Friday, March 23, 2018

Skin in the Game: A Palm Sunday Reflection in Progress (25 March 2018)

Skin in the Game
A Palm Sunday Reflection in Progress

RCL Palm Sunday B
25 March 2018

Saint Faith's Anglican Church

During a recent meeting of the Management, Finance and Property Committee of the Diocese, we were discussing a request from a parish for financial support for a significant renovation project.  The first question asked was, 'Do they have skin in the game?'
  • 'Skin in the game' = Had they made a tangible and credible financial commitment to the project themselves?
  • They did indeed have 'skin in the game', so we were quite willing to join them by committing diocesan funds in the form of a loan and a small grant.

'Skin in the game'
  • Skin = Have we made a tangible and/or credible commitment that involves something that we hold valuable, something that would be a real loss if the venture failed?
  • Game = God's 'game' of restoring right relationships and of bringing about justice, mercy and humility.
  • Every covenant God makes with us is about having skin in the game.
  1. With Noah God chooses self-restraint and risks watching humans undermine God's creation yet again.
  2. With Abraham and Sarah God asks for very little in exchange for an almost inconceivable promise.
  3. With Moses and the Hebrew people God shares more of what it means to be in relationship with God and then spends centuries on a roller coaster of times of faithfulness and times of infidelity.
  4. Through Jeremiah God offers to engrave God's very self on human hearts and risks the fickleness of human nature to live wisely.
Today we begin our annual commemoration of the week during which God's total commitment to us and to all creation is revealed.
  • If rainbows aren't enough, God will come riding on the colt of an ass.
  • If the promise of descendants as numerous as the sands isn't enough, God will come into Jerusalem and into the hands of those who do not understand God's vision or who are afraid of it.
  • If a covenant engraved on stone and on human hearts isn't enough, then God will endure betrayal by friends and death at the hands of enemies.
  • Does God have skin in this game, this life-giving, death-defying gambit to save us from ourselves and restore us to our rightful minds?  YES --- God has skin in this game.
But God is not the only one who has a stake in this adventure.
  • Every day we make choices about how to live.  Each choice is like a poker chip of faith thrown into the centre of the table.
  • We are seated at a table with people who are playing with us, with people who are most definitely playing against us and with people who are not sure what the game is really about but who want to play anyway.
  1. What we do with the precious and irreplaceable moments of our lives matters.
  2. How we use the tangible assets entrusted to us matters.
  3. The ways we use our knowledge, our insights, our experience and our influence matter.
To take a palm today is to make a public declaration that we, each one of us, has skin in God's game of restoration and renewal.
  • Do we have skin in God's game?
  • We surely do --- and it is the only game in town worth playing.

No comments: