Strive first for the community

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.
Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?… Therefore do not worry, saying, “What will we eat?’ or “What will we drink?’ or “What will we wear?” … But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

         — Matthew 6. 25, 31, 33

Sadly, for millions life really is not much more than food, clothing, shelter and medical care. It certainly isn’t much without those things. It might sound like Jesus is telling the poor to tough it out and wait for the blessings of the afterlife instead of expecting worldly comforts in this life. Or maybe that if they live morally upright lives God will somehow reward them with material goods. But this teaching does not let us off the hook of God’s demands for justice. We might get away with that if “the Kingdom of God” were something private and individual. But “the kingdom of God” is a community.

Strive first for the community, not for yourself. Seek the community of God: a community of compassion, with just and merciful relationships. If we who have food and clothing (and power and privilege), share with those who do not, everyone will have enough. What prevents us from sharing more? What prevents us from taking risks in order to reshape economic systems of injustice? Our fear of not having enough. So it’s not the poor that Jesus is talking to, but us. If we cling to our riches and comforts, we will have only our materials goods, but not real Life. If we strive for the community of God, everyone— even we who have enough— will have enough.

Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

Copyright © Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

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