The Unfaithful Steward

Today's gospel lesson is a parable about stewardship, but it is a truly bizarre parable. There was even a discussion among some of my Facebook friends about how to preach today’s gospel. Elizabeth Kaeton described it as, “The Worst Parable Ever,” and expressed the difficulty as follows:
I confess I am sorely tempted to break the discipline I was carefully taught and preach on Jeremiah or Amos, or the Epistle or even, as I've experienced some of what at least one of my professors would describe as "lily-livered preachers" do: The Collect (gasp!). Anything but this wretchedly confounding gospel. Well, I guess everybody's gotta do something while waiting for the Parousia.[1]
In the Palestine of Jesus' time, absentee landlords were quite common.In this parable, Jesus tells his listeners about a property owner who gets word that the servant he has placed in charge of his affairs has been squandering his property. The landlord confronts the steward, demanding that th…

On Power and Control

On Power and Control
“But the leader of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had cured on the sabbath, kept saying to the crowd, ‘There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be cured, and not on the sabbath day.’”[1]
I have to confess; this sermon has been all over the place. Originally, I thought the emphasis would be that Jesus had broken the law of Moses. As the local rabbi had said, “Hey, the sabbath is about resting, not about doing magic tricks!” And, the punishment for working on the Sabbath was pretty severe, Exodus states, “Whoever does any work on it shall be put to death.”[2]
Apparently, there is a controversy about whether healing was considered working back then, but any kind of punishment for relieving someone’s suffering seems a bit draconian. It’s almost as bad as punishing someone for leaving food and water in the desert for migrants seeking a better life or extending the period children can be locked up in cages without a hearing. Also, J…

Run the Race Set Before You

“Do you think that I have come to bring peace on the earth?  No, I tell you, but rather division!”  [1]
Normally, I preach on the Gospel lesson.  I almost always preach on the Gospel lesson, and believe me, I had an almost overwhelming desire to preach on these words of Jesus, and the obvious parallels they have, in word if not in spirit, to political climate in America in the last several years.
I decided to let the opportunity pass because the reading from the Letter to the Hebrews, contains one of my favorite passages of scripture: "Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us . . ."

I'm not usually an obsessive type.  I have the attention span of a gerbil.  I don't ordinarily get fixated on one thing and stay with it day after day, month after month.  But I have to confess to you that in the far distant past, …

Why I Don't Talk About It

I went to Vietnam in September 1968, straight out of flight school on orders to join the 1st Cavalry Division. However, at the replacement depot at Cam Ranh Bay I was reassigned to the 23rd Infantry Division (AMERICAL), headquartered in Chu Lai, in I Corps, south of Danang. At Chu Lai I was further assigned to the 123rd Aviation Battalion, and to F Troop, 8th Cavalry (Blue Ghost), a true air cavalry troop, consisting of OH-6A (Cayuse) observation helicopters, AH-1G (Cobra) gunships, and UH-1H (Huey) utility helicopters. I was assigned to the lift platoon, consisting of the latter.

As an air cavalry troop, our primary mission was reconnaissance. The OH-6As would seek out the enemy, flying low and slow to check out particular areas. Two AH-1Gs would be following the scout birds at about 1,500 feet above ground level (AGL), ready to put suppressive fire on anything the OH-6As turned up. Finally, a UH-H with a squad of our infantry platoon would be at 2,000 feet AGL to land and pick up the…

Many Servants

Genesis 18:1-10a Psalm 15 Colossians 1:15-28 Luke 10:38-42
Today's lesson from the Gospel of St. Luke is the story of Mary and Martha.It's a well-known story, with a well-known moral.Martha received a rebuke from Jesus when she complained about her sister sitting listening to the rabbi and not helping with all the things that needed to be done around the house.It doesn't say this in the gospel, but I get the feeling that this was not the first time Mary had left Martha holding the broom.
What is not often pointed out is that both Mary and Martha were doing important things. Mary was sitting at the feet of Jesus, listening to his teaching.It is obvious that this is what we as Christians should be doing as well; seeking the presence of Christ in our lives, and learning from him.Hopefully, that's one of the reasons we are here this morning. But Martha was the one who had invited Jesus into their home.Hospitality was even more important in that time and place than it is now.Our …

The Good Samaritan

It's kind of silly for me to preach on the gospel lesson this morning.Everyone knows the story of the Good Samaritan.It's one of the first Sunday school lessons we learned, and even people who have never entered a church in their lives are familiar with the story.Being a Good Samaritan is a cliche in our language. But I can't just get up, tell everybody to think about the story for a while, and then sit down, no matter how much you wish I would.That's against the rules.I have to preach.So, hopefully, if I ruminate enough on this well-known story this morning, we can find something new in it.
A scribe, one of those experts and interpreters of the Law of Moses upon which Jewish society depended, came to Jesus to check him out."What must I do to inherit eternal life?" he asked.In response, Jesus asked him a question, "What does it say in the Law?"You already know the answer, Jesus told him.
Indeed, he did.The scribe responded, "You shall love the L…