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Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings - The Kingdom of God is Like Edition

I've been been away from the official lectionary for a awhile as we journeyed through the Season of Creation in my congregation.

So it is a bit of a shock to jump back into Matthew this week. The pleasant comic to your left (which came, by the way from this delightful site) notwithstanding, the parable in this week's gospel reading isn't much of soothing bedtime story. In fact, on a first quick read it can sound more like the nightly news headlines than the good news: "Murder!" "Angry King Punishes Guests!" "Wailing and Gnashing of Teeth at 11!" Scary stuff.

Maybe that scary stuff, though, is more consequence than punishment. Christ is calling us to new life, right here and now. There's no time for business as usual, for showing up wearing our same old stuff. All THAT gets us, is the pain that comes when we're separated from God and the new life Christ wants for us. Are you ready to be called? Chosen? Both?

How will you preach the good news this week? Maybe, you are walking with Paul through Philippians instead. Or, are you continuing a series on Exodus? Or, something else all together? Comment away!


  1. Wow, I've never been first!
    Technically, it's not Tuesday here yet. BUT I'm not sure what I'm doing; the last few weeks I've done Paul and/or Matthew. I'm off the next two weeks, so maybe I need to look at what's coming up when I get back. See you later on Tues.

  2. Would someone please tell me whether this any bearing in reality? Many are called - by God; few are chosen - by themselves. God calls us no matter what shape our lives are in. We want to think that the choice is ours so we go back to work, continue as we were, dress inappropriately (metaphorically speaking). We think we should not choose ourselves because we are too busy, too broken, too clueless -- when we have already been called.

  3. Over on THQ they talked about this parable being meat for Calvinists. I don't think so, but it is gristle for universalists. The best pitch I've heard on it is to focus on the feast and free clothes. It was not a burden on the people - they just had to accept it. The one who rejected it, was allowed to reject it. We can choose to reject Christ's gift. God loves us enough to let us choose, even when it breaks his heart. Every parent gets a taste of this.

  4. Robin - I like your take on the gospel. I'm in the middle of a 2 month series on the epsitle readings (I'm never doing such a long series again!!) and the opening theme was Paul's instruction in Romans to 'put on Jesus'. I like it - we are called by God, then we disqualify ourselves. We neglect/refuse to put on the wedding clothes because we feel unworthy of such fine garmets, or we feel there is nothing wrong with the way we are 'dressed', or we just want to wear the 'comfy clothes' of our familiar routines. I think I can use your thinking as a way to combine this unsettling gospel with my sermon on Philippian joy.

  5. BTW - for those preaching on Philippians, wouldn't vers 8 make a great tshirt - with a big "WHATEVER" on the front and then on the back the verse? Part of me wants to ditch the series theme and preach a sermon titled "Whatever..." On second thought, with the readings in Isaiah about the feast to come, the wedding banquet in Matthew and all that rejoicing in Philippians, maybe the sermon should be "God loves a good party"

  6. I am off-lectionary this week as we are having a celebration of 100 years as a congregation. And there keep being more little bits of stuff to create for the service.

    Like a candle liturgy for the past present future and a bench dedication. And then there is a tree planting after worship

  7. My NT prof in seminary once made a comment about the end of this parable. The man is invited to a come as you are party and then gets punished because he came as he was...

  8. This gospel lesson is a tough one. In my lectionary group this morning someone said Matthew clearly had an axe to grind; who with, we wondered?
    I'm debating several approaches to the text, including "what the heck?" How do we understand a text that presents a view of God foreign to our experience and beliefs? Can we get around this by reminding ourselves it's a parable and not an allegory? (Way too easy to read this as a sort of Calvinist allegory.) I have a feeling I'll be doing more homework than usual--which doesn't always make for a good sermon.

  9. Ramona - thanks! We disqualify ourselves - just the phrase I need.


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