Dispatch from Lexington Theological Seminary
September 5, 2008 7:30 p.m.
In my daily Bible readings I have been following the daily lectionary provided by the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ since Easter. In the gospel reading this morning, Jesus spoke to the crowds about the cost of discipleship (Luke 14: 25-33). This segment ends with, “So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.” Luke 14: 33 NRSV. In my Bible readings this year I have felt dogged by this idea of giving up my possessions. At times I have interpreted these messages as a directive to sell my Matchbox car collection, which I have kept in a box and moved around the country since before my adult children were born. As I prepared to divest myself of my Matchboxes, the busyness of preparing to leave my home, my wife, and my known way of life for seminary resulted in little time for photographing my little cars and posting them to eBay.
Today, however, I am realizing that perhaps I have been too literal in my reading of the term possessions. Perhaps the possessions that I am being asked to give up are daily living with my wife of nearly thirty years, my life of predictability and esteem as a veteran early childhood educator, and a sense of control of my own life. Perhaps, in this passage from Luke, Jesus is asking us to take the risk of following him, take the risk for the Kin-dom of God by letting go of what we value and most fear losing.
Those who find their life, will lose it. and those who lose their life will find it.
Matthew 10: 39 NRSV
Am I rationalizing and reinterpreting Jesus' words in order to keep an old box of toys in my basement? If my incredible joy and excitement at the end of my first week of seminary education is any indication, if the joyous and supportive tone of my wife's voice as we talked by phone last night is any indication, and if my strong sense of being exactly where I am intended to be is any indication, than at least in my case the Holy Spirit is telling me that I am on the right path.