Saturday, June 18, 2005

Acts 4:32-5:11

In the first part of today's reading, Luke speaks of a church united in heart and soul, where possessions are voluntarily sold to meet the needs of all, and "there was not a needy person among them." Luke embodies this ideal in Barnabas, who sells everything he has and gives all the proceeds to the apostles for those in need.

It is difficult to imagine a Barnabas in today's society. Grace remains ours for the asking. Faith is part of the foundation of Christianity. Yet, we struggle with disentangling ourselves from our possessions. No matter how generous we may be in our charitable donations or in our tithing to the church, we can't seem to help acquiring, collecting, accumulating.

When I lived in Miami, I had a friend whose father grew frail with age. No longer able to care for himself, Norma's dad had to sell his home and furnishings and move in with her. She lived in a small house, one already filled with her possessions. There, her dad had his own room. In his room, he had a chest of drawers, and a closet. He quickly filled these with his possessions. But he had more, in boxes. He stacked those boxes against the walls of his bedroom and around his bed. When he had finished stacking the boxes in his room, all that remained was a narrow passageway from the door to his bed, his chest of drawers, and the closet. Even the window was blocked. And so he lived the last year of his life surrounded by his boxes of stuff. And so he died. Within a week of his funeral, his room in Norma's house was once again empty, except for the bed and the empty chest of drawers. And the window once again welcomed the light and the warm rays of the sun.

Lord, please fill us with the grace to sever the ties that bind us to our possessions, so that, rather than weeding through and trying to organize our "stuff," we may spend more time reading Your Word, tending to each other's needs, and touching each other's lives. Help us become a church united in heart and soul so that "there is no needy person" among us. Amen.

Martha Olson

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