I’m busy preparing the gospel lesson for this week’s sermon. One of the rhythms at Kleipot is the following of the lectionary. This has helped us not to read our ‘favorite’ Scriptures over and again. In the last three years we have been challenged by the sheer force of the Gospels. In this year’s cycle we read through Mark and this weekend we encounter the story of the rich young ruler. Jesus challenged this young man to give all his possessions to the poor. And for him it was a precondition for his walk with Jesus (no quick-fix sinner’s prayer for him).
As I’m studying the church’s interpretive angle on this passage I’m struck by the dualism that crept into the exegesis of this passage. It’s almost as if we are afraid to allow this story to unsettle our firm sense of security in a western capitalistic system. This passage has always been easy for me and the reason for that is that I never imagined myself as rich. I say ‘has always been’ because it’s not that easy now. I now realize that I’m in the rich category. And if you’re reading this then you’re probably too.
A few months ago our community renounced the lie of ‘middle-class. We acknowldeged that we’re rich and as such started to deal with the real fact of our lives. After our confessions we worked through a list of everything Jesus said to the rich – which now included us. The passage about the rich young ruler was one of them. Over the weekend we will revisit this passage and I’m excited to see where God will lead us.
One thing I must say is that Jesus’ interaction with this man is amazing. We (like the young man himself) often only focus on the fact that he had to sell everything and give it away and then we’re so shocked by this that we forget that he was invited to come and be with Jesus – I suspect that this is the key to this passage. It poses the question about what we’re shocked about … is it because we’re loosing wealth or because we might loose Jesus?