Date:
17 Sep 1999
Time:
14:38:35

Comments

The way of righteousness is revealed and those who believe the revelation are "going into the kingdom of God" ahead of those who don't.

Jesus requires but one thing from us sinners... belief.

Are we teaching the way of righteousness, as taught by the Baptist (Mat 3:1-2 NIV In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea {2} and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near."), to all sinners? Or are we teaching cheap grace?

What are the consequences of teaching cheap grace? They seem steep as implied in this week's text.

Rick in Va


Date:
17 Sep 1999
Time:
17:28:35

Comments

Hello Rick in VA:

"Question"? "Authority".

The chief priests & elders thought they had "rightful authority" under Moses. John had "rightful authority" as a prophet given by God himself.

But their "internal reasonings", i.e. "from heaven", "human origin" let us know that they could "see" and even after they "saw" they would not believe.

Therefore, how could they possibly believe Jesus after the way they acted toward John's message?

One very important detail...John and Jesus was NOT parallel. Jesus followed John in time and "authority".

Simply put, the highest order of unbelief that can exist.

A question for all you pastors?

How close are you to being in the condition of chief priests?

LJC in CA


Date:
17 Sep 1999
Time:
19:46:59

Comments

Indeed, the question is about authority. There are two basic types of authority that apply here. Defacto or recognized authority, and dejure or conferred authority. Matthew has already told us that Jesus taught as one who had authority, ie, he had recognized authority. But that authority was not yet conferred upon by the religious authorities.

The threatened religious authorities had conferred authority but no recognized authority. Jesus was a threat. Consequently they attack him, and here the attack is an interesting and ironical attack at his authority.

How many pastors have ducked issues, shyed away from stances or sermons because they did not feel authorized? How many parents live in homes of spiritual dissaray because they do not understand their authority to be spiritual leaders.

Many years ago a Bishop placed his hands on my head and said, "Take thou authority..." The word take can be misleading if one thinks of it as self gained or even only church gained authority.

The first authority comes from God who baptizes us fills us and calls us into ministry. Out of the g general ministry some are called into particular or ordained ministry. But that authority must first be recognized and then conferred.

Churches and pastors need to do a better job in recognizing one another's authority as gift and call from God. Staying free from power struggles and from leanings toward authoritarianism, the church needs to embrace its calling. The spiritual formation of the home and the church is at stake.

Fred in La


Date:
18 Sep 1999
Time:
00:02:52

Comments

Fred,

What you said!

amen!

Rick in Va


Date:
18 Sep 1999
Time:
03:36:56

Comments

There is a great scene in the film "The Bear" that illustrates authority well:

In the scene, the little bear cub comes across a cougar or a mountain lion that is stalking him and clearly has the capacity to harm him. The little cub stands on his hind legs and tries to look as powerful as he possibly can. To his amazement, the cougar cowers fearfully and runs away. The little bear cub is pretty impressed with himself thinking that he has frightened off the cougar, but in fact, a large grizzly bear was standing behind the cub the whole time.

This image is a good reality check for me when I get tangled in power/authority issues (ie when I get impressed with myself).........God is the big bear, I don't operate under my own authority, but that given me by God and the church.

Sometimes it's tempting to retreat into the "priesthood of all believers" ideal that was so prevalent in theological college and consider myself just one of the flock (one who has been set aside for a particular purpose in the church). But that ideal is easier to uphold in an academic setting. Out here in congregational life, the authority of the "office" of ministry is ours whether we like it or not. It is given to us by the people who count on us to use that authority with grace and faithfulness. It is at once a blessing and a burden...........one that I wouldn't trade for anything (most of the time:)

I agree with you, Fred, that we need to embrace the gift that we are given as leaders called to serve God in the church. To turn away from, or deflect, the authority of the office is to deny that gift.

Blessings, SueCan


Date:
18 Sep 1999
Time:
13:31:29

Comments

I am fascinated with the little parable Jesus tells. It speaks to me about expectations: expectations which are raised ("Yes, I'll do it!") and disappointed, and those that seem to be disappointed yet are fulfilled. I can see a connection here to Philippians: Jesus Christ is the fulfilment of human and divine expectation. So, what do people expect of each other? And, linking this to the authority issue, what do clergy expect of congregations and congregations of clergy? What do we expect of God and what does God expect of us? Just a jumble of ideas and associations at this stage. I am preaching on this text on my last Sunday before moving to another post. Any ideas welcome! DW in London, UK


Date:
18 Sep 1999
Time:
14:19:27

Comments

I’m interested in the little parable of the Father asking his sons to do a job speaks of expectations and how they are fulfilled – or not, as the case may be. Some jumbled thoughts and associations around the theme of expectation: Some parents may identify with the experience of hearing the response as in v. 30:”I’ll go” – but there is nothing forthcoming. Some adolescents may identify with v. 29: “No, I won’t”, is a natural reaction, until doing the job appears o.k. and cool to do without looking too obedient or subservient. What do people expect of each other? Of clergy? And clergy of congregations? Expectations can be disappointed or fulfilled or fulfilled differently than expected. What do we expect of God? And what does God expect of us? There is an obvious link here to the readings from Philippians where we can see Jesus Christ as the fulfilment both of human and divine expectations. The whole parable is set in the framework of the question of authority, interestingly authority that has been given, has been conferred. The last verse (v.32) does not tie in with the parable and the different reactions narrated there. I’m preaching on this parable on my last Sunday before moving to another church. Any ideas welcome! DW in the UK


