Outside of flipping on the news when I get up in the morning – and again when I am usually eating dinner. And besides watching Jeopardy faithfully every day --- I really don’t watch a lot of television.
I am perfectly fine with my antennae tv – without a 1,000 cable channels at my fingertips – most of which I would not have an interest in anyway.
I do enjoy watching things on PBS – like the great documentary on Ulyses Grant done back in January – or more recently the series on Franklin Roosevelt and on the National Parks.
Another PBS show that sometimes snags me – is the Antiques Roadshow – I guess I am always amazed at how much something pulled out of someone’s attic can really be worth.
Out of curiosity I googled “top selling items on the Roadshow.”
First was a watch made in 1914 by a well-known Swiss watch maker. The watch had been handed down to a man from his great-grandfather – who, when he took it to an edition of Antique Roadshow in Minneapolis discovered the watch was worth $2 million!
Second a man had been collecting rhinoceros horn carvings and had a particular affinity for a certain cup – and ended up purchasing an entire set.
Carved around 1700 --- the ornate collection was originally purchased by the owner for $5,000 – but an appraiser on the show gave the owner a surprise when he told him the collection could be sold at auction for $1.5 million!
It doesn’t take long for us to search for the answer to the question – not what’s in your wallet – but what’s in your attic!!! Perhaps when my siblings and I reconvene to continue cleaning my mother’s house out – we will be a bit more cautious of what we send off to the thrift store
I suppose we all know that there is sometimes investment and sacrifice in pursuit of such treasures – but when great value is there and almost within your grasp --- how could you possibly give up and turn away??? And that is precisely the point which Jesus is making in the gospel parables we hear today.
It is not a parable that requires all that much explanation or interpretation. The point is all too clear: the gospel that Jesus came to preach – the story about God in heaven and God’s unconditional love for us all – and all the opportunities God provides for us – are like buried treasure.
Only the coward, the incompetent, the fool would turn away from the possibilities which Jesus offers in the name of God.
How can it be that the pearl of great price, the buried treasure in the field, the pocket watch handed down from generation to generation – are pursued vigorously //// and yet the opportunity that Jesus provides with the offer of God’s love is pursued somewhat lackadaisically – if at all??
Obviously the Good News of Christianity does not look like the glittering gold of buried treasure. We may claim that it does, but in fact we can take this particular pearl of great price or leave it alone – and mostly we leave it alone.
Treasure hunting novels and movies are still pretty popular. The story of buried treasure has lost none of its appeal since the day of Jesus. The problem for us today is rather to believe that the truth revealed to us by Jesus, that the God disclosed to us through Jesus’ words and deeds --- does, indeed, represent something at least as valuable as buried gold, a rare Swiss watch, or a carved rhinoceros horn.
We have heard this parable so often, we take it so much for granted – that it really doesn’t hit us the way it ought to. We cannot quite accept the fact that the knowledge of God’s love should transform our lives every bit as much as a buried treasure transforms the hard life of a laborer.
We can understand such things as wealth, power, and leisure – we can realize that they do transform the life of the one who acquires them --- but we can’t quite comprehend how the same thing happens to us when we accept the message of salvation from Jesus.
Wealth, leisure, and power – lessen if not eliminate such things as fear, anxiety, worry, uncertainty – and all the harshness of our daily struggles.
Jesus is telling us quite definitely in today’s parable that accepting the vision of God will accomplish the same thing for us –
indeed would accomplish it more effectively and more decisively than would the treasure in the field or the watch in the drawer.
But we find it hard to believe -- we might agree when we hear the parable read to us – as we have through all the years since we first heard it. . . But still, we don’t take it seriously – we do not believe that our life is an adventure – and that the buried treasure which ought to give us power and energy and drive to our life is a treasure that is ours simply for the asking – costing us nothing --- when we realize that God loves us that much. . .
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