Evening Prayer: Feast of St. Matthew the Evangelist (Sept. 21)-Combo Post


Psalms: 119:41-64, 19, 112
Old Testament: Isaiah 8:11-20, Job 28:12-28
New Testament: Romans 10:1-15 Matthew 13:44-52

โ€˜The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. (Matt 13:44)

For tonight’s reflection, I am totally going to steal from Bill Cliff who is the chaplain over at St. John the Evangelist @ Huron University College

While I was at the Common Ground conference back in June, I attended a workshop on teaching and preaching the parables. In the course of that discussion, Bill said that the stories of Jesus are meant to shock us….and not only that…but they speak to the character of God. They give us insight into the type of person that the Father is, and how he acts in the world.

Traditionally, the story of the hidden treasure is taken to mean that the disciple finds the saving news of the gospel, and follows it above all else. Yet…this seems to skip over one very important aspect…..the first sentence that our Lord speaks.

The simile which is set up at the beginning of tonight’s passage is not a disciple is like…Instead the emphasis is on God…Jesus says the kingdom of heaven is like….

This shift in focus means that our understanding has to change as well. The treasure in the field doesn’t refer to what we find and rejoice over….It’s about what God finds and rejoices over. ๐Ÿ™‚

Like the parable of the lost sheep or prodigal son in Luke….the shocking message here is that God believes we are invaluable. He rejoices over each and every one of his creations. Saints, sinners, tax-collectors, gay, straight, rich and poor…..the Trinity constantly invites us and seeks us out to join in their dance of celebration and redemption.

The apostle Matthew–whom we celebrate today–was someone who was classified as a traitor to his people…a person who turned his back on his religion and people….a person whom YHWH would never even deign to look upon.

Yet this is the same man who encounters emmanu el….God with us….and receives an invitation to follow in the way that leads to life. May we have that courage which leads to a resounding “yes” and helps us to remember that we are all gifts from God. +

Morning Prayer: Feb. 28th

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Psalms: 1, 2, 3
Old Testament: Deuteronomy 4:9-14
New Testament: 2 Cor 10:1-18

Know, then, that the Lord your God is not giving you this good land to occupy because of your righteousness; for you are a stubborn people. (Deut 9:6)

Speaking of my own experience, I used to think that the spiritual life was about being righteous so I could get stuff. Blessing, entry into heaven, fruitful relationships… all the things that make life worth living.

It makes sense right??? You get what you work for. Gotta work hard for the things that you want. You are responsible for your own actions.

But that’s not the Gospel message. The Gospel message is that the things we want are bestowed as gifts, that forgiveness is freely given, and that Jesus–not us–is responsible for the consequences of our action.

Here in Deuteronomy, the LORD makes it very clear that everything He does flows from His own nature, rather than any deeds we have done. The idea that Judaism is a religion of following rules vs. Christian Grace is simply not true.

God help us if we ever use the free gift us Grace to create an “us vs. them” mentality.+

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