Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4
II Thes 1:1-4,11-12
2 Thess 1:11-2:2
by Paulo Ueti, Theological Advisor & Latin American Director for Anglican Alliance
SUMMARY OF PREACHING THEME
We are being called to see, to mind, pay attention, to direct our perception to the cries of the creation. “I will stand at my watch post, and station myself on the rampart; I will keep watch to see what he will say to me, and what he will answer concerning my complaint”. Habakkuk reminds us that justice and perception (care for) are core to the faithful life in God. This is the path to pursue and to recruit for. God is the God of justice, care and love. The creation is his gift of love, it is his child, all creation. Through creation we got the amazing opportunity to meet God and acknowledge his loving and caring presence. “When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today.”. Jesus is interested to reconnect. He wants relationship. The anthropocentric, imperialistic and only development perspective and interpretation on the narrative of Creation (Gn 1) let part of humanity to think of and treat the source of life (creation in relation and collaboration) into re-source, transforming all, including most of the humans as things to be used to satisfy a very small portion of privilege people. Relationship was cut off. A system of usurpation was sacralised and institutionalised. But there were always discordant voices, prophetic voices reminding those in power, using religion as shield and justification for their privileges, that the path of God is the path of relationship, equality and just relationships. Instead of “dominion and submission” (Genesis 1) we must choose “cultivate and watch out” what was given to us as a token of love and care. Jesus always wanted to restore the capacity of linking, connection and relations all of us have. Jesus is trying hard to teach the community and those who follow him that people like Zacchaeus must be reached and shown the power of just relations and loving connections. Meeting with Jesus changes lives, perspectives and economic development perspectives. From accumulation and dishonesty to privilege wealthy into transparency, detachment and sharing (not giving, but sharing) with other who are more in need than ourselves. We are called to pray for improvement in the consciousness and capacity to share resources. We are called to inspire and influence systems and social norms to “take care and cultivate” not “dominate and subdue”. Let’s get more involved in sustainable practices in our communities of faith and inspire/influence people to see, acknowledge, pay attention and do something to help save the planet and its biodiversity.
Old Testament reading / Psalm
- It is our right to cry out, as a prophetic public lament to call attention to those in power and in our communities. It helps to unveil and acknowledge the emergency crises in which we live in. Pray is a powerful way to raise consciousness, to vent our sorrows and connect with others and nature
- God is a God of presence and strengthening. His presence and spirit support us “watching our”, making a stand and keep resilient and resistant to the temptation of giving up.
- The righteous live by their faith. Faith is movement to connect, transform and glorify (make his presence real and perceptible) God. Care for creation and do something to have a future is pivotal to our Christian spirituality and theology.
New Testament reading
- Faith is movement. Faith is transforming realities and people. By faith we reveal the Kingdom of God, we DO something to address inequality and resist the temptations of the imperial ideo-theologies.
- Churches have the responsibility to be a parable of God’s love and desire to reconnect. Even during hard times like persecutions, afflictions and desperation God is there in your sister and brother struggling with you, in the whole creation who is crying for help.
- It is Church’s ministry to make people experience the grace of God, which is transformative and connective. The grace granted for free and because of love from God transforms us and led us to learn, care and live WITH the whole creation as ONE.
- The Gospel of Luke is very concern about economic management, stewardship and sustainable administration. The whole session “on the way to Jerusalem” (there is nothing of this in the other gospels) insists on money, material possessions, management, detachment and new ways of connect with each other.
- Jesus wants to connect, to be in relationship. Relationships shape the world. The kind of relationship exercised is pivotal to the way we organise our resources and manage them.
- Jesus teaches us, by example, to care for, to be interested in looking for opportunities for new relationships that leads to transformational acts and perspectives.
- And “the lost”, the most vulnerable, the forgotten or undervalued are the “locus” where we reveal God’s love and transformational economy.
Stories / illustrations / videos:
by Paulo Ueti, Brazil