A Hole in Our Soul
Today's parable of the Rich Fool is about the emptiness in the life of the rich man who thinks if he builds big enough barns he will be happy and safe. Of course in the last 24 hours, we have learned it couldn't be further from the truth. We have a hole in the souls of our country. People, families shopping getting ready for school. Buying groceries for the week ahead when their lives changed forever. A gunman filled with hate for immigrants opened fire killing men and women. All-day the news covered the tragedy. We wake up this morning with news of another shooting in Dayton. People out enjoying an evening with friends senselessly killed.
Why is always the question asked. Well, it is too late for why with the people who have been shot. We have a hole in the souls of our country. Fed by hate towards the other. What can we do? Is the other question. Well, it is as simple as saying enough. Enough of tolerating racist language or comments made about immigrants. All of us in one sense or another are responsible. When we shrug it off as just the way someone is, we too are culpable. When you receive a racist email about "the other" we shouldn't just delete it, we should reply all to be taken off the list and why.
These are small but important ways we can change our society. Our collective no's will turn the tide of the ugliness so prevalent and accepted in our society. And there is one very important idea to remember which is "Hate has no place here." Say it loud and say it proud.
I was always think of this passage from Luke as a cross between Ernest T. Bass and the Tasmanian Devil. The three share the characteristics of being out of control but also share loneliness. No one wants to be with any of these characters but they so desperately want to have friends. People who are mentally troubled are frightening because they are unpredictable. The switch we use to pull back from hurting someone or becoming violent is turned off for them. They are a harm to themselves and to us. Which is why we tend to avoid them on the street. The same is true for the Gerasene demoniac and the people are so frightened of him, they bind him in chains and sit a guard with him in the graveyard among the tombs Luke writes.
He is for all intents and purposes dead, spiritually and emotionally. Physically cut off from his friends and family. He is entombed by his illness. How many of us are entombed by things in our lives? Addictions to drugs, alcohol, shopping. Things which keep us from having a full and meaningful life. In the book "The Elephant in the Room " Tommy Tomlinson begins his story with the number on the scale: 467 pounds. The book is his year long quest to understand why he has chosen to entomb himself with his weight. Tomlinson tells of his misery at having to use seat belt extenders, to not being able to go on hikes or even his wife's inability to put her arms around him. His story is heart and gut wrenching to read and his honesty is bracing. Through the course of the book, he loses weight slowly and on his own timetable trying to understand how he reached this weight.
We are each in our own ways locked in our own personal tombs. Tombs of sorrow, loneliness, addiction or fear. But the good news in this like the Gerasene demoniac we too can be healed by the presence of Jesus. His healing touch gives us new life and we like the man locked away are free and free to tell about it.
Well as always, the Sunday after Pentecost is Trinity Sunday and preachers around the world wrestle with the concept. How to explain the explainable? We consult commentaries, listen to podcasts and yes, some even visit desperatepreacher.com for inspiration.
What I have learned about the Trinity is this: God is the Creator, Jesus is the Redeemer and the Holy Spirit is the Sanctifier. Each has their own role but like any good business model their roles are intertwined. We learn to live with the tension of the three being an active force in our lives and in the world.
Yes, it is a difficult concept but remember this: God created our beautiful world. Jesus redeemed us by his death on the cross and the Holy Spirit, She, yes she is the worker in the world.