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Getting Out the WORD - the twenty-second sunday after pentecost
Written by Pastor Bob   
Wednesday, 16 November 2011 11:45

the PRAYER. . .

Righteous God, our merciful master, you own the earth and all its peoples, and you give us all that we have. Inspire us to serve you with justice and wisdom, and prepare us for the joy of the day of your coming, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.

the READING. . .

 

"Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward, saying, 'Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed; so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground.  Here you have what is yours.'  But his master replied, 'You wicked and lazy slave!  You knew, did you, that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter?  Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received what was my own with interest.  So take the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents. . . .  As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'"                (Matthew 25:14-30)

 

the DEVOTION. . .

 

I guess it's one of those "eye-of-the-beholder" kind of things.  A slave - according to his ability - is entrusted by his master with one talent (more than fifteen years wages, back then, for the average laborer).  He digs a hole, drops it in, and covers it up.  He doesn't lose anything.  But, then again, he doesn't gain anything, either.  Therein lies the problem!  And for us, who base our lives on dividends and interest, the master's tirade only makes sense.  "You should have invested!"  But, then. . .

 

. . .  conveniently hidden among tens of thousands of verses and hundreds of thousands of words. . .  hidden away and forgotten. . .  is Exodus 22. 25: "If you lend money to my people, . . .  you shall not exact interest from them." Kinda makes sense, now!  "Reaping where you did not sow!  Gathering where you did not scatter seed!"  The master did what god said not to!  That's why he's "harsh"!

 

So, what is it that makes one person wicked and lazy and another shrewd and admired?  What is it that casts one into the outer darkness while another is cast in the role of god?

bob barndt, pastor

 
Getting Out the WORD - all saints sunday
Written by Pastor Bob   
Wednesday, 09 November 2011 09:35

the PRAYER. . .

Almighty God, you have knit your people together in one communion in the mystical body of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.  Grant us grace to follow your blessed saints in lives of faith and commitment, and to know the inexpressible joys you have prepared for those who love you, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

the READING. . .

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him.  Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying: "Blessed are. . . ." (Matthew 5:1-12 )

the DEVOTION. . .

 

The Chapel of the Holy Cross.  It’s more a sculpture than a building, built into the cliffs in the Arizona's Red Rock Country. It was one of the first places we visited after moving to Phoenix. Step inside and you're struck by the simplicity.  Plain. Simple. Unadorned.  Stretching from floor to ceiling, the cross overwhelms everything.  Just beyond, on the other side of the glass, are the mesas and buttes along Oak Creek.  And, back then, when we first visited, there was, also, a corpus - a body - hanging on the cross.  More like a skeleton, actually, made of twisted wire.  The figure was gruesome.  Almost grotesque.  A total contradiction to the beauty outside.  But that was the image that came to mind when, this time, I read the words, "Blessed are. . . ."

 

So many times, the words conjure up smiley faces and rainbows, bunny rabbits and teddy bears!  “The Be Happy Attitudes,” someone has called them. But Matthew tells another story.  One of joy, to be sure. But one of sacrifice. . . of sacrifice and suffering, as well. Blessed are the poor in spirit? Those who mourn? The meek? Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness? The merciful? The pure in heart? The peacemakers? The persecuted? But, maybe, most of all, blessed are those who take up the cross and follow after. . . Blessed are those who love. . .  just like god!

bob barndt, pastor

 
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