Date:
19 Sep 1999
Time:
18:12:24

Comments

LJC in CA Your question is a good one and is appropriate not just for pastors but for all who consider themselves "good Christians." "How close are WE to the chief priests & the elders?" There is always the danger once we think we have it made, of looking down on anyone outside of the church or outside of our own community with judgment instead of love. The chief priests & the elders relied on their own works for their status & authority. But that's not the way it is in God's kingdom. We - who are pastors, church leaders and other Christians, have been invited into God's kingdom because of God's gracious love & because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, not because of our own merit. And we are called to live in humility & love (see this week's text from Phil 2) loving & inviting ALL outsiders into the kingdom. The authority for any of us to do that is of course from Jesus Christ. To do so is to do the will of the Father. The challege is to constantly remember to rely on God for guidance, strength, and direction, and to remember with joy and thanksgiving all that God has done for us. JG in NJ


Date:
19 Sep 1999
Time:
23:04:02

Comments

"...but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him." In other words God gave the chief priests and elders a perfectly good example of the right behavior, using tax collectors and prostitues, but ODDLY the priests and elders MISSED learning from their good example. Somehow we are still VERY attentive to what others are doing WRONG, but less attentive to what others do that is RIGHT. I wonder how many good examples God continues to put before us, but we miss because they occur in the "wrong" kind of people. DL in ME


Date:
19 Sep 1999
Time:
23:49:28

Comments

The bit that has caught my eye is that the verb in v 31 is in the present tense (seems to be OK, so far as I can judge, in Greek too - present indicative active?) So it is happening already. The Kingdom of God is there already, is here now, and how are we reacting? {I know the theological issues, and appreciate not all will agree) Like the son who says he will act and doesn't, much of the time. Pardon the CofE references, but you can guess what they mean - just for once I'd like to cancel the Deanery Synod and go out with bread and soup to feed the people on the town's streets. Just for once I'd like to cancel the Parochial Church Council and go knocking on the doors of our parish to tell people that we have something important to show them at church next Sunday. Like many others, a jumble of thoughts here, but I have a nasty feeling I'm going to say something controversial about talking, reports and fundraising, as opposed to living, doing, daring and being.

Mike in Guildford, UK


Date:
20 Sep 1999
Time:
12:27:08

Comments

I have been reading the comments and have stopped halfway to re-read the Scripture. While I agree with the comments concerning authority, it seems to me that the real issue is one of OBedience. The parable strikes at the Pharisees' unwillingness(?) to be obedient to God while those they forsaken--taxcollectors and prostitutes-who obey God will gain entrance into Heaven. Jesus seems to be chastizing the Pharisees, not for assuming too much authority, but for not being obedient to their call One might be able to separate this into confrontation with the Pharisees and the parable it self STAN in TN


Date:
20 Sep 1999
Time:
14:18:49

Comments

For Mike in Guildford, UK:

I delight when I read, the verb is in tense...

The verb in the Greek is 3pers.pl.pres.act.ind. but it has a preposition subfix.

they are going {entering} before {ahead of} you {chief priests and elders}

Thanks so much,

LJC in CA


Date:
20 Sep 1999
Time:
14:18:52

Comments

LJC You hit a sore spot for pastors. I think it is easy for us to believe we are the dispenser of Grace. Along with our churches we can come to believe that if you don't walk in our doors you don't get the door prize of Grace. I want so much to take the hinges of the doors and throw them away. But, can we tell the old guard that it's not their Church. Our would that even be the truth in some cases? We have made something out of the Church that Jesus never intended it to be. We are places of maintiance mode ministry. We put peoples' names all over the church as though it belongs to us. All the while we ignore the prostitutes and the tax collectors. I wonder how well the man that killed thoses people in that Tx church would have been welcome in most of our churches. We are turning our backs on the ones that need the Grace of God. We lock them away in jails, hospitals, and nursing homes and go about playing church. We have our little clubs that spend money on flowers and signs, but ministry is not happening. We are focused on the past. Homecoming is the high point of the year at some churches. While down the street people need our help and the Grace of God. Are we listening to Jesus or are we like the leaders of the church. Are we happy if we get paid, have our retirement, and insurance? Do we as pastors have a, "I'll just stay here a few years and then the Bishop will move me" mentality? Is that all there is to ministry? B MS


Date:
20 Sep 1999
Time:
14:20:27

Comments

For JG in NJ:

I feel we have shared a piece of this gospel message.

In grace,

LJC in CA


Date:
20 Sep 1999
Time:
14:32:30

Comments

A request for all:

v.25 "Did the baptism of John come..."

We read of no place that John was baptized!!!

So we know this verse is NOT about John being baptized?

So the baptism of John must have meaning in the] baptism he performed?

Now, what was the character of John's baptism?

Note: Never said, never used "water baptism" but Jesus used "the baptism of John come"...

LJC in CA


Date:
20 Sep 1999
Time:
16:35:59

Comments

re. St. Michael & All Angels Does anybody have infomation on any online resources for preaching on St. Michael and All Angels (9/29}? If so, please contact me: bahnsg@ballcom.com. Thanks. Stan in No.Wis.


Date:
20 Sep 1999
Time:
17:40:36

Comments

I find the discussion on authority very interesting. However, I am curious about the reference to two sons. This seems to be used a lot in the Gospels and I am interested in what the feelings of a first century Jew might be to this; ‘Wait a minute! I thought Israel was the only son. Who is this other one?’

