Big Rocks and Good Fish

In the name of the name of the F, S, and HS. Amen.
Do you remember about two months ago (Trinity Sunday) when we baptized Livie? Do you remember my buddies that came in town to be her godparents? My good buddies from seminary? Well after the service, I went to gather a bit of critique from them about my sermon and how the service went (I’m always seeking to improve and I might even be teachable). They gave me all sorts of grief about the fact that here it was, Trinity Sunday and I didn’t mention the Trinity other than to say, “In the name of the F, S, and HS.” Also it was a baptism, but I didn’t preach on baptism. What did I preach on? The creation of the world. I caught a lot of flak that afternoon.

I told them that there is a rhyme and reason to my preaching: Biblical literacy is paramount for me, because what is the point of delving in to the mystery of the Trinity if the basic story of salvation history is not known? Before the Church Fathers sat down to being to understand the deeper meanings of Christian theology, what was the first thing they had to figure out? The story of Jesus and how it fit in to the broader picture of God’s self-revelation. And where do we find that? In Scripture. The Bible is our lifeblood.

I just got back from a Bible conference in Steubenvile, Ohio. It was wonderful—one of the best conferences to which I have ever been. Sure the weather was nice (mid to high 70’s), but the break from the oppressive heat here was a mere blip on the radar. I was learning from people who believed in the Bible, not just taught it (sadly, there is a difference). These people are mainly concerned with teaching the story of Scripture because they believe that it is God’s love story between us and Him.

There was one high point where I got to have about a 10 minute one-on-one conversation with Scott Hahn (he sends his love btw). I was telling him about the exact moment I fell in love with the Bible. I think I have told this story before—a professor of mine told the class: “I believe the Bible is fully inspired from the table of contents at the beginning to the maps at the back,” and then he proceeded to demonstrate this to us.

Scott loved that quote. In fact he told me to hold on to that mentality forever: “We need to get that message out there more.” Most commentators spend soul-crushing page after soul-crushing page of commentary about the “fact” that this person could not possibly have written this or that book because of this or that reason. Most bible commentaries spend less time telling you about the actual bible and more time about how this part should not be authoritative. It is always a bright spot in my study to find commentators who actually believe the bible to be true and try to convey the story and all its interconnected parts.

This is the beauty of the conference from whence I just return—not once did I hear about the “higher” soul-crushing criticism, rather I had the Bible unfolded right there in front of me and I could not get enough. And as I was reflecting on this on the flight home I realized that this is the treasure of which our Gospel lesson today speaks.

Today Jesus has us in a field, and if you will remember, the Holy Land is not a place rich in oil (In fact, God placed the Promised Land in the one place in the Middle East not teeming with oil), rather it is a place rich in rocks. Big rocks, little rocks, medium-sized rocks—rocks as far as the eye can see. If one desires to plant anything in the ground, the first thing that must be done is the removal of all the rocks.

And as the fields are being plowed, the bigger rocks are piled up at the boundaries of the field to create walls (nothing better to do with the rocks). And they had to be piled up at the boundaries, because if you simply made a pile of them in the middle of the property, eventually you would have an unintended wall due to the sheer quantity and then property disputes would arise due to poor planning of piles.

So imagine, if you will, that you are working a plot of land, just having come back from hauling a rather large rock to the border: “Whew. Stupid rocks. But, this land isn’t going to de-rock itself—back to work.” There you go off to plowing when you have to stop—yet again—for a rock. So you grab your shovel and head over.

“Ok this rock looks kind of big,” so you scrape the dirt off to try to find the side and once you do, you stick the shovel under the corner and try to pry it up. So you push down, “Ugh. This is a pretty big rock. Let me dig it out a little bit.” Then you dig a little bit so that you can now pry it out. (Stab. Heave. **Rip**Rip**RRRip**Thwump**)

You can now see that this rock was like a rock version of a glacier (10% above ground and 90% below), so you take a rest before beginning the process of relocating this rock to the wall, and sit on the rock (just to show it who’s boss).

Then, once you are on top drinking water, you glance at the whole to admire your handiwork. “Wait, what is that?” You hop down and poke it with the shovel—that’s no rock. You go in for a better look. “Oh! (Looks around) Oh! Hey, I better cover this back up.”

