This chapter begins with comments about when one might receive one’s reward. “Truly I tell you, they have received their reward.” vv 2, 5, 16. Clearly, some forms of reward are worth more than others!
Jesus also makes us question where our treasure is.
19 ‘Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; 20but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
It is all preparation for the big issue of the chapter, which is whether we stand in light or darkness (22,23) in relation to the question of wealth. Wealth is health... or disease, depending on exactly what our treasure is. What do we have our eye fixed upon? Read on >>>>
In the IT firm for which I worked there was one inviolable rule: Never, never, ever order hardware or software until you have a signed acceptance of your written quotation to the client. Never, ever. Given that the machines we worked with were sometimes $10,000 apiece, this was a good rule!
But there was one exception. The boss said that if this one client said to go ahead, then we went ahead, and did the paper work as we had time. His word was better than paper... Read on >>>>
Jesus said unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Even though there were good Pharisees, I always heard him saying unless your righteousness exceeds that of the bankers, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.... but when Jesus said unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, it sounded to his listeners like he was saying this: ... unless your righteousness exceeds that Mother Theresa, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.... Read on >>>>
Law needs compassion.
In the freshly cleaned toilets someone had left two neat boot prints on the toilet seat, facing the wall... Read on >>>>
Some churches have bible studies in which they work through each of The Blessings, or Beatitudes, a week at a time, but we preachers are going to sum them all up in few minutes this Sunday! What might be some of the overarching themes of this densely packed beginning to Jesus’ mountain sermon?
Does the Lamb of God shine a light on your world?
We can be defined by the tragedy of our world. It’s inevitable that our life experience leaves its marks on us. My son will always feel differently about money from his grandparents who grew up in the Depression, and from me, who grew up in the Depression’s fading shadow.
One of my friends loved school. My school days were much less happy; I was always on the outside.
At the age my Dad was fighting the Japanese in Borneo, I had a colleague from Borneo, a girlfriend from China, and mates from Malaysia and Vietnam.
The world leaves its mark on us. But does the world, and all its savagery, have the last word? How do we see the world? Do we let the Lamb of God shine a light on our world, or will the world and its tragedy define us, and darken our light?
At the age I am now, my Dad and Mum were hosting Japanese exchange students. Dad was taking groups of students on tours around South Australia during the school holidays. Yet thirty years on from there, some of his old fellow soldiers bear more than scars, and hold an abiding hatred for the Japanese. The savagery of life has defined them, and limited some of the joy of life they might otherwise have know.
Sometimes we bear marks and scars from life, and sometimes it rules us.... Read on >>>>
The problem with a reading (and a gospel) such as this is that it is so much more than the sum of its parts. We can identify issues of politics. We can identify theological themes. We can see the author’s “winks” to the reader- they are not particularly subtle. But this would be only to analyse the text in by “prescribing a mathematical formula to rate the quality of poetry” which Robin William’s character finds so outrageous and foolish in Dead Poet’s Society. In fact, we would be worse- even more ridiculous- because we ascribe a certain holiness to this text! Read on >>>>
Why rewire the church? Church has been at the centre of my identity. It's formed me, frustrated me, deeply angered and hurt me, guided me, and protected me. Some of the most challenging ideas I have ever met, far more radical than the lawn meetings of my student days, have come from the theologians of the church. There has been a sense of connection to the tradition and wisdom of millennia. And, inevitably, the frustration of tradition hide-bound. I remember singing the words of a hymn one Sunday morning, "nothing changes here..." and one of the youth group muttered sotto voce to his girlfriend, "God, you can say that again!" What worked for our parent's church doesn't necessarily work for us. I notice it often doesn't work for them anymore, although older people are sometimes more gracious about their frustrations! Life changes, we change, and constantly need to reassess where we are going.
This little church on the web is modelled around the metaphor of an old and treasured house. It's the house our parents lived in and inherited from someone we never knew. The house is strong and robust, but needs rewiring. Our ways of thinking and being need to change to make the house liveable and practical. Otherwise it will be a burden, not a base camp for life.
Then Wendy said....
I was reading the side piece about why ‘rewire' the church. I thought the analogy was good but I wonder how many people of our (or younger) generations would connect with it. Doing pastoral visiting over the years in all manner of older homes - some that would more clearly need ‘rewiring' - and some renovated houses - leads me to think that most homes in need of rewiring are in need of far more than just the rewiring done!! These days we use our homes very differently to the past - we like bigger more open spaces, bigger windows to give a light filled space etc.Of course, if someone was to buy an old home that was structurally sound and wanted to slowly renovate - rewiring would be a major and first place to start. I would think this was more what the website was trying to do - perhaps recognising that walls and doorways might need to be shifted or knocked down eventually, all in good time. In the meantime, to make the place safe and liveable the rewiring needs to be done.
Sites we like
A Church (re)Wired
This is the archive of the Church (re)Wired project which Scots Church sponsored during 2009 and 2010. Rev. Andrew Prior experimented with an online theological site centred around the Revised Common Lectionary, and aiming to restate Christian theology in today's language.
The Archive contains a large number of articles. The Site Map (look under Theology) will help give you a bird's eye view. Enjoy!
Next page: Why