Sermons 2007
"Do not be afraid, little flock', Proper 14C, 12 August 2007, Luke 12:32-40

Home | In the Beginning was the Word, Christmas Day, 25 December 2007, John 1:1-14 | What's Missing? Christmas Eve, 24 December 2007, Luke 2:1-20 | Joseph, the Forgotten One, Advent 4A, 23 December 2007, Matthew 1:18-25 | Come with Joy, Advent 3A, 16 December 2007, Matthew 11:2-11 | Darkness or Light? Advent 1A, 2 December 2007, Matthew 24:37-44 | What Kind of King is He? Proper 29C, 25 November 2007, Luke 23:35-43 | Predictions and the Horseman of the Apocalypse, Proper 28C, 18 Nov 2007, Luke 31:5-19 | Just passing through? Proper 27C , 11 November 2007, Luke 20:20-38 | Not like others? Proper 25C, 28 October 2007, Luke 18:9-14 | "We are bold to say", Proper 24C, 21 October 2007, Luke 18:1-8a | "The ten lepers", Proper 23C, 14 October 2007, Luke 17:11-19 | Proper 22C and Holy Baptism, 7 October 2007 | A taste of cool water, Proper 21C, 30 September 2007, Luke 16:19-31 | We hear what we want to hear, Proper 20C, 23 September 2007, Luke 16:1-13 | "Lost -- but found!" Proper 19C, 16 September 2007, Luke 15:1-10 | "Who is coming to dinner?" Proper 17C, 2 September 2007, Luke 14:1, 7-14 | Doors and narrow gates, Proper 16C, 26 August 2007, Luke 13:22-30 | "Fire to the earth", Proper 15C, 19 August 2007, Luke 12:49-56 | "Do not be afraid, little flock', Proper 14C, 12 August 2007, Luke 12:32-40 | "How much is enough?" Proper 13C , 5 August 2007, Luke 12:13-21 | "Lord, teach us to pray" Proper 12C, 29 July 2007, Luke 11:1-13 | "The Better Part?" Proper 11C, 22 July 2007, Luke 10:38-42 | The Good Samaritan -- the Summary of the Law" Proper 10C, 15 July 2007, Luke 10:25-37 | "Travel Light!" Proper 9C, 8 July 2007, Luke 10:1-12, 16-20 | "Independence Day" Proper 8C, 1 July 2007, Luke 9:51-62 | "Three Questions", Proper 7C, 24 Jun 2007, Luke 9:18-24 | "In or Out?" Proper 6C, 17 June 2007, Luke 7:36-50 | "On Grace", Proper 5C, 10 June 2007, Luke 7:11-17 | Trinity C, 3 June 2007 | Pentecost C, 27 May 2007 | "Unity and Diversity" Easter 7C, 20 May 2007, John 17:20-26 | "Come, Holy Spirit, Come" Easter 6C, 13 May 2007, John 14:23-29 | "What is this thing called love?" Easter 5C, 6 May 2007, John 13:31-35 | "Numbers and Sheep", Easter 4C, 29 April 2007, John 10:22-30 | Virginia Tech, Easter 3C, 22 April 2007 Revelation 6:8-10 | Thomas Doubter and Believer, Easter 2C, 15 April 2007. John 20: 19-31 | ""Why do you look for the living among the dead?" Easter Sunday, 8 April 2007, Luke 24:1-10 | Good Friday 6 April 2007 | Maundy Thursday 5 April 2007 | Why are we not surprised? Palm/Passion Sunday C, 1 April 2007, Luke 22:39-23:50 | Party or Pout? Lent 4C, 18 March 2007, Luke 15:11-32 | To Stand on the Mountaintop, Lent 3C, 11 March 2007, Exodus 3:1-15 | "Ways Not Taken", Lent 2C, 4 March 2007. Luke 13:22-35 | "Liminal Thresholds and Lintels", Lent 1C, 25 February 2007, Luke 4:1-13 | Ash Wednesday Meditation 2007 | "Transfiguration and Transformation, Epiphany Last C, 18 February 2007, Luke 9:28-36 | "Weal and Woe", Epiphany 6C, 11 February 2007, Luke 6:17-26 | "Who, me?" Epiphany 5C, 4 February 2007, Luke 5:1-11 | "Filled with rage!" Epiphany 4C, 28 January 2007, Luke 4:21-32 | "The Spirit of the Lord is upon us," Epiphany 3C, 21 January 2007, Luke 4:14-21 | "Weddings and Miracles," Epiphany 2C, 14 January 2007, John 2:1-11 | Schism and Epiphany, Epiphany 1C, 7 Dec 2007, Luke 3:15-16, 21-22

Proper 14C 2007 Luke 12:32-40

“Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”

The great writer Annie Dillard observed about this gospel passage: “Fear not, little flock: this seems apt for those pious watercolor people so long ago, those blameless and endearing shepherds and fishermen, in colorful native garb, whose lives seem pure because they are not our lives. They were rustics, silent and sunlit, outdoors, whom we sentimentalize and ignore. They are not in our world….Our lives are complex. There are many things we must consider before we go considering any lilies. There are many things we must fear. We are in charge; we are running things in a world we made; we are nobody’s little flock.” (1) And we have much to fear.

“Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”

On the other hand, one of the best examples of how faith overcomes fear in the face of overwhelming problems is my great-grandmother Scott. She had been born in 1859 in north Georgia. She would tell me tales of her fear as a little girl of 5 when Sherman's army swept out of Tennessee in its move toward Atlanta.

She had been born in 1859 in North Georgia. She would tell me tales of her fear as a little girl when General Sherman’s Union Army swept south out of Tennessee on its march to Atlanta and the sea. Sherman’s outriders came to her father’s farm and tool all their food supplies, horses, cows, pigs, chickens, and mules. She remembered how difficult it was to survive until the next food crops came in. It was almost impossible to make a living until draft animals could be acquired to cultivate cash crops – not that anyone in their part of Georgia had any cash for several years afterward.

She married a young struggling farmer when she was sixteen. They began to raise their own labor force. But one child was born with Downs syndrome and several other children died in childhood.

In her 60th year she developed cataracts in both eyes. Nowadays this condition can be corrected with ease. But in 1919 in North Georgia it meant she was condemned to be blind for the rest of her life. Her husband, my great grandfather, died in 1920, the next year.

Ten years later in the Great Depression of 1929 she lost their small farm. She was 70, totally blind, and penniless. She was dependent entirely on the charity of relatives for everything.

She never saw the faces of her great grandchildren. She didn’t see her own grandchildren reach adulthood. She lived to be 97, a small, frail, blind lady.

She could have been bitter but she was one of the most cheerful people I have ever known. She loved the Lord her God with all her heart, soul, mind, and strength. She sent almost all of her little social security check to charity. When radio became more common she would listen to Christmas radio all day. She had a personal relationship with Jesus that was intense and powerful and her prayers were always for others, never for herself, except to pray for forgiveness.

“Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”

Last story: a woman has worked for may years in a ministry to the poor in New York City. Every day she tries o respond to waves of human misery that are as ceaseless as surf in that crowded community. Out of his deep not knowing, a friend asked her how she could keep doing a work that never showed any results, a work in which the problems only get worse and never better. He never forget her answer: “The thing you don’t understand, Parker, is that just because something is impossible doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it.” (2)

“Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”


1. from Incarnation: Contemporary Writers on the New Testament, p. 32, as quoted in Synthesis for 12 August 2001.
2. Parker J. Palmer, the Active Life, adapted from Syntheses for 12 August 2001