Reformed DNA: Always Reforming

Reformed DNA: Always Reforming

Sermon on Leviticus 19:1-2, 15-18 and Matthew 22:34-4, October 29, 2017, All Saints

Leviticus 19:1-2, 15-18

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying:

Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them: You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.

You shall not render an unjust judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great: with justice you shall judge your neighbor. You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not profit by the blood of your neighbor: I am the Lord.

You shall not hate in your heart anyone of your kin; you shall reprove your neighbor, or you will incur guilt yourself. You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.

Matthew 22:34-40

When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

There is a company called “23 And Me” that will test your DNA for a fee, so that you can see where your ancestors really came from.  Their TV commercials show a number of people expressing pleasant surprise, or even shocked reactions to learning their heritage.   Our DNA forms our identity.  It gives us our eye and hair color, our features and characteristics, even, to a large extent, our diseases.

And for that reason, we have used DNA as a metaphor for something which is so characteristic that it is essential to identity.  We can say that a company has a DNA, or an organization has a DNA.  For example, it is in the DNA of the Christian Service Center to want to give people a hand up, so the Center will find ways to do that, from the food pantry to bicycles.  Continue reading “Reformed DNA: Always Reforming”

All God’s Money

All God’s Money

Sermon on Matthew 22:15-22 for Pentecost +20A, October 22, 2017

Matthew 22:15-22

Then the Pharisees went and plotted to entrap him in what he said. So they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and teach the way of God in accordance with truth, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality. Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?” But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why are you putting me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the coin used for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. Then he said to them, “Whose head is this, and whose title?” They answered, “The emperor’s.” Then he said to them, “Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” When they heard this, they were amazed; and they left him and went away.

A song I like, by the band Wilco, has a line in it that says, “Our love is all of God’s money.”  When I first heard it, I was struck by how odd the thought was that God had money.  Why would God have money?   Of course, I get it, that it is a metaphor – but such an odd one that I never would have thought it up. 

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But, when you think about it, maybe it is apt.  We use money to measure value.  We humans have been using money since at least 3,000 BCE, as evidence from ancient Mesopotamia indicates.  In the bible, we read of Abraham buying the cave of Machpelah from the Hittites as a tomb for his wife Sarah. That story is set around the year 2,000 BCE. 

Continue reading “All God’s Money”