Yes, God is all about Love – and we come to church to know that. But Jesus was full of challenges. They were hard for people to hear in his time, and hard for us – perhaps even more so in this culture of accumulation. He told a man with many possessions that he must sell everything he owned, give the money to the poor, and follow him (Jesus) – which did not sound appealing on multiple levels. Then, only then, he might, just might know eternal life. Sometimes it’s a matter of recognizing that much of what we claim to “need,” is baggage, pure and simple. All Jesus is saying is: This is going to weigh you down, slow you down, on your journey. It’s just up to each of us to examine what our “everything” is – stuff, money, identity – and how and when to set it down. We confuse “wants” and “needs” a lot, you know – our own and those of others.
Maybe the really Good News is that God’s love and grace shine through our challenges and struggles with what our particular “everything” might be. You can feel really free, free to be all God asks that you authentically be, when you ditch the baggage. At the end of worship, several of us remembered the song line: Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose… (Kristofferson, 1971) With Jesus you have everything to gain, and nothing to lose.
Peace and grace,