So you put the mini-mountain back in the abyss you created and start to rebury it—but you make sure to make it distinguishable from the other huge rocks on the property that you can make it back here to extract your find.

On your way home you are thinking, “Man, I just found $100 Grand! What a great day!” Then you think some more, “I’m going to go back and get that money tonight and go home and bury it by the tree in my back yard. No…wait, if I only bury it there, then someone might find it. I’m going to break it up and bury it on the side yard and by the porch and…Oh my Gosh—I’m rich!!!”

“There is no way the spot I found today was the only spot that had money—it’s probably all over the place, I just have to have time to really search for it. But I can’t do it at night, and if I do it during work, the boss will get suspicious if I am only digging and don’t eventually start the planting process.

Hmmm how much money do I have in the bank? That much huh. I need more, I have to blow this guy away with my offer—he just bought the place after all. So let’s see, I have a car, a flat screen. Eh, I will just sell it all—I’m about to be rich, who cares if I have to get rid of all my current stuff, I’ll just buy better stuff when I find all the money.”

Beloved, this is what we have in the Bible. We have our Bibles at home, which can be something that can be a little old and dusty, maybe it is on the coffee table for company, maybe it is under the coffee table to make it level (no judgment here). Then we open the Bible some time, maybe it is a time of need—maybe after dead-old Aunt Edna just died and so you read her Bible when you are sorting through her things—and you find a verse that is of great comfort at the time. And then upon more reflection, you truly realize what a gift of infinite wealth you have discovered.

Jesus tells us that we are supposed to find this wealth—he placed it there so we would find it. And since we are supposed to find it, we are supposed to commit like the parable—the person regarded everything else as secondary, even worthless by comparison.

This is why Jesus then tells the Parable of the Net. “The kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kid. When it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into containers but threw away the bad.”

The good fish are the ones who sold all to obtain the kingdom. The bad fish are the ones who decided that they would much rather have the things they currently owned at left the treasure alone.

This is why I preach the Bible, because Jesus tells us that yes this is a treasure that is supposed to be all-consuming once we have discovered it. Yet sometimes through the daily course of life we skip the big rocks to come back to it at a later point in time. Yet Jesus makes it a point to tell us that if we fail to find this treasure it will be to our eternal detriment. So my job is first and foremost to get you into to heaven, so I have to grab a shovel and help you find the big rocks, and say, “Hmm, I wonder what we will find under here?”

In the name of the F, S, and HS. Amen.


Entering the Kingdom Butt First, or to the Smell of Baking Bread

In the name of the F, S, and HS. Amen.
Picking up from where we left off last week, we have Jesus with a large crowd in front of him, such that it causes him to need to put out in a boat to be able to address them all properly. And if you will remember, this is an occurrence that happened in the ministry of Jesus, but it is also a snapshot of what ministry was like and how Jesus went about it as he ministered to the 204 towns and villages in Galilee. When asked why he teaches in parables by the disciples, Jesus tells them that he does so because as he goes there are people who only give him one shot and parables are designed to pique the interest of the people he was trying to reach in the one chance he had in which to reach them. And the message he is given not new to them by any means, but it is packaged in a way that makes it possible for them to discover this truth anew.

Jesus also probably never had to search very hard for material for he used what he saw. Take the hillside on which the people are currently gathered, it was used for farming (actually it is still in use today as farmland), so he can tell them a parable about sowing seed and simply point to a person doing just that for an illustration. And he tells them: “Kingdom of heaven is like a man sowing seed, good seed, and after he finishes, during the night an enemy comes and sows weeds among the wheat.” When everything begins to grow, the workers notice that there are weeds, and not a normal amount of weeds, bunches of weeds every, so that the entire crop would be lost should they dig up the weeds.

The workers say, “What do you want us to do?” The own says, “Nothing, lest you harm the wheat. Let them both grow together and though it will take more effort to get them to maturity, in the end we will easily be able to tell them apart and can deal with each appropriately.” A fun fact: wheat, when it matures will bend over slightly. The weeds, however, are easily distinguishable at this point because they do not bend, they stick straight up (this fact alone is worthy of its own parable). This is all well and good, but what was he trying to tell them?