Israel (Not meaning to sound anti-Semitic) may have suffered from ‘only child syndrome;’ the feeling that ‘I,’ alone am inheriting the earth. The mention of another son would be like a bomb blast out of selfish, arrogant, spoiled complacency. ‘We are no longer the only ones but there is another with whom we have to share. Then, perhaps, the shock of realisation: ‘These, our brothers are the gentiles whom we have always despised.’ What is worse is that the inference of the Gospel is that these gentiles who have only accepted God’s word at this late stage, are the ones who seem to have got it right. ‘What about us?’ Israel asks? ‘We have been promising to be faithful for hundreds of years.’ That is Jesus’ point. When Christ came, the Gentiles responded straight away but Israel’s promises never materialised.

I hope to include something about inclusivity, though I may be barking up the wrong tree. Maybe there is something in the story about Caine and Abel. One kills the other out of jealousy. How was Israel responsible for killing the other son through its xenophobia? Are we, the chosen, unaware that there will always be other brothers both inside and outside the Church. (Please forgive the masculine language.). Do we have an argument concerning our own failure to accept others.

Who knows?

John UK


Date:
20 Sep 1999
Time:
19:35:36

Comments

Several lines of thought hit me from this text.

First, why do we think we need to take a stand on everything? Jesus could have given a simple answer. Instead, he avoided this. Maybe it's OK not to take a stand on some issues.

Second, it's not what you say but what you do that proves who you are. The faithful son was not the one who gave his father lip service, but the one who did what the father asked. It doesn't matter how many praise songs you sing if your life doesn't show it.

Third, the most surprising people are found in God's Kingdom: tax collectors and prostitutes. This should give us pause before we condemn anyone.

DR


Date:
21 Sep 1999
Time:
00:12:11

Comments

Someone in my congregation told me that it was very normal in the south to find people who "say yes, when they mean no" - what kind of hypocracy is that? We are living in a time when commentments, vows, promises mean very little. How are we to react to such a situation?

tom in ga


Date:
21 Sep 1999
Time:
01:42:36

Comments

HW in HI,

Amen! Thanks for saying what I've been thinking.........

Where are Nailbender, RevJan, RevKK, Kelly in Alberta etc???? Please join in again soon, we miss you!!

blessings, SueCan


Date:
21 Sep 1999
Time:
13:10:17

Comments

I'm wondering - for us, what does it mean to "go out & work in the vinyard" for Christ? How many ways can we describe it? Making churches available for healing ministries (AA,NA,PA etc)? Giving material support and energy to others in need of housing, food/clothing? Standing up to cruel humor/ hurtful "locker room "jokes, instead of laughing or remaining mute? Denying no one fellowship who comes seeking and searchin God? Creating positive, constructive places & opportunities for teens to be valued, needed, respected? Providing needed help to elders - rides, access to churches, visitaion? Building cooperation among and across denominations & even religions in our communities.... After all, if we look out the window, isn't the vinyard and the kingdon right there, all around, right now, just waiting for laborers? ...By jove, I think I've started a sermon....thanks all, jz in CT.


Date:
21 Sep 1999
Time:
13:39:56

Comments

Thanks, everyone, for getting me started on this text - it seems complex - authority or faithfulness? I think I will skip the authority stuff since this middle-sized church I have served for 10 years continues to behave like a small church when push comes to shove. Even with the "big bear" at my back, the matriarch and patriarch still reign supreme - faithful Christians whose fears limit the vision.

I am baptizing a child and receiving six new members so the parable seems relevant. Are we going to "walk the walk" or just "talk the talk"? It is easy to think of maintenance mode illustrations...what about others?

Last Sunday's parable about the workers in the vineyard really came alive for us as a church as we heard the latecomers saying "Go for it" and the "long termers" saying "we can't do it, people will leave..." Somehow I think there is a connection this week. Help me see it - I'm too caught up in disappointment and pity for the fearful.

Caroline in CT.


Date:
21 Sep 1999
Time:
15:15:27

Comments

I too have gone back and re-read the lectionary after reading the many comments. I see in both the Matthew and Philippians scriptures the lesson that the authority that we are under is the authority of a God of justice and equity. In the Matthew piece, neither son is worthy of salvation and yet it is not mankind, but God who will judge and judge with equity, mercy, and love. I have linked them with the alternate Psalm 99 and also with excerpts from Isaiah (Is. 5:1-7 and 42:1-9). Since we are under the authority of God (Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer)and followers of the Redeemer, we too are called to use our authority as children of God by being just, merciful, inclusive, and loving. Our God is an awesome God who turns the world's values and ways of living upside down. Our churches (the people of God) are called to do likewise. Not just give lipservice, but to be servants to all. To remember that we are all born as "original blessings" and treat one another with equity. No one is above the master - no one is more favored than another - in God's kingdom we are judged, but we are judged by a God who realizes our imperfections and asks us to believe in God's authority and serve as God in the flesh served - with justice, equity, mercy, and love. This also has something to say about how we conduct worship. Are we just going through the ritual, or are we truly worshiping our God whose mercy is beyond or comprehension, whose love is ever with and for us, who longs to have us as companions, who calls us not to judge but to act mercifully to a hurting world.


Date:
21 Sep 1999
Time:
18:22:07

Comments

Caroline in CT-

I can only respond from my own frame of reference. There are in my denom. many old-timers (actually in their 60's and 70's) who are what I call the stand-up generation. They will do about anything (for Christ), but at this point in their lives they've done a lot. Unfortunately, very few are coming up behind them that want to "stand up" too. Beyond this, those coming up would like to do things differently. We talk sometimes about doing church for the people who are already here and for the people who are not yet here. It's a stretch for us all. Our old-timers are people of deep faith, I wouldn't call them scribes and hypocrites. But they like the things of our church that, like them, have been around a while: the old hymns, old liturgy, etc. But I just want to say that for most of them, they would say, "I go, sir." and believe me, they would go!

