St. James' Episcopal Church
Goshen, Indiana

Our 158th Year

Saturday, August 4, 2007


Sermon for August 5th, 2007

Sermon for August 5, 2007
St. James’, Goshen IN
Arthur Hadley

Most of us are old enough to be concerned about all the stuff we have accumulated in our life time. What do you do with all that stuff. My sister and I have been going through my father’s few thousand slide photos. Some of them carefully labeled and ready to show in carrousels slide cartons. We both have old projectors, and neither of us has a spare bulb. So if the projector bulb blows the show is over. Well what do you do with absolutely beautiful slide photo of a corn field some where in Argentina taken in 1972; not just one but 50 or so. Or photos of unidentified people taken at a meeting or dinner somewhere, perhaps Russia, dated on the slide holder 1968. But we know that my father would often get the sides developed several months, even years after he took the photo. My father was the epitome of the absent minded professor; he would drive to his office, and walk home.

Well the sorting of my father’s photos has led to the sorting of my photos: 450 slides of a 1958 trip to Europe - nice shot of a large gothic church, maybe Germany or Austria. Or another few hundred of unidentified herb gardens. Now the family photos are kind of fun, but would be more useful if we could identify some of the great aunts, uncles and distant cousins.

The first lesson says that all of our doings, strivings, collections, worries, all our stuff is just vanity. Do you really enjoy stumbling over the boxes of photos that you don’t look at and can not identify? Are mementoes of a 1958 trip to Europe really useful? How about 50 years of canceled check? Or in my case a 40 year collection of sermons - yuck.

Jesus was ask to help two brothers divide the family estate. Jesus said, Take heed; beware of all covetousness: a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions. There was a rich person who had filled all of his bank accounts, IRAs and houses with all of his possessions. What shall I do; build an even bigger barn to hold all the stuff of life. And God said, You fool: this night I will require your soul, and the things that you have, whose will they be? He who lays of treasure for himself but is not rich in heaven.

And Paul reminds us to love one another, and forgive one another as God Loves and forgives us.
What is Loving and Forgiving about all the stuff we have accumulated? Storing it in boxes, filing cabinets, trunks unseen, unidentified, gathering dust and mildew is not loving or forgiving.

Sharing with family and friends, if they want it, is loving and forgiving.

Using your wealth to assist others: family, friends and neighbors, is loving and forgiving. Providing in your estate to assist others is loving and forgiving.

We have been given the great gift from God of Love, Forgiveness and Salvation. This is a gift; we do not earn, deserve or have any right to those, but they are given by God.

What do we do in return? Take our ease, eat, drink and be merry? No, we Love and Forgive others as God has loved and forgiven us.

Thanks be to God.

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