The kingdom of heaven is like a community, where things are going good, the seeds are planted and well on their way, but then someone begins to insert their “but”: “Well what he taught was nice BUT…” I had a professor in seminary who liked to say, “We are all sliding to Hell on our buts.” Satan would prefer that if we are going to enter the kingdom of heaven that we do so butts first. If we do so, placing our “buts” before the truth of God (He reigns and we do not), then Satan wins—his corruption spreads and stunts the growth of all the plants around.

Jesus then goes on to tell them another parable. The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of seeds (not in the world, but in the area, it was the smallest used), but when it grows it is the greatest of shrubs.” Jesus is continuing the seed theme and telling the people that the seeds planted, though small (remember he gets one shot at people) can produce great growth (30, 60, 100-fold from the parable last week). And from this fact, this parable is normally taken as a positive parable.

But this would be out of place for the context (context is always key) since he is talking about the enemy coming and sowing weeds among the good seed. The parable continues, “the small seed grows into great shrubs and becomes a tree such that birds come and make their nests in it.”

The girls love having a birdfeeder in the backyard so that we can see all the pretty songbirds come and hang out in the back yard. (There is a pair of cardinals who live around that are their particular favorites.) These are not necessarily the birds he is talking about. I like to envision these birds as grackles—nasty birds. The birds, if we look to Jesus’ interpretation of the first parable, are a bad symbol because they come in and take the seed that falls on the path. Jesus interprets these birds as Satan coming in and snatching away what was sown.

Here, Jesus is saying that, as soon as the good seeds are sown, Satan notices a good thing when he sees it and he comes and tries to corrupt it with his “but”. Jesus knows that in every church, in fact in every seed that is sown and begins to grow, Satan is intimidated by it and seeks to stunt the growth, so he will plant seeds of weed and he will send birds to come in to nest that will seek to devour seeds to prevent them from growing in the first place. Like nasty grackles that come in and eat anything they can and then poop on the rest, leaving the whole thing an eyesore.

Then he gives them another parable. The kingdom of heaven is like yeast in dough which leavens the whole thing. Yeast in the Bible is always bad. Leviticus tells that yeast represents sin because it spoils and corrupts. Yeast, when introduced into dough will not simply stop when the dough has risen enough to make a lovely loaf of bread. Rather, if left to its own devices it will consume the entire lump of dough leaving you with a ruined bunch of gross. Jesus is telling the people that a little bit of sin sown by the devil has the potential to ruin the whole thing, be that person or whole community.

The only way to cease the corruption of the yeast is to kill it with fire—stick it in the oven and you get a gorgeous loaf of bread that fills the whole house with the scent of its goodness. The only way to kill sin is to apply the fire of the Holy Spirit and then bake at 350* for 15 minutes until golden brown. A good Spirit-filled Church can easily combat the corruption present. Jesus is warning the people that no community, no church is exempt from the potential to be corrupted by the devil.

This, Jesus says, is a fact, as sure as the birds coming to nest in the mustard bushes. And this corruption has the potential to run through the entire community if left unchecked. But if the proper amount of Holy heat is applied to the community and sin is actively stamped down under the feet of all present, then the presence of sin, like the presence of the yeast in the dough, has done nothing other than transformed the dough into a delicious bread that fills the air with its goodness.

Beloved, He who has ears, let him hear, we have a good thing going here, let’s add a little fire to it.

In the name of the F, S, and HS. Amen.


In the name of the F, S, and HS. Amen.

When you think of a parable what do you think of…a super cryptic saying of Jesus that conveys the message only to those smart enough to be able to play super sleuth and figure out all the little details. Parable comes from two Greek words – para (alongside – paramedic, paralegal) and ballo (to throw), so it really means an illustration that is thrown alongside a teaching that is meant to illuminate the teaching. Parables are meant to be a memorable presentation of a common truth. Yes parables require a little bit of digging but that is for a reason.

Jesus at this point in his ministry is still teaching in Galilee. Josephus the ancient Jewish historian was also a commander of the Jewish forces in Galilee in the Roman army and he tells us that there are 204 cities and towns in Galilee. We only read about a couple of the places in which he ministered and taught, but in his three year ministry there, I am sure he went all over Galilee, preaching, teaching and healing.

