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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings: "It Ain't Fair!" Edition

This coming Sunday's lectionary readings can be found here .

Sometimes it just ain't fair.

God gets you out of a jam with the Egyptians only to send you out in the middle of nowhere with nothing to eat. Gee, thanks, God.

Or you get sent to preach fire and brimstone to an evil empire...but then the people up and repent, depriving you of the satisfaction of watching them "get it" from God. Sheesh.

Or you embrace the Good News, only to get your teeth kicked in by your neighbors. Some good news.

Or you work hard all day for The Man, and then some schmucks who show up at the last minute wind up getting the same wages as you do. What?

It ain't fair, I tell ya.

What does "fairness" mean in God's Reign? How do we live "in God we trust" when the short-term outcome isn't so great? Just two of the questions that may inspire, challenge or perplex you as you read the lessons this week.

Or perhaps you're recognizing St. Matthew this coming Sunday. Or preaching on a Creation Sunday. Or doing something completely different.

Whatever you're doing, do join us for a discussion on the texts you're tackling this week as you preach/pray/craft your worship service.


  1. I love this parable, the laborers in tne vineyard, because don't you think Jesus is just TRYING to piss people off? Can't wait to hear what you-all have to say. This fall I'm preaching all-parables-all-the-time.

  2. I have been in love with this parable for about 20 years. I heard Barbara Hall, retired prof of NT at General and Virginia, talk about it at Kanuga. She pointed out that there are five different endings, one layered on another attempting to make it better. She also said that the really stinky ones are most likely straight from the savior's mouth (didn't want to call Jesus a horse!).
    What I think this parable tells us is that no matter how hard or long we try, we can't earn anymore grace that the person who comes to believe at the very last minute. Grace doesn't come in sizes. I don't get more for wearing a collar or going to church ever since I was born. I don't get less for all the times I have doubted or decided to rely on me rather than God. God calls everyone and give us all God's grace. Isn't it God's to do with as God will? :-)

  3. that picture is just perfect! after reading the parable yesterday in my lectio group i pondered on where in my life this concept of envy vs. generosity might be an issue. well it didn't take long for it to show up...while at the drive up window at the bank another car pulled in beside me and my first thought was "gosh, i hope the teller doesn't serve that person before me because that just wouldn't be fair!"... this false sense of fairness permeates my very being.....sigh......

  4. And where does it say life is supposed to be fair?

    Anyway, I love the parable too but I am waiting until Oct 5 to preach it.

    This week and next week I am exploring the Exodus passages. When the going gets tough the people...?

    WHine and complain it appears. ANd out come the Back to Egypt folks. I actually get to use the same sermon 2 weeks in a row since next week I am preaching at the close of our Presbytery meeting. 2 chances to get it right! (or wrong as the case may be).

    My opening thoughts on the grumbling that comes with change are on the church blog and some liturgical bits can be found here And I just noticed I need to fix ther title of that post to change the date.

  5. I am preaching the Exodus text this week...
    All I can think of now, it the kids, in the station wagon, all hyped and ready to go to Wally World, Disney, or Grand Canyon...thye get up early, they brush their teeth, they make beds, etc...
    but a ways down the road, they moan, groan and complain...Are we there yet?

  6. I'm doing Exodus as well...we're wandering with the Israelites all month, learning how to be God's people. This was the pivot text for the whole month's theme, back when we were planning two months ago. Something about learning to trust God...getting what you need even if you don't recognize it/know what it is, etc.

    my thoughts so far are not really well formed at all. Something about moving from "if only" to "you shall know that I AM" by way of "what is it?"

    or something...I do know that, though I tried to avoid the Spirit's nudging, we are singing Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah as well as We Rejoice to Be God's Chosen and God Whose Giving Knows No Ending.

    Would it be bad to hint at stewardship with this too? I know the lectionary doesn't have the part about how no matter how much they gathered everyone had as much as they needed, or the part about gathering enough on the sixth day to last through the Sabbath, but it seems like it would be easy to reference and could lay a little foundation for stewardship as part of becoming God's community. What do you think?

  7. I'm leaning toward preaching Jonah. My text study group talked a lot about fairness vs. mercy also. I'm mulling about how our inability to celebate God's grace to others is related to our inability to receive grace ourselves. If we are the recipients of God's grace, it means that there is something we cannot do/earn/be on our own. That may be too much psychology and too little Gospel, but I trust the Holy Spirit will distill it into something worthwhile by Sunday.

  8. Life isn't fair. It's just fairer than death, that's all.
    William Goldman, "The Princess Bride"

    always ready to offer up a PB quote! :)

  9. what a lovely intro Lutheran Chik - thanks :)


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