Following a question by Peter as to how often he is supposed to forgive someone, Jesus goes into a parable of a king who called his servants into account. We’d call it an audit today. And, one servant was found to owe ten thousand talents, a lot of money. But he begged the king forgiveness, and the king forgave him. But the servant wanted to press severely for payment of a fellow-servant whose debt amounted to pocket change. What the king does as a result shows that we will see the level of mercy we give to others.
One of the more interesting parables is the one about the king who puts on a wedding feast for his son. We know how he set up the feat, we know about the invited guests who snubbed him, and we know about the people, good and bad, that he brought in from the highways as replacement guests. But how many of us have looked at the guest who was not wearing a wedding garment? Understand that, and you’ll know what awaits if you accept!
One of the most important points of the New Testament, and of Jesus’ ministry. “Ask and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full”. That might not be as you imagined it, or times ad you hoped, but it does promise that it will be.
There’s no discussion here about “God’s will”, “God’s time”, or “God’s higher plan”. Simply ask, and it shall be given unto you.
I have a hard time with the Epistle reading here, and not because of what it says. My issue is what some people claim that it says. At the time St Peter wrote this, the world known to him was governed by Rome, and it was relatively just. And, there were no persecutions. Is such a pronouncement of advice all-inclusive?
What of unjust situations. Should civil rights demonstrators stayed silent because segregation was the law? For that matter, should the Pilgrims who settled in Massachusetts have instead stayed in England and affirmed their loyalty to the Church of England, since it was England’s only lawful church at the time?
Just laws are just and deserve to be followed. But we don’t need to follow injustice in the name of scripture.
The Epistle reading for today is one which I consider to be one of the most abused and mis-used passages in the entire Bible! Does it mean, for instance, that Rosa Parks was supposed to give up her seat on the bus to a white man? Does it mean that minorities should have quietly obeyed the Jim Crow laws that enforced segregation? Should Jews have quietly gone to concentration camps? I don’t think so!
At the time St Paul wrote this, he was a proud citizen of Rome. Rome had treated him well. He had no way of knowing that rulers such as Nero and Caligula were in the future.
He did have to worry about some folks who thought that with the coming of Christ being so soon to come, they did not have to concern themselves with mundane authorities.
Much has been said about this inauguration, but I feel it might be wise to take a moment and offer some basic principles in which most of us will agree. And, for the sake of those calling themselves “Christian”, what Jesus and his initial followers taught. Considering the principles upon which the United States was founded, it might do us well to review them.
Jesus had much to say, but it is worth noting what he and his followers did not mention. Notice that and see its significance, and you’ll have learned a major lesson. Next, look at how Jesus taught and whom he ministered to, and you’ll see more – including a point which some people today don’t seem to get!
I cannot go through a Holy Communion without it being a spiritual experience, and this was a major one!
The message of Christmas is a message of fulfillment. The time was right, and it came to be. Some factors at the time were more favorable than they ever had been or would be again for centuries. God’s will was, and is, for our well-being. And it was all by God’s plan. Let us never forget that, even though those are some clever catch-phrases sometimes used to disguise the ugly motivations of some people.
This is the beginning of the fulfillment, and more will be. In fact, it continues to this day.
The Gospel reading for this Sunday has a special “treat” for conspiracy theorists and those who want to explore history beyond what your teacher taught. When the religious leaders sent priests and Levites to ask John the Baptist who he was and what could be expected of him, John replied by telling them that one among them would come and be greater than him.
Does this tell us something more, including what happened to Jesus between the Finding In The Temple and his baptism by John?
Interestingly, the Pagan holiday of Samhain in the Northern Hemisphere coincides with All Saint’s Day and All Souls’ Day. And in the Southern Hemisphere it coincides with Walpurgis Night. While there are those who would make accusations of copying holidays, we need to consider the likelihood that different people might be looking at the same thing from their own perspective.
The book of Revelation shows even more, with the inclusion beyond the elite 144,000. Beyond them, there was a group which nobody could number, in white robes and holding palms. So much for those who would like to make us feel defeated.
For some reason, this was a difficult service to do, including a physical illness and a few other things. But here it is, including some special prayers included for the benefit of those we love who have crossed over.