In this time when so many of us make a point of giving thanks, it might be an idea to share some thoughts concerning a major part of giving thanks, that being the act of receiving something for which we are giving thanks.
Most of us can offer examples in which receiving was done and, for that matter, when it actually was not done. I offer a couple that I’ve seen.
The point is something that I offer as a counterpoint to a statement often made by plate-passing preachers. They might claim that their god loves a happy giver, but my deities really get excited about a happy receiver!
There is a connection between Jeremiah’s prophecy and the Gospel lesson, if you look. Five thousand came to hear and see Jesus. From how far away might some of them have come? And add to that, almost all of them would probably have made the journey on foot!
One of the most charged words, whether in a political or theological context, is the word “choice”. People bat that word around as if it were important and, interestingly enough, as if there were a universal definition which perfectly fulfills their vested interest. But does it do all that? Let’s look and see!
And here is perhaps a major point about all that the New Testament is trying to tell us!
Too many “Pollyanna” types like to think of this Sunday’s Gospel reading as a demand that we be everyone else’s doormat for the sake of forgiveness. I don’t think so. But it does say that we do need to pass on what we’re given.
Here it is: a Gospel lesson that actually works! It certainly did for me!
The basic story you probably know, about a nobleman who traveled more than a day to ask Jesus to come and heal his son. While Jesus did make a remark about how people need signs and wonders to believe, he tells the nobleman to go home and his son lives. He believed and by the time he got home, he had more reason to believe. And within this story is the “secret” of how to make faith actually work for you! Listen to the sermon and you’ll see!
The story of this week’s Gospel is familiar, but do we see the real lesson? There’s a frequently-misused saying here, and a familiar story, but what is the real point Jesus wants us to get? Yes, there is a wedding feast and yes, the ones who originally knew and had been invited rebelled against coming. But what of the feast itself?
What was it about the man who was not wearing a wedding garment? Is there something in that part of the story that tells us of something to look forward to?
I consider a mark of a great book to be the fact that you can read it again and again and find something new each time. That is the care with today’s Epistle.
We’ve heard the usual “pep talk” before of being what you have become, rather than what you once were. We hear it on other occasions too, such as graduation ceremonies and job promotions. But there’s another factor here, in actually receiving and claiming that which you have been given. That too is worth exploring.