because they can give you what you cannot possess without them: they will offer their stories, their insights and lived wisdom; they will share their lifetime and all the treasures held there.
Read our prayers for this month.
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