For me I think this translates better to the individual than the group. When we agree or commit to something and then back out. Also, our local culture is one where, to save face for the other guy, one might agree to whatever that other wants, and then go and do exactly what one had in mind in the first place. One might even go as far as to agree to one's baptismal vows, and then go right back to one's old life.

All of which is to say: I have no idea where I'm going with this, just want to remember the goodness of the old stalwarts amongst us....

HW in Hi


Date:
21 Sep 1999
Time:
23:10:37

Comments

21 SEP 99 THere certainly is a lot of good in the "old" stalwarts (as HW in HI mentioned). One approach to last week's long-time laborers was to celebrate the contributions of the same. And I suppose, we could make some sort of application this week, aside from complainers and quarrelers (Exodus text) or those who "go back on their word." The "old timeres" have made great contributions, from building buildings to inviting/evangelizing. Loren Mead (Alban Institute) in a recent book and at a recent workshop spoke that truth and reminded us of the many contributions. And, he said, if we're to avoid "Financial meltdown..." (for instance, what he calls a crisis of faith as much as money)then we will need to CONTINUE to ask them to give. Of their time, expertise/experience and certainly financial resources (read, bequeaths/endowments). Now that's I've said it, it's more clear that I'm struggling this TUesday afternoon! I'll try to send it anyway ("submit" hasn't been working for me). blessings to all in this important work. Peter in CA


Comments

Based on most of the posts, I'm thinking I'm barking up the wrong tree here, but I'll share my thoughts anyway.

First, it seems to me that the "chief priests and elders" answered the question correctly, but somehow missed the point of the question.

To whom are the comparisons being made? Are the chief priests and elders "the son who said yes, but did not go", or "the son who said no, but did go"?

I postulate that Jesus correctly recognized that the chief priests and elders did, in fact, know the correct answers, but did not, in fact, go into the field to labor.

The reason, I take it, that Jesus indicates that the prostitutes and tax collectors will partake in the kingdom ahead of (not necessarily to the exclusion of, by the way) the chief priests and elders is that the prostitutes and tax collectors are the ones who gripe, but ultimately "toil in the field" of faith, while the chief priests and elders give lip service to laboring in the vineyard, but ultimately fail to perform.

As an aside, if we all try hard to keep our posts on topic, and in accord with the Guidelines, I suspect that our regulars and many more as well, will begin to post again.

Jim


Date:
22 Sep 1999
Time:
01:22:05

Comments

In regards to the question of authority it seems that Jesus might be suggesting that authority is directly related to obedience. Jesus' authority was (is) not just based in who he is, but in his obedience to God. The religious leaders claimed authority based in who they were but were "obviously" lacking the fruits of obedience. It goes to reason that we only have authority when we are faithful. It's a sobering consideration that if our life of faith has denegrated into a profession instead of a possession of faithfulness that we have no platform of authority from which to speak. Or, if we do not practice what we preach, then shut up! Too often we claim authority on historical experiences while the present is devoid of action. Is it possible that the newly repentant that know little but do what they know have more authority than those who know much but do little? It seems that Jesus issues a clear mandate to not just "talk the talk" but to "walk the walk"!

Sinbad Goose Creek, SC


Date:
22 Sep 1999
Time:
02:29:11

Comments

I am going to be mainly dealing in the Old Testament lection. ( I have been preaching in the Old Testament since Ordinary time began.) However, with the reflection that God sometimes helps us revisit some learning avenues in our lives, (the Israelites, constantly complain, when they struggle with their basic needs of bread and water, in the Exodus passage) It is my hope that I will never say no to God, or not do what God wants, but I would rather have rebelled first than say yes, and then not do what God wants.

Shalom

Pasthersyl


Date:
22 Sep 1999
Time:
02:49:16

Comments

To HW in HI I can truly relate to you and your congregation. The congregation I am with has an average age of 70. I am considered a very young pastor at 38. How do you see this old guard relationship work into this weeks scripture? Pastor Keith


Date:
22 Sep 1999
Time:
03:10:07

Comments

I can see how the second person in the parable could be some of the old guard of the church. Those who came to the church early in life, like the elders and chief priest. Those who came but never really worked in the vineyard. Those who were under the authority of Moses and not the authority of Almighty GOD himself. I can see where this could lead to encouraging those who have been burnt out in the vineyard to continue the work, and run the race to the finish. I see three points,(sorry I had a Baptist mentor)1)authority 2)repentance 3)obedience Pator Keith


Date:
22 Sep 1999
Time:
12:45:00

Comments

In RE to tom in ga: tom you said, "Someone in my congregation told me that it was very normal in the south to find people who "say yes, when they mean no" - what kind of hypocracy is that? We are living in a time when commentments, vows, promises mean very little. How are we to react to such a situation? "

I remember reading a few years ago about the difficulties that US plant managers had in operating Maqiladora plants in Mexico. These plants are set up with twin plants in the US to take "advantage" of cheep Mexican labor scales. The article listed logistical and telecommunication problems but what really caught my interest is the phenomenon that you mentioned above. It seems that the Mexican working class are culturally conditioned to never say no to their "betters."

US workers have no problem on average of telling a supervisor that his plan is flawed and wont work. We are used to the idea that we are all equal. This is not so on Mexico. The workers when asked to do something impossible just respond, "Si, Senor!" and either do their best to comply or just don't do it. This frustrated the supervisors to no end and lead to many companies pulling out of Mexico because they couldn't meet production schedules.

