Are we just a drop in the ocean? – 12th Sunday after Trinity
Today’s gospel message seems to create extreme pre-conditions for entry into the Kingdom: a willingness to break family ties, a willingness to face radical self-denial, and a willingness to renounce all material possessions.There may be some consolation in the fact that Luke was employing a typically Palestinian form of expression of its day, where the word ‘hate’ denotes not so much the emotion as a sense of priority, but nevertheless this is strong stuff. In wrestling with the passage we need to confront our notions of self, of society at large and lastly what, who, how we conceive God to be. We may come up with different answers to the people of Luke’s day – as well we might. But are we just a drop in the ocean?
Lent is a pilgrimage, a journey into, perhaps, previously uncharted territory and not always the most comfortable of places. But in all the talk of repentance during Lent, we should also remember that the word in its Greek and Hebrew roots means much more than simply feeling sorry.
It was G.K Chesterton who wrote: The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult, and left untried.
The prophets tell us that it is the duty of the people of God to care about and be advocates for those who are poor and powerless – and Jesus’ first concern was for those who were the most vulnerable and had no voice.
We like to form a pattern of the world, a mental map of how things work, why they happen, an explanation of the way the world works, and why. We tend to seek explanations for new things according to the old ways.
Generally, it can serve us well.
It makes our world feel more constant, more predictable, less random and unstable – it also cuts down on mental processing time – we can assume certain constants, and concentrate on what is changing before our eyes.