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LK 12: 13-21
9th Sunday after Pentecost

While it wouldn't be unusual for a Rabbi to arbitrate in a dispute of the kind that 'someone in the crowd' brings before Jesus, the latter's not having any of that kind of thing! Two things strike me:

The first is that Jesus notices & responds to 'someone in the crowd'. That 'someone' is more often not seen, not heard, ignored these days, in the community, even in our churches. With Jesus, little people always count. What they want isn't necessarily any better for them than what the big guys (like the one in the parable that follows) want, but they are seen & heard by God - more than sparrows.

The second thing is that where Jesus eschews legalities, for centuries the church has run on them, 'thrived' on them. In practical terms we do live by law & not by grace. God gave Ten Commandments, Jesus summarised them in two. But the parishes, dioceses, & national church in which I've served have Statute Books inches thick!!! Might Jesus be asking, 'Which part of the word 'No' don't you understand? 

Both the man in the crowd & the rich man of the parable have lost their ability to live free & alive to God. They are both bound, the one by a property dispute, the other by business opportunism. Neither of these may be what binds us, but likely as not, something does. Jesus doesn't have a problem with property as such, only with how we feel about it; what we do with it. If it's not property that's stopping us from being free & alive to God, is there something else that is?

If we were 'someone in the crowd' asking Jesus for help today, what might we be asking? He always hears our pleas, but how might he respond to what we ask of him? If Jesus were to tell a parable about us, in what kind of imagery might he couch it?  
Are we, big guy or little guy still, in one way or another 'storing up treasures for ourselves, but are not rich toward God'? Being fools living by earthly timing, deaf to God's heavenly clock ticking away?

How can we move away from legalism in the Body? How can we begin, or go back to living by grace, not by law? What do you & I need to do about that? What does our congregation, our denomination, need to do?