From Pastor Pat: The Value of Sparrows
(Posted June 25, 2017)
What does it mean to be “valued” as a human being?
In our current cultural climate where people’s values often are tied to how useful they can be to our personal agendas at the time, there is an odd irony to realize who it is that society often “devalues.” Both our youth and our elder citizens know how it feels to be made into “semi-persons.” Are you (or your adult children under the age of 25) looking for a job with a new college or high school degree? How many doors have you had closed to you in your search, simply because you lack experience! (Experience? How can I even get experience unless someone gives me a chance to prove myself?)
By the same token, older people know what it’s like to be ignored, even in something as innocuous as a department store where there is some kind of Harry Potter-esque invisibility cloak that shrouds them from being noticed by store clerks. As far as work goes, the ultimate irony is that older people are the ones walking around with all the experience and battle scars earned by decades of work life, and they know how to avoid mistakes. And yet potential employers often don’t make it past the white hair in deciding if that person might be “valuable.” It’s assumed that an older individual’s thought processes will be “Old School,” and that knowledge of contemporary things like social networking and digital devices will be problematic, long before that assumption is ever tested out.
There is no fairness in being devalued.
Jesus knows that the fear of being invisible to God is something that haunts the people who believe in him and follow his way of kindness. That was especially true in the 1st Century, when brute strength and power were what the Roman Empire’s movers and shakers desired among the populace—not somebody and his followers who put all of their value on acknowledging the equality of fellow human beings, and upon a life inclined toward kindness. Jesus even spoke about how following him could bring on strife in the disciple’s own family, and certainly made the disciple a target for the authorities.
Even today in our more desperate, lonely moments, we may find ourselves wondering if God even sees us and what we’re going through. In the gospel Jesus invokes the example that God sees every sparrow, and even notes when one falls to earth. But he tells us how much more valuable we are than many sparrows, and are personally treasured by God --- even when we’re not feeling particularly treasured.
Another part of this Sunday’s take-away is to examine our hearts for the “sparrows” in our lives. Who are the ones that we discount as being not as valuable as we are, even subconsciously, and why? Is it because they’re not valuable to us at the moment? Is it because society has dubbed them as “semi-persons” because of a disability, or because of race or age or gender? And what can YOU do if YOU’RE the sparrow, trying to survive? These are all things we will touch upon Sunday. Even the story how one real sparrow taught me a lesson I would use for the rest of my life. Stay tuned. --- Pastor Pat Kriss