As we stand in the shoes of the disciples in Matthew’s account, we are to obey Jesus’ daring, ridiculous command. We are to offer our limited resources to him to bless and multiply, and take responsibility, not to hoard them for ourselves, but to distribute them to others.
The Lively Lectionary is a weekly blog by Rev. Dr. Alyce McKenzie that reflects on the gospel text from the Revised Common Lectionary each week. It offers a 1000-1200 word post that relates the text to contemporary life. It is posted every Monday morning.
The presence of forgiveness in our lives is an important criterion on which our obedience will be judged when the time comes. We are not to roll judgmentally down the road of life, but we are to stop when necessary, to take stock of our own sins and to extend the same forgiveness we have received to others.
When my now grown son Matt was a boy, I would read him Bible passages every night. Every now and then, when we would return to a familiar passage, he would say, “Let’s hear something we haven’t heard before.”
We’ve all heard the parable of the sower many, many times before. How to rekindle interest? Let’s try rebranding “The Parable of the Sower” and see if any new insights arise.
We all like to be rewarded for our efforts. Gold stars on our school papers as children. Praise from parents and teachers as we get older.
Jesus is promising a reward for those who welcome prophets and righteous persons to the community, and for those who offer small kindnesses to the vulnerable in their midst. That reward is participation in the kingdom of God, which has both a present and a future component.
The pearls of wisdom come in the form of a series of indicative statements meant to govern the way we approach adversity and opposition in working for the advent of God’s reign of justice and mercy on earth.
The message of this closing scene in Matthew is that any and everybody is called to make disciples any and everywhere. With no excuses, no postponements of justice, and no obstacles that God can’t do something about.
We don’t have to huddle in a room for fear of our circumstances and wait for the Holy Spirit. Pentecost is not an event we wait for. It’s one in which we participate. Every moment is Pentecost.
Like the stained glass triptych, the Ascension in Luke’s account highlights three panels that all depict stages in the story of the same Savior.