Saturday, September 20, 2014

Notes and thoughts as I consider Matthew 20:1-16 in preparation for Sunday.

Hey Friends -

A pre-sermon post for this week's text. I struggled with it a bit, and landed on a bit of a "traditional" reading of it. Wanted to share these anyhow, in case you are struggling as well.

Peace and Love.

Matt 20:1-16 Sermon Prep Questions: 

Might the Matthean context of the parable be one that needs addressing of the Jewish Christian jealousy toward the Gentile Christians in the first century church (as they came “late” to the promises)? “We were here first!” “Who is the greatest?!” “Some gave all!”

Within the narrative, perhaps the parable is the response to chapters 18-19:

(CH 18)
A response that suggests that the answer is not about who is the greatest, but about moving stumbling blocks that would exclude or sacrifice the “least” and the “little ones.”

Not about “the flock” but the “little one” whose life is in danger, powerless, even if that means less security for the other “99.”

About the answer to conflict being forgiveness and community,
resulting in Christ's presence—and not absence and loneliness through exclusion, excommunication, or forgiveness.

(CH 19)
Not about the Pharisees' "What can we get away with?" but rather "How might all be One?"--not sacrificed, but unified, in the presence of the Resurrected.

Not about exclusion but inclusion of children. “Let them come to me.”--again, welcoming others into Christ's presence—this really does seem to be a theme :)

Not about the rich ruler's "What should I do to get..." But rather, how do I follow? How do I add not things, but myself to the community? To the Path?

Not about the disciples' scolding question, “What about us? We who have given up everything?” But rather, “How do we welcome more into the “fold,” our sanctuary and home?

Not about “Who is 'in?'” or “Am I in?” “Who can I exclude or remove (based on various levels of offense or placement on the margins)?”

But, rather, Christ asks How do we bring all together, into the fold (including in Matthews context both Gentile and Jewish members of his 1st century community) so that not even one in one hundred of “the sheep” are “left behind?”

(CH 20)
That is, is Jesus' question (and answer) in the parable:

Not, "What do we get for following you, dude? We gave up our stuff!" 

Rather, "How might all get the "reward?" or "The goal is for everyone. Not just you. Don't be so self absorbed. I am not 'your' 'personal' Jesus."

(Even though some already have Christ's presence:

 in gathering, reconciling, community, and the like--and many already "labor..." Is it not the work, but that all should have "it," or have "enough")?

No comments:

Post a Comment