Posted on Apr 30, 2020

3 May 2020

I have a friend who moved into a “gentrified” neighborhood in St. Paul.

The neighborhood had fallen apart and the government came in and claimed the properties

either for back taxes, or bought them up.

Then the government sold these houses and apartments to people offering low interest loans

for their repair.

There was a catch though–you had to live in them.

My friend who is a college professor bought one of these homes.

It was still a “bad” neighborhood when she moved in and started fixing up her home.

It was an attractive place when she got through with it.

And it was the perfect place for her to display the art she had collected all her life. 

Fine prints and paintings.

I went to visit her one day and as I walked around I got a funny feeling: “What’s missing in this picture?”  I couldn’t put my finger on it though.

She could tell I was bothered by something and so I told her:

“Something’s missing from your home.  I just don’t know what it is.”

She laughed.  And then said, “I can tell you what’s missing.

My TV, my stereo, my microwave, my VCR, my vacuum cleaner,

my toaster, my lamps, my clock radio…Just about everything electric.

My home has been broken into six times since I moved in two years ago.  There’s nothing electric left.  They’ve taken everything.

The only thing they never stole was my art–which was the most valuable stuff I own.  They didn’t know what was really valuable.”

In the gospel Jesus talks about thieves and marauders.

And we do have many in our lives.

We fear them.

We fear the thieves that can take our possessions,

We fear the thieves that can take our health,

            This pandemic which has taken our freedom.

We fear the thieves that can take so much of what is valuable to us.

And if we are honest we know that we will lose everything–even our lives to death.

But the Lord promises that which is most valuable about us, to us, he will protect.

And it’s not the stuff the world thinks is valuable–

but that which is ultimately valuable:

our faith,

our ability to love–despite everything we lose,

and our hopes and dreams.

These are what no thief can take–unless of course we let go of them.