July 31, 2022 Sermon preached by Carolyn H. Eklund

Year C; Proper 13FB; 7.31.2022

Luke 12:13-34

            Last week I viewed a short video of a conversation between an “Angel” and “God.” The video was a parody of God, and focused on God’s creation of dogs. Naturally, I tuned in! The angel and God were the same actor, a young man in whose Instagram videos he loves to imitate different breeds of dogs. Really…he’s very funny!

            In this video, he plays himself as the angel. He also plays God, who wears a platinum blonde “red-carpet” type, glamorous Hollywood wig. Maybe he is playing “God,” the God of our culture.

So, the conversation goes like this:

Angel:  Remember on the first day you created light? Well, we had a little light left over, so we thought we might as well put it into dogs.  

God: Great idea. What are you going to name them?

Angel: I’m thinking of naming them Golden Retriever.

God: That’s unreal! They retrieve gold!

Angel: No! They are golden in color, and they retrieve dead birds and things like that.

God:   Ick. Well, that’s disappointing.

Angel: No! Really! It will be super beneficial to humans.

God: It would be more beneficial to retrieve gold, but whatever.

Angel: They even could be used as guide dogs.

God:   Oh! They can guide the humans to the gold!


God: Then change the name! You are spreading misinformation calling them Golden Retrievers! Maybe you can make them use a metal detector to find the gold.

Angel: The name is fine and they are good at hunting by scent. They don’t need a metal detector. If you want to find gold, there are plenty of fools in this country hording their gold in their underground bunkers. Find them on your own!


            “There are plenty of fools hording their gold…”. That’s what Jesus called the rich man in the gospel story today. The rich man had built up new, larger barns to store his bumper crop, hording his gains all for himself. “You fool!” Jesus said. “This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be??” Jesus is saying, “Mr. Rich Man. Bless your heart, you can’t take it with you!”

Jesus and his disciples are still heading toward Jerusalem followed by the growing crowds. A man suddenly runs up to Jesus and demands that Jesus force his brother to fork over the family goods which were, he said, rightfully his. The crowds saw a potential, very public sibling rivalry beginning to unfold and no doubt, they wanted to see a “good fight.” “What will the rabbi do?”

Well, the “rabbi” took no sides and, naturally began to teach about taking God’s side. He taught them all the hard lesson of storing up for yourselves treasures on earth and the absolute fact that not one person on earth takes it with them into death.

            The gospel story is a simple lesson on greed and the spiritual dangers of amassing wealth and doing nothing but sitting on it, building bigger and bigger storage buildings, banks, McMansions, property, jewels, cultural status symbols…more and more wealth. In our country’s history, isn’t that what slavery was all about?  Giant plantations and exploiting human beings to work the land without wages for a huge profit.

And then what?

Jesus wants more than anything for his followers, for us, to trust that we have more than enough right now, and that God provides all we have. What’s more is that we have provision enough to share. In my reading this week, I was reminded again of John Wesley’s Rule of Life. His rule included nothing about retrieving gold. His rule was all about sharing what he had, simply put, “I will save all I can and give all I can.”

What hadn’t crossed the mind of the rich man, who was the recipient of a bumper crop, was to share anything at all. He thought instead, that he had a bright, original idea. “I know! I’ll tear down my storage buildings and build new, bigger ones! Then I’ll sit back, relax, eat drink and be merry.”

            At Vestry last Thursday, we talked about this passage in our usual pairs, listening to each other and sharing what they had to say. I loved that Karen Rienert and Jan DeBlieu said, “Maybe the “eat, drink and be merry could begin with “‘pray,’ eat drink and be merry.’” Jan and Karen shared with us their reflection about what Jesus wants his followers to think and to do: “I have a bowl of full of fruit, and I ask myself, ‘Do I have enough?’ Then I look at my neighbor’s bowl and ask the same question, ‘do you have enough?’ If not, then I am to make sure my neighbor has a full bowl, too. This is what being rich toward God is.”

            You have given generously to fund our digital upgrade throughout the building that will serve this parish and beyond our bounds for years to come. What a blessing that we will dedicate it today! Your gifts enabled us to share worship and God’s good news of love with people at home who aren’t able to join us for health reasons or people who live out of town, like my sisters!

What’s more is that you continue to give to the Rector’s Discretionary Fund. This week, I was able to help a woman from South Portland who had searched churches in Portland to help her with her mortgage before she lost her home. No one in Portland gave her anything but judgment. After 20 years of domestic abuse, she finally was able to break free of the abuser. But he was the bread winner. And she is in the process of applying for disability due to multiple health issues. She has teenagers still at home.

            She told me that people turned her down, mostly women who said, “You had choices and you made bad ones.” Another one said, “You could have stopped having kids.” Probably all true. But I was moved with pity and I was able to partially fund one month’s payment. She actually drove to Brunswick for a conversation with me.

            A great saint once said, “If you were given all the material things of the world, all the cattle, lands, and lakes, you would be unhappy unless you could share them with someone you loved.”  

We might think that the story Jesus told is really about the dangers of greed. It is. But it is also about generosity, love and joy.

What if the true “gold” of our lives is the joy we feel when share what we have?