The culture of the south is no so far away from the culture of Mexico. Much of the South was in the plantation system up until the urbanization that occurred since the 50's. This is very similar to the hacienda system that still reigns in much of Mexico. Children are taught to never say no to the ones in charge because it angers them - better to say "Yes", "Tomorrow" or "Manana," and leave the failure or success of the work to the one in charge.

How that helps us to interpret Sunday's lection I don't know. I understand the parable of the two sons that the questioners condemned themselves out of their own mouths, ""The first." They answered Jesus' question knowing that they had said yes to God's call but refused to repent.

How to open this up to the present day Christians is our problem. It would not be good to identify any particular groups or individuals in the church as the second son - unless we acknowledge that we are all guilty of answering God's call with an affirmative that we don't carry out. I do remember years ago this being preached and the preacher asked the question if the second son was perhaps the clergy and the members of the church. It was a powerful message to me but I don't really have any idea how it affected the rest of the listeners. Did it change them?

It seems that Jesus is treating the authorities the same way the God did Pharaoh in Exodus, He is hardening their hearts so that they will turn on Him. They were called to repentance and refused so they must carry on in the old way and sacrifice the Lamb. We, ministers of the Gospel, have a different job - we are supposed to soften hearts so that the Good News can take root.

The people in our congregations are Christians, many of who have come kicking and screaming into the Church. I said, "No! No way I'm going to do that !" in response to the call to enter the Church - in response to the call to ministry - in response to serve a particular parish. And guess what, I'm in the Church, in ministry and I have been serving that congregation for 2+ years now. God is good. The divine wisdom of providence knows that I am at heart a goat and not a sheep and so lets me think that it is my idea and not that I am following. At my age I can see that clearly in retrospect.

Like any body of people the parish that I serve has divisions and it's only been in existence for a couple of years. We have no old guard as is commonly thought of in the church. We have a contingent of older people who have retired to the area and have no real ties to the community. The group that is contra to this one is made up of young couples with children and for the most part natives. The two groups have different ideas as to how we should parse our limited resources. In a sense both are old guard and both are new comers. My job is to try to help them find the common ground that they have in Christ Jesus and not to encourage the division. Any ideas as to how to preach this message in light of the Gospel?

Thanks - Deke in Texas - Pax et Bonem


Date:
22 Sep 1999
Time:
17:49:08

Comments

Pastor Keith-

You asked how I might address the elders of my congregation, given the scripture. I don't know yet! I am thinking about the tendancy for some of us to want to look/seem appropriate, but have nothing to back it up. Go to church and look like a Christian, but not act like one. The problem is, that older group looks like the high-priced spread (as the old margaine ads used to say) -- because they are, by and large.

Perhaps I can talk about people who don't so much look like the church-goers of days past, but do in fact follow Christ. Those folk make the tradition-minded group uncomfortable. They don't look the same, some don't even (gasp) dress up much for church. But check out what they do! (They'll know we are Christians by our love!)

Still mulling, thanks for asking!

HW in HI


Date:
22 Sep 1999
Time:
18:46:34

Comments

I see such passages as this one from Mathew as a series of sayings of Jesus, linked because each one reminded Matthew of the next. But In this case there is a link of logic: Authority in a leader demands obedience in follower. We can concentrate on the authority aspect or on the obedience aspect. In passsges just prior to this one Matthew established that Jesus gave the Church authority: "whatsoever you shall bind on earth..." So I believe he (and Jesus) want to place emphasis here on obedience -- our obedience -- to the God's authority as excercised in the Church when church leaders ask us to help the Lord in His work of spreading the Kingdom. So I am going to preach about answering the call when we are asked to join the choir, to teach Sunday school, to share our faith with catechumens, etc., etc., etc. By coming to church on Sunday and participating in litugy we say, "Yes" to our Father's call; but when we don't follow through with action we disobey Him. That is rather frightening, when you think of it.


Date:
22 Sep 1999
Time:
18:47:23

Comments

Sorry, the above post was from Joe from Maine


Date:
22 Sep 1999
Time:
18:49:03

Comments

I probably won’t pursue this line in my sermon, but I thought I might encourage some of my brethren and sistern to live dangerously. What about a sermon “In Praise of Prostitutes”? You could focus on Jesus tendency to reverse the religious world’s expectations and reveal the “bad guys” to be the real “good guys,” and “the good guys” to be the real “bad guys.” Hey, prostitutes are entering the kingdom of heaven ahead of those devout religious types?!

I’ll even throw in a story to sweeten the deal. This is an “urban legend” from Jan Harold Brunvand’s The Baby Train:

About 25 long-haired, dirty, dangerous-looking bikers and their women barge into the store, buying truckloads of beer, whiskey, soda, bread, baloney, etc.

The storekeeper is terrified the whole time that they’re in his store, but when several clean-cut young jock-types come in, the owner calms down a bit, figuring these all-American youths will protect him from the biker trash.

The bikers pay for their stuff and leave. The storekeeper turns to the college boys and says, “Wow! I’m sure glad they’re gone!”

The college kids all holler, “Yeah, so are we!” and they pull out guns, stick up the store, taking all the money that the bikers had just spent.

DR


Date:
22 Sep 1999
Time:
18:49:10

Comments

Sorry, the above post was from Joe from Maine


Date:
22 Sep 1999
Time:
19:12:08

Comments

I think that 'working in the vineyard' is something I would want to further define. What does it mean? I can't help but think that the Pharisees and Sadducees considered themselves vineyard laborers. Keeping the law. Being righteous (on their own). But Jesus came along and redefined it. And I believe obedience is central. Do the will of the Father!

