Grasping for Stones

Matthew 4:1-11

Why do we keep grasping for stones? An alcoholic clutches his drink, believing somehow it will become bread to him. Feed the emptiness inside, feed his hunger to forget, vanquish the fear, lift the fog of depression, mask the guilt of being one of life’s casualties until someone reaches out, taking his trembling hand, offering him a lifeline, an invitation to walk with him through the journey to sobriety. One day in the future, someone in need will ask him what saved him and he will say, “I couldn’t believe that someone would do that for me.” Jesus replied, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” In the beginning was The Word, and The Living Word said, “ Love you neighbour as yourself.”
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Why do we keep grasping for stones? When we find ourselves passing others on the highway of life our need to go faster, to do more, to attain more, we don’t know where we are headed, we are not sure of just how much is enough, but we know more is better than less. The fear of sacristy drives us forward.
Market projections are always set higher than the previous year, the cost of living increases and every year we stay the same we lose, we need more in the pension fund, more investments, the car lease is up, time to get a better one, another suit, another dress, a bigger closet, a bigger house. Jesus replied, “It is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.’” The Living Word says, “ Seek ye first the Kingdom of Heaven and all other things shall come unto you.”
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Why do we keep grasping for stones? The devil says, “ Command these stones to be changed into bread.” So we excavate the stones, we crush them making them into something that brings us comfort. We squeeze them until oil, gas and coal, gold, silver, diamonds are extracted from them. We keep squeezing, harder and harder, ignoring the cries of Mother Earth. Jesus replied, “Again it is written, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'” The Living Word says, “Look at the beggar sitting outside your gate. There will come a day when he will have everything he needs for all eternity and you, well, you have your reward.
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Why do we keep grasping for stones? Why does God’s church keep grasping for stones? A balanced budget is a heavy stone. The stone of bums in the pews is a millstone around our necks. The stone of managing while deeper issues remain unheard is like a stone hovering above the water just waiting for the time it will drop, causing ripples of fear to reach our shores. The stone of inclusion with welcoming hands and smiles, invited to do what we do; and if you can’t, or, don’t wish to, well, then, … Jesus replied, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”
The Living Word shares an experience, Jesus is travelling with a large crowd. As they travel, they pass beggars sitting by the road. The beggars are consumed by the crowd, for a while, included but not belonging, since they cannot move the same way the crowd does. Many of them cannot get up to walk with them as they make their way to the kitchen, to the garage sale, to the turkey pies. The ones who are welcomed are left to sit. Once included, but not belonging. Yet, Jesus stops an entire crowd so he can speak to just one of the beggars who cries from the side, “Lord Jesus, have mercy upon me!” Why do we keep grasping for stones?

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