And as he did so, he used pretty much the same material—he wasn’t presenting anything really new content-wise. We see evidence of this in Matthew and Luke. In Matthew, we have the Sermon on the Mount, and in Luke, the Sermon on the Plain. These two are remarkably similar; some scholars even say they are the same just placed at different location by Matthew and Luke. But it is probable that these are two different occasions and Jesus is just using the same material in different ways.

It is kind of like comedians on tour. They have the material that is proven to make you laugh, but it is the same material just different venues because you are only going to their show when they come to Winstar, not necessarily when he plays Montreal Quebec.

Shortly after arriving in Gainesville, Becca and I found out that Craig Ferguson was coming to Winstar so we bought tickets and waited for him to come. But in the interim we watched his comedy special on Netflix. When we got to the show, it was pretty much the same material as the special. It was still funny and he even added some stuff as he felt the need, but the backbone of his show was exactly what we had seen before. He doesn’t come up with entirely new material for each show, he uses what works.
The same is true for Jesus’ material. The disciples get to hear his material over and over and over again—at least 204 times. So for them this material was good, but not new. But for each person at the various towns he went to, it was that person’s first time hearing it. And he only got one shot to get that person, so Jesus used a method that is designed to get in your craw and take up residence so that you are either forced to think about it and analyze the details until you come to a conclusion or forget the whole thing.

And again, Jesus wasn’t trying to present the people with anything new; he was remaining them of the old in a new way. In order to establish the new thing that he was doing, Jesus had to remind the people of the old promises of God that said he would do such a thing. He is doing it in such a way that the old truth that has become second nature to the point of becoming rote and presents the material in a way that makes it appear new again.

For example: our Sunday worship. We are often accused by others denominations of laziness or at least not being genuine in our worship of God because we do the exact same thing every week with little variation. Each Sunday, we will read almost the exact same words in the bulletins last week to the point where if you didn’t need to have the readings we would hardly need the bulletin at all. (In fact some of you I know are able to do this right now.) It gets to the point that everything fades to dull because we forget to look around like a long commute for work after 25 years. It becomes just something we do on Sundays at either 8 or 10:30. It lasts about an hour give or take a little bit, and then you can go on your merry way.

It’s no wonder that liturgical denominations without the ability to apply Catholic Guilt for missing mass find it so hard to compel people to come on a regular basis—everyone that has been there for more than a year is not going to be surprised about what happened at Church last week because you know it will be pretty much the same thing that happened the week before. So it’s easy to miss because you have already done it.

So some people will try to mix it up to remind us of the wonderful and awe-inspiring thing that we have the privilege of participating in every Sunday. “Let’s change the music.” “Let’s change the wording.” “Let’s add a dance number.” “Let’s add clowns with balloons shaped like Jesus to give to the kids—that’ll get ‘em.” But then after a while, it becomes rote again and you are forced to change it up again such that no one ever feels comfortable again because this is too glorious a thing about which to become complacent. (The problem is that this emphasis, though well intended tends to take the emphasis away from God and place it on the gimmick designed to awaken people to God.)

It is human nature to become used to the things that we do every day and to overlook them. (I just found out that you actually see your nose all the time, your brain just gets used to seeing it and ignores it.) So Jesus used the parable to combat this familiarity that worked much better than saying to the people: “The opportunity to enter the Kingdom of God is available to all people, but some people don’t get it and won’t, others get it for a brief bit, but then discard it for something else, still others use it until it becomes hard and becomes a burden and drop it. Yet there are some who see it and love it and incorporate it into their lives and are truly blessed by it. Which are you?” Much less memorable.

Jesus’ parable is the same truth, but much more memorable and sticky. I’m sure if I asked you at some point during the week: “What is the Parable of the Sower?” I’m sure that each of you would be able to give it to me without even having to open your bible. And I bet you would even be able to give me the interpretation as well. This is the mark of a good parable that you can, without much effort, regurgitate the material but it is sufficiently deep that it is able to stimulate the mind until you figure it out.

And so Beloved, let me leave you with one I composed, because a student is not above his teacher.

The worship of God is like a parfait, it entices the taste buds with an interesting topping, only to then become plain and boring yogurt. But the deeper one digs into the plain and boring, the more sweet treats one will find. This is then replaced again by another fresh layer of plain and boring which is another opportunity to consume until you find the next hidden layer.

