I believe I have recovered from General Assembly! It is waaaayyyyy too long of an event.
But the take-aways are many. Our denomination is on a solid footing. We have good leaders and the future is bright. I also walk away with a whole host of renewed relationships. Indeed, the dynamics of GA are such that relationships can be fostered, and that is the real strength of this meeting. As I mentioned on Sunday in my GA debriefing, it is not the committee work or the plenary decisions that are of importance, but the way this church puts its “best foot forward” in this time, does worship well, sets the bar high for the rest of the year in terms of relationships and direction.
Another walk away is that our denomination is now ready to stand up to the powers and principalities. We are a denomination that has God at the center of our existence, and the evil at work in our world is something to oppose.
Interesting, that is the focus of the Matthew passage today.
The parable of the rich young man: “It will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astounded and said, “Then who can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said, “For mortals it is impossible, but for God all things are possible.”
We are reminded that God is the mover and shaker. Everything begins with God’s movement in our lives. We are in the same boat as the rich young man – tied to our worldly affairs so much we are unwilling to let go. This is the essence of our sin.
But with God all things are possible. If we as a church or a denomination are going to get anywhere it is coming to this realization. It is not about us. It never was. It is about God.
Is it possible for us to let go and claim the newness of God? Not an escape from this world, but God offers a release from the power of greed, money, status, and worth. We have found new and everlasting worth with Christ.
This is the miracle of the gospel. The abundance of God’s love is so great, that we can talk about it in terms of a camel going through the eye of a needle. It is an abundance of impossibility. Not counting our faults, the love of God washes over us like a gentle rain, encapsulating us.
There are those who believe that text is not a metaphor, but a literal “eye of a needle.” But did you that in some later centuries, the early churches had doors that were referred to as “eyes of needles”? Tired of the rich people riding their horses into the sanctuary, they would shrink the doors so only people could get through, raising the bottom, lowering the top, so it was what amounted to a crawl space.
And what a way to start church! You are reminded that you can pass through the eye of a needle, when you are amongst God’s faithful. With God all things are possible! It’s even possible to travel through the eye of a needle – traveling through every Sunday morning.