Talented Talents

This sermon can be listened to here

Gate Pa – Year A 33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time, 2020  
Psalm                          Psalm 123                                                                  
First Reading:              Judges 4:1-7
Second Reading:        1 Thessalonians 5:1-11                        
Gospel:                         Matthew 25:14-30    
What I want to say:
Suggest the point of Christianity is living in presence of God. The Beatitudes are how we live in the presence of God, in the reign of God – the Kingdom of Heaven.
So how does this help us read passages like the Parable of the Talents?  
Then use that to explore three ways of reading the parable of the Talents.
What I want to happen:
People to think about how they live in the presence of God.

The Sermon

       1.     Introduction - Parable of the Talents

For nearly last year listening each week Matthews understanding of who Jesus is
-         How Jesus reveals nature of God
-         What reign God- kingdom of heaven looks like
-         taught by Jesus in sermon of Mount and particularly Beatitudes
-         lived and teased out – rest of gospel
In light of that how do we read the parable of the talents we heard this morning
What questions do you have about it?
What is it about?

       ð Discussion

       ð Plenary

       2.     What shapes how I read a text

Story of preaching course in Wellington
One right way to read scripture
-         White American middle class man
o   Corrected others
§  People Asia
§  Women
§  African American etc..
-         Story of Hone Kaa at Orakei
-         Used story in ways I couldn’t and can’t
Our culture and history, our life experiences including our gender shapes how we read bible
How we read stories like this
-         While ways many you and I read this story way universally read in western churches long time
-         Not how other churches read it
-         African Americans for example
Not see this as about kingdom of heaven
-         Easily be part of series stories, including bridesmaids from last week
-         Warn disciples about easy and misleading ways describing kingdom of heaven
Problems with master – more Trump (or Herod the Great or Herod Antipas or any despot really) than Jesus
Honourable act – maintain families land and honour
-         not adding to own land and honour
-         that takes away from others
-         do so is dishonourable
-         but Jesus just been jousting with several groups who had done just that
-         including chief priests, Jerusalem elite, some of Sadducees and pharisees
-         used Rome’s debt burden to increase their land holdings as expense of small land holders Judea and Galilee
-         could easily be a rebuke of those so called leaders
-         warning to not be like them and their idea of kingdom of heaven
mosaic law – no interest
ð slave acts honourably is one buries master’s talent
returns it without adding poverty others
for that is cast out
for many heard that story
hero is third slave
who like Jesus is rejected, cast out, crucified.
He is one lives beatitudes
For whole lot of people who are poor
Like third slave
For whom this reading offers good news
Not way we normally read it

       3.     Alternative reading

Wait there is more
another way understanding this parable offered in commentaries I read.
Quite few do not read this as we normally do
But still want to see that as story about kingdom/reign
-         Still sees master – Jesus
-         See description as harsh master to be understanding which leads many astray
-         Blinds us to who Jesus really is
-         Who God really is
Example Matt Skinner suggests that this not so much about waiting for the of particular chapter of world history
But anticipating a new quality for the way we see and live in the world to arrive
-         New way of relating to each other
-         New way seeing God at work in our world and in our time.
Begins with absurdity of giving of talent
What is talent?
-         Equivalent of 20 years wages
-         Like a life time for many people
-         There is one gold coin
Absurd amount
That is good image of God
Absurdly generous
Offers us absurd abundance of grace, forgiveness, compassion, mercy, life
As we wait for this world break upon us
We are like bridesmaids to actively wait
Knowing our flasks are filled with an absurd abundances
            need allow absurd generosity of God to flow through us
when read this with beatitudes
this is not story about rich getting richers
not really about using our gifts and talents
more about what God offers through us.

       4.     Conclusion

three different ways reading this parable

leave it to you decide which works for you

what ever you choose

invite you start by understanding that this story helps us live in the presence of God now

How does this story guide us to live in this presence?


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