The will of the Father is to make the good news of Christ known to the world. It's why there was an incarnation. It's what empowered the apostles and disciples. It was an obedient response to God's marching orders. Today, we get caught up in a different sort of proclamation. It's a right's proclamation. Women's rights, homosexual rights, immigrant rights, minority rights, equal rights, etc.

Yet Christ asks us to give up our 'rights' and submit to His Holy Spirit. A Holy Spirit that prompts us to do the will of the Father. The will of the Father is to make His Son known.

What are we laboring on? What is our focus? We need to stand for injustices, we need to feed the poor, we need to protect the meek, we need to right wrongs, but if we do so without making the Son known, without proclaiming the Gospel, are we fruifully laboring in the vineyard? Or have we said yes to God without obeying Him?

SermonIllustrations.com provided the following commentary I believe to be relevant:

Although the context applies this parable of judgement [i.e. The Parable of the Two Sons] to Jewish religious leaders. Matthew probably intended a wider application as well. Christians too can become blind to what God is doing in the world around them. How easily "church work" degenerates into little more than simply maintaining the institution, with no excitement concerning what God's active grace is doing and consequently no enthusiasm for evangelism and renewal! We say that we are going to work in the vineyard, but instead of harvesting the grapes we spend our time rearranging the stones along the path!

Douglas R. A. Hare, Interpretation: Matthew, John Knox, 1993, p. 248.

Good works, in my view, wiithout the proclamation of the Gospel found only in Christ, is analogous to rearranging the stones on the path. Someone can live their entire life doing good works, and we would applaud that person, but if she hasn't accepted Christ as her Savior, if she hasn't reconciled to God the Father through God the Son by God the Holy Spirit, those good works mean nothing.

Preach the Word, proclaim the Good News, bear the fruit of the Spirit, and do the will of the Father.

Make the Son known!

Rick in Va


Date:
22 Sep 1999
Time:
20:02:44

Comments

I have been doing a series on Being the Church:.______. This week I think I will put Following Faithfully in the blank.

I too am looking at the connection between authority and obedience. I'm kinda' thinking that "Hypocrisy weakens credibility". We can say we will do whatever, until we are blue in the face, but if it does not bear fruit, then we are not faithful to our confession.

You can use this for groups such as the "old guard" if you want. We should expect more from the "elders" in faith. I think, though, that it should speak to all of us as we continue to seek to be faithful followers. How can each of us be more obedient in our walk?

We need to remember in all our discussions and debates where our authority comes from, whether ordained or not. We also need to focus on our obedience to Christ as we wish our children to be obedient to us.

Prophet in NY


Date:
23 Sep 1999
Time:
01:33:11

Comments

It used to be, in Canada, that the leaders of the churches had access to the Prime Minister and were considered people with powerful consituents and a certain amount of wisdom to lend to the issues of the day. This is no longer so.

On his way to a national crisis, several years ago, the leader of my denomination, when asked what he thought he would accomplish at the site, commented that he had no power, only authority. He bore within his being and his office an unquestionable Authority. He could not change what civil "authorities" were doing. But his presence was a clear message that another Authority was witnessing the events and in the midst of them. And I think there was power in that.

We're having Baptism too. In our tradition the congregation vows to aid the parents in their vows and to surround the family with a faithful and loving community. Yet, often the need for adult involvement with youth is outstanding. The parable speaks to vow-making, for us this week.

Just Musing in Ontario


Date:
23 Sep 1999
Time:
02:06:45

Comments

I seem to be missing the point of the two sons. I do not believe that it was intended to single out folks into "old guard" and "newbies." Ther are times in my life when I will say "yes" and fail miserably. I get distracted, I forget, I lack the commitment to follow through and when I realize that, I feel remorse. Ther are other times when I say "No" but God does not let me off the hook. A haunting in my soul tells me that I have been called and sooner or later I need to show up in the vineyard. The acknowlege this is to encounter wher I am at the moment in my spiritual walk.

Another thought- Are there some things that we are to consider but not actualy do? I care about many things but cannot participate in all of them. Perhaps this is the remind me to pay attention to what stays in my heart, even after I have said "no."

AW-G rocky coast of Me


Date:
23 Sep 1999
Time:
03:10:13

Comments

From SP,Melbourne.Aus I forget whose posting suggeted that the epilogue section of the reading (vv.31b-32) is perhaps separate or unrelated to the rest. I would respectfully disagree. "Jesus said to them, Truly I..." is a driect response to the answer the hearers of the parable give to Jesus' question about it. I in fact think that these verses give us the vital clue to how Matthew is constructing the narrative and its point. I think that while questions of authority, faithfulness and "talk Vs.walk" appear in this lection, the main points is something different: the call to repent and believe. I agree with Caroline CT that the main picture here is one in which the pharisees are exposed as those who know and can see exactly by whose authority John was speaking, and consequently who know the answer to the question which they ask Jesus:"By whose authority do you do these things?". The problem is that they have too much at stake in their own authority (presumed and spurious)and in their own control of the religious institution. They have to to lose everything in order to receive the kingdom. They have to let go of their own righteousness in order to hear John's "way of righteousness" but they cannot (like the first son in the parable - who intially says "No"). Neither can they, as they are now confronted with Jesus' teaching, change their minds and their attitudes and repent, even though they now know and see the truth. They are also like the second son who pretends: who hears and chooses to ignore, who keeps up the appearance of obedience but whose actions are false (like the phairisee's religious practices). As usual, Jesus has turned the pharisees' man-trap into a call to repentance. The way is still open for them to take up the option of the first son and obey after all: to hear and repent. The tax collectors and prostitutes are going into the kingdom ahead of the religious elite because they have heard and repented and believed. Hence in verse 31 Jesus works them round to the only possible answer to his question: that it's the first son who is obedient to his father's will. Here is the hook - the invitation - the message we find Jesus preaching and teaching so many different forms: "the kingdom is here, repent and believe the Gospel". Application? Many are those who have too much at stake to hear the call to repent and believe. They can sometimes even sheltre in the religious institutions, since here they keep up pious appearances: give lip-service to God's will but never really obey. Blessed are those on the other hand who come to the point of humble and honest facing of the truth: that they have nothing - that they are sinners in need of God's mercy. For they will receive it!


