today's Gospel is Matthew 6.19-23
It's funny how things work out. I had assembly in one of the parish school's today. It was on the 'list' to do the story of Paul and Silas in prison and I decided to tell it from the point of view of the prison guard. As I thought it about it from that perspective, it occurred to me that in that story that it is the guard who is the real prisoner in that story, a prisoner of his life and circumstances, while Paul & Silas, even though they are lying in chains in prison after a brutal beating, are the ones who are truly free. The cares and worries of this life have so trapped the guard that he is ready to take his own life when things go wrong. It is Paul & Silas who save his life and the guard is so amazed by this turn of events that he realises that what he wants in his life is what these battered and bruised prisoners have.
I hadn't looked at the Gospel reading before doing assembly & I was quite surprised to see that it was Jesus' words about not trying to work for the treasures of this world, but rather to lay up treasure in heaven. I could almost believe that Paul included words like these when he was speaking the 'Word of the Lord' to him that night to help him understand why it was his prisoner who seemed like a free man and why he felt like the one who was in prison and needed saving.
With all the news of our global financial woes that are getting everybody down, perhaps these words can be of equal importance today. Banks and economies are important and have their place in the scheme of things, but they are not of such overriding importance that they we should let them make our lives miserable when they go through a bad patch. There are more important things in life. Health, family, friends ... and the kind of treasure in heaven that helps to make us truly free.