Hey! Were you listening? Did you hear it? Take a minute and look around you at your neighbors. Did they hear it? Did you?
I did! What did I hear? I heard the single most important reading in the entire Bible. That's right - it's THE BIG READING! It's the GOLDEN RULE, only this rule is about Gold, it's like the ANTI-GOLDEN RULE. That's right. Today's reading strips Christianity to its core - and that core is only about one thing, and that's Social Justice. Just like Jesus said, you've got to give away everything that you have, and you've got to leave your family and friends. Otherwise, you're just building a castle made of sand. This is the only foundation that your tower can stand on - the giving of all things away.
Now, I'm hip to the difference between me and you. Sure, it's easy for me to say "give everything away," because I already did - I gave everything up and now I don't have anything of my own. Sure I live in a nice big rectory, and drive a nice new Ford Expedition, and have a lot of nice clothes and eat well. But those aren't MINE - so it's easy for me to say "Hey! Give Everything Up!". And it was easy for me to say goodbye to my family (wait for laughter). That's right - you all know how me and my family get along. Especially my mother. Boy, the day that I could say "I'm not talking to you anymore because I'm a disciple" was a super day for me. But anyway it makes it really easy for me to tell you to give everything up. But I know it's hard for you. You cling to your monies, cling to your homes and vacation properties and ski-boats and season tickets to the UT Vols. Stop a second and look at yourself. Have you built any more than a foundation? Will you be able to finish your tower? Or are people going to laugh at you and say "Hey! That guy couldn't finish his tower."
Well, today is the day that I'm going to reach out and help you to give eveything away. As you know, we've got a big Capital Campaign coming. And today I'm going to announce the name of that campaign, but not tell you a lot more about it. You'll be hearing more about it in the coming weeks as we break up into small "cells" so that we can better re-experience the experience of the Early Church Mothers. Anyway, the Capital Campaign is called "Fellowship Loving Everyone Even Capitalist Enemies", or F.L.E.E.C.E. Ché and Britnee came up with the name, and I think it's super. It kind of reminds me of the Golden Fleece that Jason was always trying to get to in those old movies - so it's kind of also like the Holy Grail that was in the Indiana Jones movies too.
But you know what? We won't have FLEECE without you. So this week, I'd like you to go home and look at your checkbook, and your savings accounts, and your money markets and college funds and IRA's and stocks and bonds and safety deposit boxes. And then I want you to make a big pile of all of it and say "will I be a tither?" Or even better, say "will I be a double-tither?" or "a triple tither?" Because it's not just about "charity" or "stewardship"... it's really about "carebringing." Let's really fill this liturgical interior with carebringing that becomes part of the great song - let's get this worship space resounding with a joyful noise of giving. Then, and only then, will you all be FLEECE'd.