I’ll Buy on eBay
Words for 7th Sunday after Trinity – 26 July 2020 – Parish of Felixstowe
A Cyber Sermon from the Vicarage
Jesus said to them, ‘Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.’ (Matthew 13.52)
God give you peace my sisters and brothers.
Recently a lovely local family introduced me to the cover songs of popular music made by Weird Al Yankovic. He is a sort of latter-day Barron Knights – I own up to having bought one of their 45rpm records (Call up the Groups) and have always enjoyed the music of those who can look sideways at life and make us smile at ourselves.
Weird Al must have been reading today’s Gospel when he wrote ‘I’ll Buy on eBay’ He questions why, when we can now buy pretty much anything on the internet, we still seem to be able to buy 18 carat junk? This has been particularly hard for some of us (OK it was really tough for me) during Lockdown. Since Easter the Internet delivery companies have made a small fortune driving in and out of the New Vicarage. There is the small question of where to store the flags of almost 120 different nations to begin with….
But, as any eBay or Amazon or Etsy addict will tell you, everything has a purpose – even Smurf TV trays – and you never know when you will need another dozen Toy Beanies.
Like the Kingdom of Heaven trained scribe, we Buying Site Bidders know that everything has a value and, whether it be old or new, mass produced or unique, have a large price tag or was found on Freecycle, everything is ‘Treasure’ be it old or new. In the world of internet retailing only those who don’t understand call our ‘Treasure’ junk . Well that is at least the case until we can cram no more ‘Treasure’ into our garages, garden sheds, and box rooms!
But this is what the Kingdom of Heaven is like. God is a hoarder, a perpetual bidder on all kinds of ‘Treasure’ that other people do not see as valuable. Buried treasure, old packets of yeast and mustard seed, a string of tarnished pearls on the remaindered shelf of the Charity Shop, and weird looking fish. God is always on the lookout for a bargain, a neglected treasure, for whose life a life can be poured out on the Cross.
Just look at those closest to Jesus of Nazareth. Working class parents who had no land of their own; disciples who were collaborators with the hated Romans rubbing shoulders with the terrorists of their day; uneducated Fisherfolk whose only qualification (for they were not that good at fishing) was that they knew they were bad ‘uns (Luke 5.1-11); women from the royal court, serving girls, quarrelling sisters and a forgiven and restored crazy woman who became the first witness to the Resurrection.
Treasures? Cherished possessions? It seems as if Jesus was buying ‘Treasure’ on eBay long before Weird Al wrote his song….
This profligate God, with such poor taste, continues on a daily hunt for bargains to fill the garages and garden sheds of the Kingdom of Heaven. God turns towards us, gazes upon us with love, and decides that the suffering of the Cross is a price well worth paying if it means that way we can now enter Glory.
It’s hard work being loved when we feel that we are worthless. When you’ve failed so many times you feel like you are a piece of trash put up for sale on eBay in the hopes of being sold off to a sucker. And then God comes along, buys us treasures us, and makes space for us in His storehouse. Why? Because God sees beauty where we see only brokenness.
I do not know about you but I’m really not that good at seeing any good inside of me. I stand very much with St Paul in Romans, and can’t begin to see what anyone, let alone my Beloved Redeemer, can see anything in me that is remotely worth saving. Looking in the mirror is never a pleasant experience. It’s not just knowing that my body could be in much better shape but my soul is flabby and wrinkled as well.
A few years ago I stumbled across a poem by Hollie Holden. Although she is writing about her body it has become for me a parable about my soul as well and helps me to see what God sees….
Today I asked my body what she needed,
which is a big deal
considering my journey of
not really asking that much.
I thought she might need more water.
But as I stood in the shower
reflecting on her stretch marks,
Her roundness where I would like flatness,
Her softness where I would prefer firmness,
All those conditioned wishes
that form a bundle of
She whispered very gently:
‘Could you just love me like this?’ (Hollie Holden)
God whispers to our souls ‘I want to love you just like this’.
God loves all of all of us ‘just like this’.
We are Buried Treasure.
We are Costly Pearls.
We are the weird catch of fish that others would throw away.
Woven together with yeast and mustard seed we are called, in the strength of being loved by our Beloved to go, feed and nurture, proclaim and protect, a hungry loveless weird world so that it may indeed, as Handel gloriously put to music, ‘become the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ!’
Come, you that are weary and worn out by life!
Come, you that feel you are never quite right or good enough!
Come, you that feel you are past any usefulness or never felt useful at all!
Come, enter into the joy of our treasure seeking, pearl buying, seed sowing, breadmaking, fishing God and know that you are cherished eternally!
And in the joy of that knowledge go and tell others that they also, are loved perfectly.
P.S. If you want another dose of Weird Al watch his version of MacArthur Park called Jurassic Park
[This blog ‘I’ll Buy on eBay’ is copyright © Andrew Dotchin 2020 and may be reproduced without charge on condition that the source is acknowledged]