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Sermon October 14, 2018

Updated: Nov 9, 2018

Grace and peace to you from God our father and our Lord and savior Jesus Christ Amen "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" This man has run up to Jesus as he and the disciples are on the road He knelt at Jesus feet and asked this question "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" He seems like a righteous person because We hear how he has kept the commandments all his life Jesus says he is lacking in one thing "You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me." But that one thing Jesus asks of him Goes completely against the culture of his day And to a certain extent today as well You see in this man's day People who had many possessions were assumed to be blessed by God And those who were poor must be so because God has cursed them We may not say it the same way today But the attitude is the same In America the idea is that someone who is successful Has achieved the American dream! We judge people by their economic status Those who are rich must be smart and savvy And we admire them But the poor Well they just aren't trying hard enough They need to pull themselves up by their own boot straps And we think less of them It's funny what this gospel reading does to us The temptation to explain it away somehow is so great Isn't it? We turn on the rich man And say he was greedy That's why he couldn't let go of his stuff Or we say he was rich Jesus was only making a point about rich people And since I'm not rich (at least not as rich as him!) This saying does not apply to me Or we try to say Jesus was just talking hypothetically He didn't really mean that the man had to sell everything Did he? We are shocked by what Jesus says next too As the man is walking away Jesus says "How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!" And he says it again! "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God." When the disciples freak out and say "Then who can be saved?" Jesus response takes us right back to the beginning of our reading "For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; For God all things are possible." Wait, what? What about what you said before?? Sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, And you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me." Jesus do you mean we don't have to earn our way into heaven? What about all our stuff? What about all our money? You mean..... "For God all things are possible." Why didn't you say that in the first place?? Being wealthy doesn't get us in Giving up everything doesn't get us in So what does? How can we attain eternal life? "For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible." All that striving for perfection? All that work? I can't work my way into heaven? It doesn't matter what you have Whether you have a lot or a little God loves you And that is how you enter the kingdom of heaven Does this mean that we do not have to be good? No We love because God first loved us And God gives us a template Or how we are invited to respond Love God and Love your neighbor as yourself Amen

Love God, love your neighbor, be the body of Christ in the world Rev. Marie Meeks Dobbs Ferry Lutheran Church preachymarie@gmail.com

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