Ready or Not...

There’s no direct evidence that Jesus was into funk, soul, rock, and psychedelic music.

But his words in this Sunday’s gospel surely set the stage for the musical genius of Sly and the Family Stone. In 1968, Sly sang, “Are you ready?”

are you ready graphic 1.jpg

“Don’t hate the black

Don’t hate the white

If you get bit

Just hate the bite

Make sure your heart is beating right

Get ready!”

Other musical greats have sung the message of this Sunday’s gospel as well:

“Get ready, ‘cause here I come” - The Temptations, 1966

“Ready or not, here I come” - Delfonics, 1969

“Are you ready for love” - Elton John, 1979

And how do you get ready?

Well, there’s also no direct evidence that Jesus was a Boy Scout. But he would have approved of the Boy Scouts founder, Robert Baden-Powell, articulating the essential foundation for being a Boy Scout - “Be prepared” - as a response to the issue of how you get ready.

How do you get ready?

In this Sunday’s gospel, Jesus says - by being prepared. And my goodness, examples of the wisdom of this advice are all over the place right now.

  • Folks in the Bahamas got ready for Hurricane Dorian this past week by preparing with plywood window covers, extra water and batteries, and access to emergency shelters.

  • Thousands of runners are getting ready for the NYC Marathon in November by preparing with daily workouts. (When I got ready for the NYC Marathon many, many years ago, I prepared by cutting back from two packs a day to one…)

  • The staff members of Calvary-St. George’s are getting ready for the fall season by preparing all sorts of amazing programs.

  • I have a friend who is getting ready for his death by preparing his will. (He also prepares by calling me once a week to change the names of the participants in his funeral…)

  • I have another friend who was not ready for getting a diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer’s this past week - pretty hard to prepare for that.

In this Sunday’s gospel, Jesus tells us to get ready for the work of following him. And the truth of the matter is that not one of us can fully handle the preparation needed for that work.

  • People still died in the Bahamas.

  • Runners still get cramps and drop out of marathons.

  • Our programs this fall will not make headlines in the Times.

  • My friend will never get his funeral program just right.

  • My other friend’s husband shares with me how unprepared he is for his wife’s Alzheimer’s.

Here’s the invitation:

Bring your failed preparations with you to church this Sunday. Because here’s the news: Jesus has already gotten ready for us by bearing the consequences of our failed preparations on his own shoulders on the cross.

And here are two teasers for this Sunday’s sermon:

  1. If you smoke a cigar, you are especially welcome.

  2. Refrain from saying the phrase, “Count the cost” - for the rest of your life.

See you Sunday!

- Jim