In our life of faith we sometimes tend to want to make everything about one answer.
And a life of faith is really about holding two things together at the same time.
It is about being OK with things that seem to contradict each other.
On a weekly basis I see the complexities of life, and how those complexities need more than one answer.
Our readings for today, and last week give us a great example of this.
As you can imagine there is always someone in our congregation dealing with something.
We always have someone in a life changing circumstance.
Someone who has cancer, someone who is dying, someone who is realizes that their life is changing too quickly.
We have people dealing with marital problems, people getting divorced, or just not able to cope.
And these are the big problems.
I am not even talking about the daily difficulty we face of trying to get it all done or balancing lots of things all the time.
In times like these it is good to know that God is seated on the throne.
That everything under heaven is in God’s hands.
That God is at work in our lives in ways we can’t know or see.
It is good to know that Jesus is in the heavenly places, that he is far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, not only in this age but also in the age to come.
It is good to know that our current problems or suffering is only temporary.
It is good to know that we can take all of the burdens of our heart and lay them down, because God is in charge.
I know that this year I have needed to remind myself of this on several occasions.
To say to myself, “it almost doesn’t matter who is president, or who is in congress.”
God is really in charge.
As a person of faith we have to laugh at the whole thing sometimes.
All these people who think they are so important, and that what they do somehow matters.
I hope you can see through it.
I hope you can see through any elected official who wants to us to believe that what somehow matters in this world is what political team you want to win.
As if the rules that men and women make here on earth can compare to the power and majesty of God.
It is good to know that God is in charge, even though we can’t always see it.
We have a hope that is above all the things we face in this life.
“With the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you.”
We have to know that God that is above all things.
It is of great comfort to us in times of difficulty.
When we are dying, sick, broken, and lost it is good to know that God is ruler of all things.
This is exactly what our reading from Ephesians tells us this morning.
That we shouldn’t worry too much what happens in this world, because God is really in charge and not us.
Not even the people who think that they are powerful.
Only the God we know through Jesus Christ.
As great as that answer is it is incomplete, because God is not just above us.
God is also here now, in this place.
In the world we live.
God is active and alive.
God is moving all the time.
God calls us who are alive to not be aloof about what happens around us.
But God calls us to care for the other people that walk this earth too.
To care for those that are hungry, thirsty, strangers, naked, sick, and in prison.
God calls to help those people in our path that are right here and now.
That even amongst us it is not enough to just pray and hope for the best.
The Jesus of Matthew’s Gospel demands of us action, and accountability.
“Let your light shine.”
It does matter who is being mistreated because of political decisions that are being made.
This section of Matthew’s Gospel is actually not even about us.
It is about the nations.
The Greek word that is used there is the one that is used for Gentiles.
It is not about Jews, or Jewish Christians, but the world.
The empire too is judged by God, and is judged based upon how well they treat the hungry, thirsty, naked, strangers, sick, and those in prison.
In other words God cares about what happens right here on this earth.
God cares about how we treat others.
God cares about what laws we pass, and how those laws care about others.
I know that we don’t want to talk about this.
I know that we don’t want to hear it.
But what am I supposed to tell you this morning?
Read the text, and tell me how do you wiggle out of it?
I know people will say, “But this is about individuals’?
OK, how are you doing with it?
When was the last time you went to a prison to visit someone?
When was the last time you welcomed a stranger?
And again if the Bible was only this Gospel reading we all might be in trouble.
If the Bible only said one thing we wouldn’t be able to stand.
And it wouldn’t be able to so richly help us.
The Bible says more than one thing, because God is bigger than one thing.
And today we have both.
We have the God who is above it all.
And the God who gets down into the mud with us, and asks us to care for unlovable people.
We need both things.
Because sometimes in our lives we need to be comforted and reminded that it will all be OK.
But we also sometimes need to be reminded that there is work to do.
We need reminding that we get to participate in God’s redemptive work.
Maybe this is made even clearer because we just spent a whole day giving thanks.
Giving thanks for mundane things, our families, friends, food, a roof over our heads, our health, the jobs we get to do.
We are reminded in those times that God is in everything, and everything good comes from God’s gracious hands.
And because of that we are reminded that not everyone has those things.
Not everyone has a great family, or loyal friends.
Not everyone has a job, let alone one they like.
Not everyone has a roof over their heads or more food then they can possibly eat.
It leads us to action to want to help, to want to share.
So on this Thanks giving weekend let us keep those two truths in creative tension.
Let us remember that the “Lord is our God, and we the people of God’s pasture and the sheep of God’s hand.”
And because of that we have much to share with the thirsty, hungry, naked, stranger, and those in prison.
So that all the nations, and all the people, will know that God is great and the ruler above all things!