In the name of the F, S, and HS. Amen.

Funeral Sermon For Karol Rawlins

In the name of the F, S, and HS. Amen.

In my dealings with Karol I have found her to be a very private person. In fact I never heard from her when she was in the hospital—not once. And I knew she knew better as devout a person as she was, but what are you going to do? I had to eavesdrop on conversations and as soon as I heard mention of her name, I would pounce and find out where she was.

Her last illness was no different. When I spoke with her she said she was trying to get better to come to church and she would probably see me Sunday because she was feeling better after her last stay. I was giving her the space to do that, but when she didn’t show, I called and called to try to set up an appointment. Then on that Thursday, Dottie called me to tell me that Karol was back in the hospital and needed Last Rites because her organs were shutting down.

So off I went, and upon entry, Karol said, “Last Rites Father,” and off we went. I remember thinking during the time, “Wow this is a new experience. This is the first time I have ever had someone coherent enough to actively participate in Last Rites.”

Then after I finished, she thanked me. Normally when I perform Last Rites, all the family is gathered around and it is a packed house, so I normally give the family their space and make my way out. But since Pam was in Columbia at the time, Carol was all alone—in fact, had she not asked me, I would have waited until Pam got here to do Last Rites—I asked Karol if I could sit with her. She obliged but went back to sleep.

After about an hour, she woke and we had a lovely conversation. She admitted she was anxious about dying, but I will always remember the last part of our conversation before I left for the evening so she could sleep: she said, “I don’t know why we don’t learn more about death, it really is beautiful.”

This demonstrates perfectly our lesson from Wisdom today because on the outside it would seem all has been lost—her body is shutting down and she is about to cease to exist. But through her trust in the promises of God she was able to see the beauty in it. “Those who trust in him will understand truth, and the faithful will abide with him in love, because grace and mercy are upon his elect, and he watches over his holy ones.”

The anxiety associated with death for the Christian is less anxiety about what comes next (though that is not absent—we are after all human), rather it is anxiousness associated with a long-anticipated journey with a dear friend. This is the case because, for the Christian, death is but the doorway by which we begin our journey. We are not met with black nothingness, rather we are met with Christ, who says, “I have been this way before. Let me show you the way out.”

Jesus is able to act as tour guide in the afterlife because he has indeed been that way before and cleared the path of all the debris. He came into the world so that sin and death would no longer have the final say in man’s ultimate destination. He did this and so when we die, we find that the gates of hell have already been torn down and we are free to leave since they cannot hold us in anymore.

Now, with death conquered and Jesus showing us the way through death to the Father, we may inherit the place that he has been preparing solely for us.

I think that Karol is right, death is beautiful for the Christian, because, thanks be to God, the sting has been taken away and now it is merely our preparation to full enter his presence forever.

In the name of the F, S, and HS. Mane.

Uncomplicated Child’s Play

In the name of the F, S, and HS. Amen.
I love this saying from Jesus in our Gospel lesson: “Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” I have always gotten great comfort from this saying as it reminds me of Camp Crucis. Every evening before we depart to our cabins to get ready for bed, we say Compline and this saying is an option to be used. I like it because it is a nice little “I love you” before heading off to bed.

So from this comforting statement one would assume that this entire passage from our Gospel lesson today is a bigger “I love you” and it is, but rather than a sweet kiss on the forehead and off to bed, this is an instance of tough love on behalf of Jesus—context is everything.

We begin with Jesus telling the crowd: “I thank you Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children…” There seems to be a little edge in Jesus’ words here so let’s back up even further to get clued into our situation.

Two weeks ago you will remember that Jesus sent out his disciples on a small test run and gave them authority to perform miracles. This would chum the water and bring in the people and then Jesus tells them to tell the people about the kingdom: “God reigns and you do not.” This message of the kingdom will offend people such that they will persecute them even to death. But Jesus tells them not to fear and to remain faithful to the message. End chapter 10.

