Sermons by The Rev. Barbara Hutchinson (Page 14)
Perhaps Matthew’s message to us is that we need to climb that mountain a bit more often to be closer to God, or we need to bend the knee of our heart a bit more often to listen more deeply to the truth and wisdom of God, or we need to make the choice toward love more completely, to see each other as God sees us. For failing to live into the beatitudes is not a matter of moral inadequacy, but rather a lack of trust in God. A trust that God’s message of peace and love and joy for all is indeed still valid and meant for us, all of us.
We got it right last week, and hopefully we do all weeks, because when we are reminded of our baptismal identity and purpose and we receive renewal and strength through the sacrament, we often discover worship becomes the focus of our lives, because it is the source of life-giving energy. The more we are drawn to worship, the deeper we are called to prayer, personal devotions, and scripture study, and the more we may find we desire a life devoted to “Being the Change You wish to see in the world.”
So this morning, I would like to invite us to view this parable as a series of slides, each one become increasingly challenging for us. For that is the purpose of parables. These are not stories intended to comfort us. They are the “afflicting the comfortable” stories of Jesus, meant to be disturbing. So if we find we look at only the slide which makes us feel righteous or just, we need to keep clicking deeper into the parable to find the truth meant for us this day
Benedict also goes on to state in his Rule, “We must remember to start over and start over and start over until someday we control life more than it controls us. And so each moment we begin to feel offended by someone’s actions or words, or find we want to grumble about some unfairness of life, we need to start anew, we need to turn ourselves around and put ourselves in the role of the last hired. Because only when we know the vulnerability that person lives in can we truly find in our hearts and comprehend the generosity that the landowner bestowed upon the last-hired, and offer the same to that person.
We are to stop living as though nothing has changed. We are to put aside the works of darkness: we are to stop gratifying ourselves by harming and provoking each other; and we are to put on the armor of light, by loving our neighbor as ourselves.
At some point along our Christian journey, we each will need to answer the question Jesus posed to his disciples in our gospel reading this morning ~ “Who do YOU say that I am?”
What risks have you taken for the gospel recently? Isn’t this a great question? It’s one we need to ask ourselves individually each day and one for us to ponder as a parish. What risks have we taken recently for the gospel? The question implies following Jesus involves risks and it is something to be attentive to each day.
Jesus begins the process of spiritual transformation of the crowd by directing the disciples’ attention away from what they don’t have, to what they do have, and to invite them to look within themselves for the answer, not to look to others to solve the problem, such as the food markets in everyone’s home town. Jesus said, look at what’s in front of you first, and give thanks.
Well, I believe the parable we heard today is incredibly relevant to each one of us, for it speaks to us about how to live faithfully in normal life, which is full of ambiguity; full of difficult choices, full of complex relationships; full of unending demands upon our time, emotions, energy and values.
Or perhaps you are thinking of our church community and understanding that what makes us the rich and fruitful parish we are, the small parish who yields much fruit, is that those who are able to sow, sow; those who at this time in their lives need to feed on and consume the good news for themselves, like the birds, are able to do so; that those who are in a rocky place, who have nothing to give away at the moment, don’t need to, for the yield from others can carry them along. Perhaps that’s what being an expression of the Body of Christ is all about.
All baptisms are miraculous events, for it is a moment of joining heaven and earth; when we choose and bind ourselves to God, and God to us in a brand new way, and we are formed into a holy union, the bonds of which can never be broken.
Today we celebrate the Feast Day of Pentecost, often known as the birth of the church, since as Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit upon the disciples, he was breathing into their very being, Jesus’ own mission, of bringing all of creation back into unity with God.