Date:
23 Sep 1999
Time:
12:42:57

Comments

From Deke of the North

I like what AW- G is saying and I think that it ties in with the O.T. lesson so well. The people journeyed and when trouble arose they forgot their source of "authority" and grumbled (read: nodded "yes, yes" but did nothing) and once again God, their gracious God, graced them. (Sorry, but my train of thought just got interrupted and I got left at the station as to where I was going with this thought. I'll try to catch the next one.)


Date:
23 Sep 1999
Time:
12:49:50

Comments

John's message was repentance and reform - That is what we are asked to do. the first son said, "Yes!" and did nothing, the second son said, "No!". Later the second son had second thoughts and repented and reformed his/her life by the grace of God. We can go round and round discussion who might be the first and the second sons in our world view. As a Catholic I don't know if people in the other branches of Christianity talk of this) I have heard over and over again as to how converts are the best Catholics. They put the "cradle Catholics" to shame with their fervent devotion and faithful worship. Something snapped in them and they gave up their former beliefs to make a radical change to life. This is true of all converts no matter which direction they choose to go. Former Catholics who have made a move of faith to other denominations are caught up in the energy of the conversion. Something spoke to them strongly enough that they gave up the comfortable life of what they knew. Converts, on a whole, have begun the exodus and left the fleshpots of life to enter the desert of freedom

The scribes and Pharisees have given their whole lives over to their view of God - they have too much invested to throw it out with some silly notion of radical reform. They are locked into an old dry wineskin of a belief system that answers all their questions and they guard against the chance of a new fermentation - they know that the result will be to burst all that they have come to treasure. This kind of non-thinking makes them no different then the rank materialist who guards his wealth in guarded storehouses against thieves. Both think, "This is all mine. I earned it and it will serve me well in my old age."

The thieves, prostitutes and publicans have no treasures in their store houses - not spiritually or materially. To quote Kris Kristoffersen's (sp) song, "Me and Bobby McGee," "Freedom's just another word for when you have nothing left to lose." They know that they have nothing and are lost. They said no to God, They said no to the world and for the most part are living day to day - hand to mouth - truely "living in the now" when along comes John and then Jesus. These people are the ripe fig ready to fall into the hand of the hand of God.

On the discussion site there is a link form Rick in Va titled, "ArchBishop decries 'Anything Goes' Theology" This will take you to an E-zine named, "Virtuosity Digest" which has a very nice article about Cassie Bernal the martyr of Columbine High School.

This young lady was caught up in a cult of death. She, "Cassie traded vampires and "death rock" for poetry and photography." After saying no to the life of Christ Cassie with the help of her parents and the grace of God answered, Yes!" to life in Christ. From that point her life was filled with opportunities to say, "Yes!" to God and life so that when the time came and she was faced with the most important moment of her life - the most important question for her to answer - in the fullness of time for Cassie Bernal - she said, "Yes!" laying down her life for the life of the one she loves, Jesus Christ.

"By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?" That's the question that started this whole teaching. Jesus drew His authority from the real authority - the Father of us all. We draw ours from Jesus, not the authority of powerful men and women - but from the crucified one. In Cassis's death to life choice there is a witness to us. She trusted in God and her Faith in Him is a testimony to those of us left behind.

Deke in Texas - Pax et Bonem


Date:
23 Sep 1999
Time:
14:37:07

Comments

The question I am left with in this passage is "Why were tax collectors and prostitutes attracted to Christ?" and "Why were the chief priests and elders rejected?" It seems the answer to the first question is that Christ loved and accepted them as they were....sinners. Also, the tax collectors and prostitudes saw their need for Christ. Christ never moralized or condemned the sinner but always loved them as they were. Somehow by being loved and accepted, the sinner experienced enlightenment and the need to change behavior....unconditional love preceeds moral change.

On the other hand, the chief priests and elders were self sufficient and saw no need for Christ. Their self righteousness blinded them. The frightening thing for pastors and church leaders is that it is not much of a step from being zealous for Christ and one's religious principles to becoming a judgemental chief priest or elder. Christ is the refuge of sinners, I am not sure the same can be said of Christ's church....do sinners feel welcomed or shunned? Are they loved unconditional or loved only when they morally "earn" it. Henry


Date:
23 Sep 1999
Time:
15:27:50

Comments

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ and colleagues in the vineyard:

I want to let you know that all your "preaching" and "probing" this week has saved one sinner - me!

You are right - the whole text is about authority, repentance, and obedience (thanks, Pator Keith!).

