Enter the Flow


Today, I want to do something a little different. I want to use today’s parable of the talents to take us on a guided meditation, and then I’ll add a few reflections of my own. So make yourself comfortable. If you’re wandering around the house with earbuds doing the laundry or something, this might be a good time for a break. Relax. Take a few breaths. If you like, close your eyes, if that helps you to use your imagination.

A talent is an enormous sum of money, something like a million dollars in our currency. One million, two million, five million. These are the extraordinary amounts that the man, the master in our story, gives to his servants. He entrusts this abundance to his servants.

What does the talent represent for you? What does this vast amount symbolize? What is the most valuable thing that anyone, God or human, has ever given, or could ever give to you?

. . .

Perhaps it’s your very life. Your health. Your security.

. . .

Perhaps it’s the gift of love. Of connection. Of belonging. Of hope.

. . .

Perhaps it’s your family. Perhaps your identity as a child of God.

. . .

Whatever it is, this gift of great value that you have been given, or that you can imagine being entrusted with, think of that gift. Receive that gift.

. . .

Now, imagine what it would look like, to use the language of the parable, “to be entrusted with your gift and to go off and trade with it.”

. . .

What does this mean? How would you live? Imagine what that life would look like. How would you feel? Imagine the feeling.

. . .

Now imagine this life of receiving and of giving as a continuous flow.

. . .

You receive what is of immense value, and in turn what is of immense value flows from you to those around you.

Imagine this flow. Immerse yourself in this flow.

Feel the joy of being immersed in this flow.

Enter into the joy of your master.

. . .

But now, imagine that you are afraid. You are afraid that the gift that you have been given will be taken away. You no longer trust the one who gave you the gift. You think that if you damage or lose the gift that has been entrusted to you, you will be punished. You are afraid.

. . .

So you bury your gift in the ground. You build walls. You protect yourself.

Let yourself feel afraid. Imagine living a life of fear. What would a life of fear look like? How would it feel?

. . .

“Do not be afraid”

It is the most common phrase in the Bible.

“Do not be afraid; for see I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.”

Do not be afraid.

Fear shuts us down. Causes us to freeze. Narrows our options. Diminishes us.

Faith - trust in God - it opens us up. Allows us live fully. To love fully. To experience joy.

Compared to this joy, fear can feel like being in outer darkness.

There are people who are afraid of God. In a survey done a number of years ago, people were asked about their image of God. The most common response for the image of God was a border-crossing guard. I don’t know about you, but I tense up when I approach a border-crossing guard. I prepare my defence, get out my passport, tally up my shopping bills, knowing that the guard could search my car or stop me from crossing the border.

But God is not like a border-crossing guard. The reason Jesus came to this earth was to reveal God to us, to show us who God is and what God is like. What he showed us was love, and grace, and mercy and compassion and generosity. Jesus revealed to us a God we could trust, not fear, a God in whom we could have faith, and who will always have faith in us.

Do not be afraid.

You know, at the very moment that Jesus tells this story, he is the one who is about to go away on a journey, the journey to the cross. And so he summons his disciples, just as the master does in this parable. He summons his disciples to a meal in an upper room, and there he entrusts them with something of immense value. One by one he kneels in front of them and washes their feet. Then he says to them, “Love one another, as I have loved you.”

I think that’s what this parable is all about. God pours God’s love into us, and we in turn are to pour God’s love on those around us. We receive gifts that are more than we could ask or imagine, love, grace, mercy, hope, and we in turn share these gifts with one another. That’s how it’s meant to work. The two servants who trust the master enough to live this way, to enter into this divine flow of the universe, to be the means of God’s grace in the world, they enter into the joy of the master.

The one who is afraid misses out on the joy of living this way and is left in outer darkness. Which sounds harsh, until we remember that the outer darkness is exactly where Jesus is heading next, and he will once more bring that same message, “Be not afraid”, and he will again offer God’s love, mercy and grace, for God never gives up on any of God’s children.

Be not afraid. Trust God. Enter the divine flow of receiving and giving, loving one another as God has loved us, living fully and abundantly in the knowledge that we are loved, and enter the joy of the master.

Amen.

Homily. Yr A P 33. November 15 2020. St. Albans

Readings: Judges 4.1-7; Ps 123; 1 Thess 5.1-11; Mt 25.14-30

Image by Caleb Roenigk, Creative Commons

ReImagine: Preaching in the Present Tense now available from Wood Lake Publishing

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