What do we think about after first waking up in the morning? What does the new day hold for us? Maybe it is a day full of chores or a day of leisure. A worrisome doctor’s appointment may be looming, or a delightful lunch with a good friend. We might feel strong and healthy or tired and weak. Perhaps we are confident we have what we need to deal with the day’s challenges or we feel woefully inadequate to complete even the slightest task. In facing each day, a key question is: What has power in our lives? What rules us? What drives us?
Jesus tells a story in the Gospel about a man who was driven by the desire for having more (Luke 12:13-21). Greed was the driving force in his life shown by his construction of bigger barns to store all of his goods. He had much more than he could use, yet he thought if he stored it all for himself he would have absolute security. The story concludes with God saying he is foolish for finding security in bigger barns, and that he would die the very night those barns were filled. The concluding admonition is to beware of storing up treasures for ourselves instead of being rich in the things that matter to God.
Much of the conflict, division and violence in our world is motivated by a greed for power. This is as true about the endless violence in the Middle East as it is about the senseless bloodshed on the streets of our own nation. An analysis of the conflicts in our institutions, families and relationships would likely conclude they are rooted in the desire to have power over each other. This desire is often born out or our own sense of feeling powerless so we protect ourselves by trying to control others.
The good news is that as disciples of Jesus, we are not powerless at all. We always have with us the power of God who loves us. Being rich in what matters to God is to truly believe that we are loved by God. This wealth is manifested in our sense that all human beings are precious in the sight of God so there is no need to be driven by a desire to control each other. Imagine a world where, instead of seeking power over each other, we shared power with each other. Now that is real power.
Together in faith,
Fr. Christopher Smith, Rector