Abundant Life

John 10:1-10
                "I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly." (John 10:10b)

What is abundant life? It's an important question to ask. Does it mean some have more and some have less. Others are less blessed than we are? Does abundant life mean we get everything we want and some don't? After Katrina there were some voices who stated the tragedy there was because of sin, sins the town of New Orleans had lived. Yet this brings us back to the question does that mean everyone was sinful? No one believed or trusted, no one heard the shepherds voice?

These are the questions we begin to ask in the face of tragedy. Make no mistake Jesus' ministry, his very life is headed to tragedy. Did he sin? No, neither is he not blessed, God reminds us of this in voices from heaven, once at baptism and the other at the transfiguration. So what does abundant life look like? It looks like this week. During this flood, where people reach out to help, no matter what.

Abundant life is sometimes losing everything because then there is action. People have given items to help those who need, even the basics because they have lost everything. People have given time to clean up and clean up products. People have given clothes, blankets, time at shelters, hotel rooms, hours in sandbagging, hours walking the water line to find leaks. People have pulled together to help.

At our very core we care for one another, for the community we live in. We care to listen to people's stories. Abundant life is community. It is why the example is given of the sheep and protecting them as the door. Sheep are a herd animal, you never hear of someone who owns a pet sheep, neither is there a plural for sheep because they always exist together. Thus they flock together. They also follow one another for ill or good.

We are meant for community. Jesus calls the twelve and then there are always these women mentioned who are at the cross, at the tomb. Jesus does not do ministry alone, it is always with the twelve and the women. Friends are even mentioned such as the house at Bethany with Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. This community is essential for Jesus' ministry to teach, to travel, to pray, to eat, to be together and learn what reaching out beyond ourselves does for others.

Today in Acts we read about the first community of Christians living together and holding everything in common. They take care of one another because they know life it more abundantly lived in community. Yesterday the Presiding Bishop was in Kansas City doing the Awakening for the Diocese of West Missouri and the crowd is all there because of the community. Some have traveled from Iowa and Nebraska. Some have traveled from other parts of the state. One of the youth I had as an assistant youth missioner in the Diocese of Maine was there. It is the community of Episcopalians which got everyone together.

Life abundant is reaching out from something more than ourselves. When we are involved in communities we have a natural connection to one another. We want to help one another when times are tough. We do things we wouldn't normally do when times are tough. The thing is we could keep doing those things everyday too. Abundant life isn't just for the tough times. Life abundant is in paying attention to all.

We have a call list which was activated by me to check in with everyone in this congregation. Those who are inactive and active. Those who only show up a few times a year. Because they all are a part of this community. Imagine what it would be like if we just called someone to check in on life. Hi, I'm ... I just wanted to introduce myself and get to know you. Might we have another part of abundant life? Its not complicated. It doesn't require a big thing. Sometimes it is in the small acts of kindness we make the biggest impact.

Abundant life doesn't take more things, or the nicest ones. Abundant life is about relationships. Even when we have lost everything this is what endures. They are safe, they lost things, but they have us and each other. This is life abundantly lived.