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Showing posts from October, 2014

The Lord is My...

Pentecost 18, Year a 12 October 2014 Isaiah 25:1-9; Psalm 23; Matthew 22:1-14             The violent nature of the parable of the wedding feast of the king’s son almost obscures any ability to appreciate what the gospel writer is saying. The feasting imagery is familiar, but then the first group rejects the invitation and kills the slaves. The second group is scraped up, redressed, and set to party. The last man is standing there, thinking, “Do I stay or do I go?” and then it is decided for him.             What was Matthew thinking? When Luke tells this parable, it’s not so violent and the ending is certainly far preferable. Why is this version so intense? Matthew is writing to a group of believers in Christ, Jews and Gentiles, who find themselves in tension with Jews who do not believe that Jesus was the Messiah. Frustrated with each other, they have begun to lose sense of the bigger picture- the nature of God and how God chooses to reveal that nature.          

The Pirate's Guide to Lutheran Bible Interpretation

A Pirate’s Guide to Lutheran Bible Interpretation 1. The LAW makes ye feel keelhauled. The GOSPEL makes ye feel like L AND-HO!           - Lutheran pirates read the Bible with awareness of law and gospel. - The law is the part of Scripture that makes us aware of our need for grace. The law makes us aware of our tendency to MUTINY (our brokenness). - Grace is the part of Scripture that shows us how God heals and forgives our mutinous tendencies and works to heal us from them. - The law is not “bad” and grace is not “good”. They go together. - The wise Lutheran pirate knows that law can be found in calm waters (in the gospels and in other places) and gospel can be found in stormy seas (in hard passages to read and understand). 2.           marks the spot. - The pirate’s Bible is a Jesus book. It’s not for recipes or instructions for swabbing the deck. It doesn’t show how to use the stars for navigation or which kind of fish are okay to

The Crazy Vineyard Owner

Isaiah 5:1-7; Matthew 21: 33-46             Let’s assume that the plain metaphor of this parable is as follows: God is the householder, the landowner of the vineyard. The first messengers are the prophets. The son is the Son, Jesus. The wicked tenets are the temple leaders who have forgotten their responsibility to the householder/landowner. The people who be given the vineyard are those who follow Jesus, regardless of the their ethnicity or tribal heritage.             Is God na├»ve? Why would God send Jesus, knowing the treatment the prophets had received? Why did God send more than, let’s say, three prophets. If the people refused to hear or follow them, with disastrous consequences for the prophets, why didn’t God quit? And why send the Son?             Pausing to reflect that the author of the gospel was not a reporter on the spot, but someone making sense of oral and written traditions some forty to fifty years old, this story is written to reflect what has happened

I Feel Petty

Jesus- When you grew exasperated with Peter or James and John, If Johanna and Susanna were a bit too loud, Or the Magdalene and Thomas wondering about things totally out of reach… What did you do? Did you look heavenward, in whichever direction that is, And say, “What were You thinking?” Did you disappear to the necessary, Only to be found later- a few miles out of town? When I go to the dark of the supply closet, a prayer space, When I am fleeing gossip, petty grievances, and your beloveds, but not mine right now- I wonder what you did. Here we are, together, in the quiet. Even with no sounds, I hear you telling me that The candles, the carpet, the coffee, They’re not actually part of the yoke. Don’t let them become more than they are. Do the necessary. Take the walk. And remember that you’re with me. And I am not you. ***breathe*** ***breathe*** ***breathe*** Amen.

No Christian Autopilot

Matthew 21:23-32; Psalm 25:1-9; Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25-32             What does that proverb means at the beginning of the Ezekiel text, “That the parents have eaten sour grapes and the children’s teeth are set on edge”? The Israelite people saying it in the reading are asserting that they have been brought into exile in Babylon because of their parents’ sins. The truth that the prophet is making clear to those who will hear him is that both parents and children suffer from their own mistakes.             God makes clear that there is no rejoicing in heaven over the death of anyone, particularly not those who have turned away from the embrace of grace. The openness of grace, God’s grace, is such that no generation can separate another from it. The embrace of God’s love is not earned, but it must be experienced. The acceptance of what God has done for anyone of us is reflected in living a holy life. This is what Ezekiel is urging the Israelites toward in this passage.