Sermon - 22 09 19

Sermon - 22 09 19


# Sermons
Published on Sunday, 22 September 2019 14:00

This weeks sermon for Trinity 14 .. Reward for bad behaviours? 


So Jeremiah our prophet is once again expressing his feelings

He seems to be in a similar situation to ours  

Summer is drawing to its end

There are amazing days of heat and warmth

Like yesterday and most of last week

And then days like today and worse yet to come..

Yet that is how the seasons work..

Not just haphazardly

But purposefully

Intentionally

Set in a pattern to produce a harvest

Which we can be part of ..

When we plant in season

Nurture in season

there should be a harvest

Fruit from all the hard work of the year

A result.. 

An outcome 

But Jeremiah is saying to the Hebrews

the people of Israel are so off target

with who they should be as God’s people 

And it would seem that exile in Babylon 

Hasn’t improved the behaviour or attitudes of the Hebrew people 

the leaders continue to do their own thing 

not seeking what is good for the nation

seeking only what is good only for their tribe

their area

their needs..

which in turn not only leaves them exiled in Babylon

instead of the promised land

but exile from heaven

from God

Now I totally get where Jeremiah is coming from

Does his experience sound familiar 

it can seem as though we are living in the same times.

The events and choices made by the peoples of the world 

bring little unity

Just more division 

More self serving

 Self seeking

Rather than unification and care one for another.. 

Just look at the headlines on Friday 

Trump says to Saudi Arabia

“We are locked and loaded”

In the UK our own Richmondshire Baroness Hale 

Heading up he supreme court 

As they work out whether Johnston is being legal 

by proroguing parliament ...

or if Aidan O’Neil MP says

"the mother of Parliaments 

being shut down by the father of lies"

We see proof that China 

Continues to chain and blind fold its prisoners in camps  .. 

The most unbelievable self seeking news on that day 

Was the British EU Brexit party MEP’s

Who refused to vote on a European Parliament resolution

To call on Iran to release Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffee

The lady working for Reuters who was held in Iran

On suspicion of planning to overthrow the governments

Nazanin has never been charged 

and is now held in Iran in a mental health institute 

This lady was used as a pawn

By the MEP’s 

Who were elected to represent and serve the British people In the EU 

    

Nazanin is a British citizen

and the MEP’s elected on her behalf 

On our behalf to represent and serve our needs in Europe 

Chose abstain from the vote 

for Nazanin to be released.

We seem to be on a downward spiral 

Many people seem to be becoming Self seeking

looking out for number one

putting their individual needs put above the needs of others..

Yet among that self seeking self focussed spiral 

we see glimpses of hope

of care for more than the immediate

 care of more than self.

The Young people and children are being bold enough 

 to step out of school in protest about climate change

it is the young people 

whose lives will be changed in ways 

we cannot yet fully imagine by global warming

yet we often seem not to care 

about those who come after us….. 

 Now who has heard of 

Emily Coxhead who having been affected so deeply

by the constant negative news 

And social media 

Began writing a new newspaper 

which only tells Good News stories

She doesn’t live in denial of the dreadful stuff

Emily still acknowledges dreadful events 

which impact on us, but factually, 

without scaremongering or point scoring.. 

Emily speaks reality 

Without heightening, 

 without harming.. 

She simply tells the story..

And her newspaper brings joy as one reads it..

Many of us are seeing the need 

to bring the balance of joy back into our lives ..

Yet as we move on to the Luke reading..

we see what can be interpreted as unjoyful

corrupt and harmful behaviour 

 being condoned by Jesus..

We meet the rich man 

who was going to dismiss his manager

 because the manager had steeling

squandering his property

And the manager ..

who knows the game is up 

and doesn’t fancy earning his living by digging

or By doing manual work

and of course .... 

he’s too ashamed to beg

Finds a way to recover joy 

Instead of accepting responsibility for  his actions

he cuts the debts of each who owe money to the rich man..

he does this so that he might at least

have some who may help him in his hour of need..

people with homes 

where he may live when the job he is doing ends..

The people whose debt he cut

may have seen this act as compassion 

but no… 

cutting the debt is continuing the self seeking behaviour 

for which he is being sacked by the manager.. 

So.. when the rich man finds out we can imagine the scene

Both parties know the other party knows

And the manager is getting ready to receive his P45

Or equivalent in that time ..

BUT NO ... instead of dismissing the manager immediately.. 

The rich man rewards the manager 

By admiring his deceit.. 

So at first hearing 

this is a story bad behaviours 

on top of bad behaviours by all people 

The rich man, 

The manager

Those in debt 

None of them seem to show any honesty..

Well actually 

Just like the news stories of the world today

his story has a wider angle to it if we take the time to look.. 

the wider angel

the deeper understanding is not all that good

but there is a sub text to all people in this story

The people for whom the manager has cut the debt 

Well they now owe him a debt

not a financial one

But a debt of gratitude

And that debt

is what the manager plans to call in when his job goes.

Yet the story could also be called the dishonest rich man

As the rich man was himself being illegal

The Jewish people 

were forbidden to loan moneys 

If they charged interest.. 

It as illegal.. 

Money could be loaned

But not for profit.. Not for gain 

So it would seem that as the rich man 

found out about the manager

He would be unable to take any legal action against him 

Because he too would then be seen and known 

to be acting illegally..

Yet there is another angle 

another explanation of this story

the rich man is God

the manager is the Hebrew people ... Israel 

Israel is supposed to belong to God

Israel is God’s property manager

responsible to God 

and given authority to protect his possessions

and his peoples 

but Israel has failed in her task

attempting to control by laws and more laws

burdening the people 

with rules and regulations

these rules … these laws 

excluded the people Jesus was reaching out to

these laws excluded people

from knowing there is another way to live

these laws excluded people from knowing 

they were Children of God 

Yet in all of the angles

We haven’t used the word parable

 This is not an ordinary story - its a parable 

And the parable is not one rewarding self seeking ways..

remember it’s a parable not a story..

a parable is told to bring light to a moral of spiritual dilemma

it’s a story to teach those who hear 

who God is and who we are as children of God

and how we are to be..

And this parable tells us that 

it is God who loves us above all things

and if we are all loved by God above all things

then manipulating others and situations 

 is harmful to self, to others and to the whole of creation  

 remember every action has a reaction.. 

 

 God who wants us to be real

Speak truth

See joy where joy is

seek and serve him 

rather than those who do not have our best interest at heart..

       

Look at the stories we are told 

the news 

the events 

not as the world want us to see 

but with the heart of God within us..

Using our wealth 

not just financial wealth

our wealth of knowledge

our wealth of presence 

our wealth of love 

our wealth of faith

our wealth of the gifts within us..

to further the love of God among us

not to hold on to for self

but to better the lives of others

So as much of our familiar trusted ways of being in the world 

seems to be going to hell in a hand cart

one of the other readings today was Paul 

writing to the church in Ephesus tells the tiny church in Ephasis 

and us to pray for our leaders, 

that they will pursue policies of social, economic, 

and environmental justice, 

with wisdom, courage, and integrity.

So I invite you to pray

Pray about the mess we are making of our world:

pray that governments, industry, politicians, and all leaders

will heed the voices of our young people, raised in protest.

pray that each of us will use our wealth

Our gifts in a way that heals and restores

and that one day soon joy and truth will be what is sought 

by all those in power 

For the needs of the whole world.. 

Amen..