CAPC Oakland

News, Connections and Photos from the life of the faith community at CAPC Oakland

Simplicity :: Week 2

Here are the texts with which we’re wrestling and through which we’re meditating at tonight’s service.

A Life of God Worship

“19-21 “Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or—worse!—stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.

22-23 “Your eyes are windows into your body. If you open your eyes wide in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light. If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a dank cellar. If you pull the blinds on your windows, what a dark life you will have!

24 “You can’t worship two gods at once. Loving one god, you’ll end up hating the other. Adoration of one feeds contempt for the other. You can’t worship God and Money both.

25-26 “If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.

27-29 “Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them.

30-33 “If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

34 “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes..”     – Jesus of Nazareth, the Message translation of the Bible – Matthew 6:19-33

“My baby granddaughter has more faith than I do:

  • She believes that when I am holding her I won’t drop her.
  • She believes that when she is hungry someone will feed her.
  • She believes that life and the world mean well for her.
  • She believes – indeed I hope she knows – that we love her.
  • She doesn’t think about “faith” – she just lives it.

As she grows older, her faith will become more complicated.

She will learn that sometimes life will let her down and she will get hurt.  She will discover that not every need is going to be met just because she shouts loudly enough.

She will learn to distinguish between  those things in life – kindness, compassion, justice, and truth – that are making her, and all of us, more fully alive and those things such as war and greed and selfishness that are working against the fullness of life.

She will come to understand that faith is a cooperative venture and that her own actions and choices have reactions and results.  She will try to work things out, try to pin things down and get a grasp on her life’s meaning. She will hear many conflicting voices and may come to think that faith is hard work, an intellectual marathon, or a puzzle to be gnawed at until a solution emerges.

Then one day – please, God – she will become older and wiser.  By then she will have learned that the hurts along the way will have made her stronger, clarified her inner truth, and revealed her own limitations.

She will concede that sometimes, after all, God knew best and that good tings grow from seeds that have been broken open by the weather and have lain hidden in the dark earth.  She will look back over the kaleidoscope of her life and notice how the fragments of experience that made no sense at the time were, all along, shaping a rather beautiful pattern.

The faith she has then will be simple again, but it will have a simplicity born of experience and reflection, a simplicity that looks back with gratitude on all she has seen and done and lived, a simplicity that is confident in trusting God for all that remain unseen, undone, and unlived.  It will be the kind of faith that knows that God is more likely to ask her, at the end of her journey, “How well did you love? Than “How much did you understand?” And her answer might be:

  • Someone trusted me, and I didn’t let him down.
  • Someone was hungry, and I fed her.
  • Someone was hopeless, and I gave him a reason to trust that at least one person meant well for him.
  • Someone had no one, and I loved her.

It sounds simple.  But it takes a lifetime to reach that simplicity and to come full circle, from infant faith to mature faith, from the source of our being to its destiny.

Having simple faith is simply to journey in trust, like a baby, but with the wounds and scars of an adult, like a man who died on a cross and who invited us to “become like children” (Matthew 18:3).  When we follow hi, we discover that his footsteps lead right back, full circle, to a whole new beginning.”  – Margaret Silf, Simple Faith.

“I want to be a doer of the Word, not just a hearer.  Of course, we need to hear the Word.  But if we only listen and maybe talk about it a little, we fool ourselves into thinking that we are doing a good deed for God.  If we have a way with works or can preach with charisma, we can repeat God’s words and have followers, but they actually will just be hearers – like the leader, the followers will only hear the Word.  When we hear the Word but don’t do the Word, we deceive ourselves and risk misleading others.” – John M. Perkins & Shane Claiborne. Follow Me to Freedom.  Leading and Following as an Ordinary Radical.



In what ways do you think you need to simplify your life?

How does your faith life need to be simplified?

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About capcoakland

We are a community of faith seeking to live God's will together: that space where the passions of our hearts and the needs of the world meet in our context of Berkeley, Oakland and Piedmont. Our perspective is based from a Christian center, open to the mystery of God's presence in our world. Our core values are celebration, community & prayer. This blog is our avenue for program updates and information.

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This entry was posted on October 21, 2012 by in Practice and tagged .
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