II Corinthians 8:7-15
July 1, 2018 Abraham Abbey Church
The little girl and the woman in our gospel story this morning were both healed by Jesus, but it is a safe assumption that they both eventually died. Humans die. Jesus died. Jesus is fully human, as well as fully God. In some unexplainable way, that means that God had also experienced death. Impossible, but true. But, since Jesus is fully God and fully human, it also means that he not only experienced death, he also experienced fully human eternal life.
In our first reading, Solomon says that we are created as the image of God’s eternity, but we choose death through envy. God creates us for eternal joy, but we desperately want so much less, so we kill our eternal joy and try to fill the void with other things, doing anything we can to fill that infinite space with the finite things around us – even if that means taking them from other people. And so sin and death enter the world.
The things around us are not bad; they are good. They are just not God. Anything that is not God is less than God. So, we should take Paul’s advice from our second reading this morning. He is writing to people who have more than they need, asking them to give to people who have less than they need. They are not forced to do so; it is voluntary – giving must be voluntary in order to negate lifekilling envy. Giving is what God does.
It is not easy on the surface, but in terms of eternal joy, it is worth it. Letting go of our finite resource of things, time, and energy opens us up so that the infinite joy of God can fill us. We don’t always freely give of ourselves all the time, and we all know it. That does not mean we are evil. It means we are tired and worried. Jesus knows that; he was also tired and worried, and so doesn’t mind it sometimes when we just give up and have to let Jesus give through us (but even doing that is a form of giving: giving up our self-righteousness). It takes time and work, but mostly it takes grace. So it is a good thing that God is gracious and that God gives. God gives eternal life, and every time we refuse it, God offers it again. AMEN