Discipleship, Cornel West and the Baggage Retrieval system they’ve got at Heathrow

If I handed out pieces of paper now
and asked you to make a list of all the things that you were worried about
I wonder how long the list would be.

Here is Terry Jones’ (from Monty Python) list

What is it for us?

The situation in the middle east?
Climate Change?
The future for next generations?
The sufficiency of the aged care or health systems?

Will our children have faith?
Will our grandchildren have faith?
Have I lived a good life?
Am I living a good life

Jesus’ own followers were worried about what was going on
and what would be happening with the movement of God.
And he tells them this story – a farmer scatters seed, and then forgets about it
And then do you know what?
First there is this little tiny shoot.
And then it grows a bit more
and then in time there is enough for a harvest.
Go figure.

It’s not a parable for control freaks.
It’s not a parable for those who do not sit in uncertainty.
It is not a parable for those who like to make sure
there are processes, policies, protocols, procedures, all to guarantee an outcome.

But it is a parable for the followers of Jesus.
And, surprisingly enough – even for the control freaks and the worriers –
this is a parable that is told to give a sense of optimism and hope.

What is the hope? – that it doesn’t all centre on what you are doing.
What is the hope? – that there is an outcome beyond you and beyond your control.

A few weeks back, in the 945 service one week,
we planted seeds and little beginnings – rays of possibility – in our garden here

How many of you have done anything to the garden?
How many of you have watered it?   Weeded it?   Nourished it?

But look:


And you’ve done nothing!

Bill Loader has noted that
we live in the tension between hope-informed life and love in the here and now,
and increasing exposure to the hopelessness which many people face.
There are no short-cuts, there is a big picture which can only ever come partially into view. These parables encourage us to defy hopelessness
and to believe that nothing will serve the interests of those surround us, our planet & selves, better than to allow ourselves to be part of God’s reign,
part of God’s life and love in the world.

One important principle for living lives as disciples
is that with just about all our worries, we don’t get to control the outcomes.

Will there be peace in the middle east?    Don’t know
Will there be action quick enough to prevent devastating climate change?  Don’t know
Will our children have faith when they choose for themselves?   Maybe

But what we can guide is the way that we live.
The way that we choose to act, think, speak.

Last week on QandA, the American preacher Cornel West
gave a great insight into how it is that people of faith
can make their choices to act, think and speak.
Watch it here

That can be part of the story that we are part of …
In the face of catastrophe … compassion, courage vision.

As a disciple, as a follower of Jesus, you can control the integrity of your own life.
And Jesus promises that the movement of God grows that little bit more and more
First the sprout, then the stalk and then the full head of the harvest.

As Melissa Bane Sevier reflects

The kind way you raised your children will probably someday, some way,
help to make them into kind people.
The justice you work for now may not be harvested for years, even decades.
The way you treat someone may flow on to others in a similar form.
The time you spend in volunteering or study
or prayer and meditation or family life or your job
will make you a better person, and those around you will also benefit

Choose your response
Choose the way that you live in compassion
Choose the way that you are going to be a disciple

And let the Baggage retrieval system they’ve got at Heathrow
and other worries about the future
stay in perspective in the movement of God

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