Posted in Lectionary Yr A, Uncategorized

When did I do it? Matthew 25:31 – 46, Christ the King! November 26, 2017

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Matthew 25:31 – 46

This is the 3rd week in a row that the Lectionary compilers are getting us to look at a lifestyle parable. Now sometimes when Jesus tells a funny story you just have to do funny things.. In case you can’t guess this is the parable of the sheep and the goats..

It is interesting what people take away from a parable.. I am surprised how many people focus on Jesus in judgement. For me what I notice is the whole discussion around the sheep and the goats.. Why sheep and goats I wonder? If you work with these animals I would love to know what you think about this and what insights you can share.. For me I hear about ordinary things that helped the people of the time live, they provided food, wool, milk.. It is interesting that sheep are seen to follow along, one goes and they all go. Where as goats most of the time I have seen them more as solitary animals.

But that is not the most interesting bit in the story for me. It is the response from both the sheep and the goats.. When Lord did I help your children and when didn’t I help your children? Neither knew what they had or hadn’t done, they just did or did not..

It got me thinking about my life, when was it in times that I helped that I didn’t realise and when was I so caught up in other things that I missed the chance.. What I hear in this story is busy people like me trying to get on with their life, going about thier business and it was in that way that they got it or missed it. Again like last week I hear a challenge to think about how we live out these values all the time, being ready or prepared, but not as a chore but as a natural way that we live out our lives. We become so used to doing it that we no longer notice when we do it. We see the hungry and give them something to eat, see the thirsty and give them something to drink, meet strangers and invite them in,  see the naked and  clothe them, encounter the sick and look after them, know someone is in prison and go to visit. Because when these become second nature when it is a natural assumption that this is who we are, they are no longer as they are named. When you have an attitude of welcoming the stranger, no one is ever a stranger again they are just the yet to be met friend. When sharing a drink or some food is just having a meal with a friend. 

I wonder how often we read this reading as almost a welfare understanding of the world, I must do this good to help that needy person. They are the victim, I will be the saviour.  This reading is not about saviours it is about sheep hanging out together. It is interesting when you spend time with people who have hit hard times you realise very quickly this could be me. It could have been me that couldn’t pay the rent for whatever reason, who’s clothes are missing, who are sick or have ended up in gaol (yes it too could happen to us). They are not victims to be pitied or rescued but people who are loved and it is hard not to love them when you get to know them (well mostly sometimes God needs to help alot with this!)..

This is why I think the sheep don’t notice because these people aren’t naked or sick or hungry they are their friends who need a hand..

I feel for the goats, I feel for me on my goat days.. Those moments when I am too busy to see, too caught up in my own stuff to know. It is moments like this that I am so grateful it is Jesus on that throne, not me or others, because I would be in trouble. Jesus on the other hand taught us about grace.. So you might have had a goaty kind of day or maybe you have been a goat for a long time.. Good news if you are still breathing there is a chance to open your life to the world of generous hospitality.  The irony you’ll probably find yourself guest alot more often than you actually get to be host. I wonder who my next new friend will be ?

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Posted in Lectionary Yr A, Uncategorized

Dig it up and hand it round! Matthew 25:14-30, Pentecost 24, 19th November.

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Matthew 25:14-30

Another one of those challenging readings for the week! It’s funny how you can read a reading over and over again and it just doesn’t seem to make any sense then one day, it is like you see the story through a new lens and it makes sense.. It was like this for me with this reading.. I never understood why the master got mad at the guy who buried the treasure. In an economic sense, investing can always be a gamble, it is possible to lose money, as well as gain it.. So at least the guy protected what he had. The master ended up with exactly what he had..

Some people read this being about social justice.. The master was a hard man harvesting where he did not sow, some see that the servant was trying to give the master a lesson on what is fair and ethical.. Maybe, maybe not..

In the last couple of weeks I have had an interesting insight into this reading.. What if this reading wasn’t actually about money.. What if it was about treasure, the sort of gifts and treasures that we all have that God has given us.. and what if that treasure is not actually your treasure but God’s and in turn the communities.. It was left with the community, you are given stewardship of it but it isn’t just for your benefit it’s actually for the community’s benefit. By burying the treasure we might hold to the authenticity and integrity of the treasure but it’s true purpose was not served.

I would be really annoyed if that happened to me. If I gave someone a gift, trusted them with it, expecting that my generosity would be shared with others, like I had been generous to them and then they bury it or hide it or hang on to it so that we are the only ones  who benefit from it. What a waste!!! I would be so mad!! I finally get why the master was angry, the stewardship was not about taking care of the gift for only the master, but taking care of the gift for the whole community. Even if he had lost all of the money someone in the community would have benefitted or at least he had given it a go..

I wonder if this is what it is like for our faith.. We have this gift that we treasure so much we want to hang onto it soooo tight or bury it so that we can keep that special gift.. But buried treasure quickly loose their appeal and get forgotten or turn us into Golum..”It is mine unless you are just like me you can not have it!!”

The treasures from God are God’s not ours, we are merely given stewardship of them for our time.. So if they are God’s and God intends them for the benefit of all how can we lose? Because surely if it is God’s and we share it with all of God’s beautiful children it will grow and change and multiply. It will inspire others to share their treasure or maybe even help them find a treasure they did not even know they have. Life will be invested in and in God’s economy we cannot loose!

So friends dig up that treasure box, pass the gold around and see what God can do with your treasures when freed to change the world.. Be warned it will probably not end up looking the same as what it did when you buried it, but boy will the world be richer for sharing and so will you!!  I reckon that’s what really makes the Master happy, because all of a sudden you will be reaping where you did not sow and enjoying fruits from trees you did not plant, but that is what happens when we are generous!

 

 

Posted in Lectionary Yr A, Uncategorized

Just can’t keep my eyes open, Matthew 5:1-13,Pentecost 23,12th November 2017

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Matthew 25:1-13

Whenever I read this passage in the past, I imagined it was about staying awake far beyond your bedtime! I envisioned a bunch of women with matchsticks in their eyes staying awake to meet the Bridegroom..  The message it gave, which for me as a woman was not a very healthy one, you have to be ready even if it kills you!

With a bit more wisdom, I come now to the text a bit differently.. It wasn’t that the other women went to sleep that was the problem but that they were not prepared.. They assumed this was going to be a quick problem to solve or more likely they just hadn’t really thought that much about it at all.. They were just excited and caught up in the moment..

I was trying to think of a modern example and thought of those people who line up all night for tickets to their favourite show or concert.. I am always so impressed with those people who are super organised with sleeping bags and beanies..

I wonder how this relates to our faith and being ready for the return of Jesus? I wonder how often our faith is about making sure we pull of those special moments, the impressive bits that we can get caught up in. The all night spectacular waiting for the concert tickets. I wonder if this parable is a reminder to us, faith isn’t just about that moment or that place but about the everyday faith. The one where we try to live it in the little ordinary things, being prepared to act in a God way whenever the opportunity arises.

So people put away the matchsticks, it doesn’t matter if you need to rest. It is important that when the moment happens where God asks you to show someone the way, you have enough oil in your lamp that you can show them..

Shine those lights you beautiful people – Our world sure could use it!