Begin chapter 11. Enter John the Baptist’s disciples. John is in prison at this point and is concerned that Jesus is not living up to what he thought the Messiah should be doing. Jesus is not harsh enough for John. “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these very stones to raise up children of Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” This is John’s mentality. Turn or burn.
Jesus tells John’s disciples: “Patience. Look at the fruits of my labor: the blind see, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, and the dead are raised.” This is enough for John’s disciples and so they leave to tell their master not to worry. But John’s disciples are probably a little eccentric possibly even in appearance because John was…really weird.

John wore smelly camel hair and ate locusts. He probably looked like a dirty hippy because he had taken a Nazirite vow. We get this from Numbers 6: “When either a man or a woman makes a special vow, the vow of a Nazirite, to separate himself to the Lord, 3 he shall separate himself from wine and strong drink; he shall drink no vinegar made from wine or strong drink, and shall not drink any juice of grapes or eat grapes, fresh or dried…5 “All the days of his vow of separation no razor shall come upon his head; until the time is completed for which he separates himself to the Lord, he shall be holy; he shall let the locks of hair of his head grow long. 6 “All the days that he separates himself to the Lord he shall not go near a dead body.”

So John was an eccentric man himself and it is probably safe to say he attracted men as disciples who were a little off themselves. And so when these dirty hippies leave, some of the people in the crowd begin to say something about them. “Gah lee, were you downwind from them? Pew wee. What a strange bunch of people.”

Jesus stops these criticizers right there. “When you went out to see John, what did you go out to see? Some wishy-washy person that tells you what you want to hear? No. Some well-dressed charlatan selling you snake oil? No. You went to John and you listened to John because he is a prophet and a great prophet at that.” John is great in Jesus’ eyes because tills the soil for Jesus to plant. He is preparing the ground so that when Jesus comes they are ready to accept the kingdom of God. (God reigns and you do not.)

Jesus continues: “What do you people want?! John comes fasting and with fire and brimstone and you tell him to lighten up. I come feasting with you and bringing you good news and you chastise me for being too happy. What do you people want?”

“And while I’m at it you people have come out here because I performed miracles in your presence. You were hungry and I fed you. You brought me you lame and I cured them. You even brought me your dead and I raised them, yet you only come for what I can give you and you have not listened to a thing I said. Had I done these things in these no-good dirty pagan towns of Tyre and Sidon, even Sodom, they would have already repented of their evil and really listened to what I had to say rather than what I can give them.”

Then Jesus declares, “I thank you Father that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes…” Now we have reached our gospel lesson today and we can plainly see that Jesus is very perturbed with them at this point. What we are witnessing here is the beginning of the edge that Jesus brings with him when he enters Jerusalem to ascend his throne on the cross and to reign over his kingdom. Jesus is upset because the people have an agenda for him and it is not the agenda that the Father gave him.

They want a king that will do what they say. They want an idol that they can manipulate whenever it is convenient for them and that they don’t have to amend their ways. Jesus is telling them more forcefully here that God reigns and they do not. He is telling them that God wants them, he wants them fully, not partially. He calls them to a hard thing—giving up control and turning it over to God. But he has already told them that they have seen the way things end when they place themselves in place of God.

If that is what you want—to put yourself in the place of God—he says, then so be it, but stop wasting both of our time. Fish or cut bait. He says if you really want to follow me then follow me. “Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Only Jesus can change the fate of the people hearing him, but he cannot make them choose to let him. He is trying to give them true freedom by applying a hard boundary. “Give up your selfish ways and come and learn from my ways that you may learn to truly live.”

For some reason this truth that Jesus reveals here is self-evident to children. Maybe it’s because they are used to getting bossed around by someone bigger than they are and have no doubt that they are looking out for their best interests. Or maybe it’s because they are just simply smarter than we are.

Somewhere in life we become the masters of our own destiny and forget what life is like when we didn’t have to be concerned with the big things. How do the bills get paid? How can I get a bigger house and a nicer car? These are things that do not necessarily bother kids, nor should it because they know that those things are handled by adults. So I’m going to go ride my bike and put some playing cards in the spokes so it sounds like a motorcycle.

This innocence is that to which God calls us. God tells us, “Follow my rules and do as you please.” “Do whatever you want, just be in before the streetlight comes on.”

Beloved, we make things too complicated, and this is what Jesus seeks to tell us today.

In the name of the F, S, and HS. Amen.