Of all that we do, there is one element which makes our efforts precious or worthless! The epistle forces a challenge on us. Do we want to make a bunch of noise, or do we want to actually accomplish something? One factor is the difference. And that difference is a word some folks today don’t really understand.
This can be a challenge for some people, especially when we see what that one factor is like, and particularly when we see what it is particularly not like. But knowing this, we can build!
Here we have the story of the householder who hired people to work in his field. He hired all he could at the beginning of the day, but then he came back again at the 6th, 9th and 11th hour, hiring those who were waiting for jobs then. At the end of the day, he gave those who were hired last the same pay as those who had been working all day. When someone voiced an objection, the householder had a reply.
We can take some comfort in this. Those of us who were born too late to suffer persecutions go on crusades, or cast a shadow in the reformations will still have our rewards for the work which we did do.
To most Wiccans and Pagans, this is a non-issue. Most of them follow more than one deity, and some call upon deities from more than one path. For those with a Christian background, this is a different issue.
Some do not seem to realize that the Old Testament does recognize and respect the existence of other deitites. And in the New Testament, we have evidence of Jesus respecting other paths, and even honoring them.
The Gospel reading for today is familiar to most of us, but how many people have really examined it for what it is trying to tell? At twelve, Jesus is probably considered a man by virtue of having completed his Bar Mitzvah and so this is his first visit to the Temple as an adult. But what is such a young man doing, occupying so many of the learned doctors in heavy discussion for three days?
The answer to this, including some speculation on my part, shows some insight into what might be coming for him.
The reading in place of the Epistle is from the prophecy of Isaiah. In it, Isaiah speaks of the coming of the Christ. And with it, Isaiah teaches one of the main points which some people seem to miss: fulfillment.
Mercy and redemption are also important points, but first it must be established that promises will be fulfilled at the appointed time. And with that, we can begin to build our faith!
We see a number of people claiming to be Christians citing doctrine from the Old Testament as being the basis of their pronouncements. Can it really be? It seems that Luke 16:16 is one of the more ignored and/or forgotten passages of the New Testament. That verse does offer a definitive answer.
Comparing that verse with a table of contents in a Jewish Tanakh (the scripture Jesus would have known) is revealing!
In many traditions, and beginning today here, we end the Holy Communion with words from the beginning of the Gospel of John, and today we hear the end of that same gospel. And we see here a problem beginning even before the Ascension which we so often see today.
It appears word got out that one special disciple would not die until Jesus returned. When asked about that, Jesus replied “what is it to you?” Have we experienced being misquoted? Might it be a good idea to understand what is being said?