A Great Cloud of Witnesses

Six months after Ash Wednesday,

Six months after Ash Wednesday, we are gifted with another month of reminders of its most basic and important lessons. Once again we have an opportunity to recognize our false idols - especially the most persistent: wealth, power, and ego - and to turn back to God, the source of true power and a love so great that we neither need nor yearn for the temporary fix of things. We are warned against greed, "for one's life does not consist in the abundance of possessions" (Luke 12:15), and against pride, "For the beginning of pride is sin" (Sirach 10:13). The psalmist reminds us that "mortals cannot abide in their pomp" (Psalm 49:12). God alone is the fountain of life in whom we abide.

We are encouraged to fill our treasure chests and lives with God's wealth, which consists of God's beloved - especially those in the "lowest place," the "poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind." We must gather the treasure of God's people and love and respect the contribution of each, especially those with different views and interpretations. We must be passionate about our faith, for Jesus "came to bring fire to the earth" (Luke 12:49)! Our different interpretations of Jesus' life and message are not a cause for concern or fear but for rejoicing, because in this division lies a wealth of insight and wisdom. Together we form "so great a cloud of witnesses" (Hebrews 12:1).

Michaela Bruzzese is a freelance writer living in Chile.

August 1
Be On Guard
Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12-14; 2:18-23; Psalm 49:1-12; Colossians 3:1-11; Luke 12:13-21

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Sojourners Magazine August 2004
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