Here are a few little tidbits that came to me as I was writing my sermon - first draft:

re. authority - The chief priests and elders are stuck in a hard place when Jesus asks, "Was John baptizing on God's authority and his own?" Sort of like George W. Bush regarding the questions about whether he used cocaine - they will be judged if they answer and judged if they don't. So they refuse to answer "We're not going there!" in today's parlance. Jesus refuses to answer to - a stand off in the temple.

But Jesus does not leave it there. You see Jesus believed in utlizing conflict. He was not a "harmony at all costs" kind of leader. Then he tells the parable...and with the answer "The first" Jesus goes for the jugular by judging the chief priests and elders.

In baptism as some of you have said, we are given authority to be "little Christs" in the world. Are we doing it or just feeling good with all that water running down our necks?

For the three adult confirmands, I am looking at the question of repentance - that's the first question my tradition asks them. Will you renounce, reject, and repent? The first son did that - Jesus does not have to dwell upon it since it is in the context of the conversation about John the Baptist who had a very simple message, "Repent of your sin".

Then re. obedience is that question about supporting the congregation with prayers, presence, gifts and service...and the proof is in the pudding - like the second son who said "I will" so loudly but did nothing.

The place I am ending my sermon with is my own confession of not being able to figure out which "son" I am. Am I the naysayer that ends up dong the will of God or am I the proud proclaimer who talks the talk but does not walk the walk. I declare that the place of my own spiritual doubt and growing edge. Will the epithet on my tombstone read, "She preached a good line, but she couldn't walk it."

What will yours read, "He walked better than he talked." Or "She meant well but..."

I close with a prayer of confession regarding both types of responses to the "Father's" invitation.

Grace and Peace, Caroline from CT,USA

(Sorry I have been so ethnocentric in this global village!)


Date:
23 Sep 1999
Time:
15:38:01

Comments

Henry,

You write with wisdom.

I would like to add this.

How big a step is it, while on the subject of small steps, from loving a person unconditionally and with full aceptance, to loving and unconditionally accepting behavior that grieves the heart of God?

This week's text points out behavior that one could easily argue grieves God's heart. The behavior of the Jewish leaders. And Jesus rebuked them with the parable.

So, it is a tight-rope that the Church walks. But how easy is it for one wounded by a much needed rebuke to claim victimhood and blame the rebuker, so that the behavior being rebuked can continue? Especially in today's culture of "victim's rights" and one's perceived 'right' to behave however one chooses to?

Rick in Va


Date:
23 Sep 1999
Time:
16:23:47

Comments

On the YES and NO:

You may find this quote helpful, it is from Frederick Buechner: The Return of Ansel Gibbs, 1957. I certainly treasure the passage.

We come in as the priest, preacher and teacher of theology enters General Seminary. "... it had been his intention to preach on the Genesis account of the call of Abraham, on the commitment of faith as it concerned the young divinity students who had crowded into the chapel in their black gowns to hear him. But, as usual, he had found himself leaving his outline so frequently that at last he had left it altogether and stood there with his hands trembling on the heavy leather bible, his voice now almost inaudibly low, now strident, saying. "If anybody starts talking to me about religious commitment, I may listen politely, but what I'd like to answer him with is a few monosyllables that don't bear repeating here in the midst of the holy community. If you tell me Christian commitment is a thing that has happened to you once and for all like some kind of spiritual plastic surgery, I say go to, go to, you're either pulling the wool over your own eyes or trying to pull it over mine. Every morning you should wake up in your beds and ask yourself: 'Can I believe it all again today?' No, better still, don't ask it till after you've read The New York Times, till after you've studied that daily record of the world's brokenness and corruption, which should always stand side by side with your Bible. Then ask yourself if you can believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ again for that particular day. If your answer's alway Yes, then you probably don't know what believing means. At least five times out of ten the answer should be No because the No is as important as the Yes, maybe more so. The No is what proves you're human [orig.: a real man] in case you should ever doubt it. And then, if some morning the answer happens to be really Yes, it should be a Yes that's choked with confession and tears and ... great laughter. Not a beatific smile, but the laughter of wonderful incredulity."

DW, London, UK


Date:
23 Sep 1999
Time:
18:15:03

Comments

To Just Musing in Ontario: I realy like your illustration of the leader of your denomination. I would like to use it in my sermon and would like to use the name of the leader since I am sure people in my congregation would recognize it. Can you supply it please. Thank you. LGB from Sk and AB


Date:
23 Sep 1999
Time:
19:54:35

Comments

Several contributors mentioned having baptisms this Sunday and the fact that the memnbers of the congregation take a vow, even raise hands, to promise to support, nuirture, teach, etc. the child/family in the Chrisitan faith. What a PERFECT illustration of saying "YES" ( I cannot imagine too many saying no at a time like that). The question becomes- do we and how do we follow through with our nurture, teaching, support, etc. for those families or individuals being baptised? Wish we had a baptism Sunday---come to think of it, think I'll use the illustration, anyway. ruth in nc


Date:
24 Sep 1999
Time:
05:02:25

Comments

I just want to say thanks for all your shared wisdom. I will be preaching about "do we do the will of God". This is in the context of a religious culture where many say "if my 'needs' are not met than I am out of this church", rather than what does God want me to do? We have recently lost two families whose "needs" weren't being met and gained two over the same issue- Contemporary worship. Pray I get some wisdom.

Fred in AZ.


Date:
24 Sep 1999
Time:
07:32:32

Comments

Thanks for all your insights this week! It's good to be back after several weeks' hiatus. I just had a flash while reading your comments. Jesus isn't really avoiding the answer to the chief priests' & elders' question. After all, he comes right back at them with a story that clearly targeted them as God's Bad Boys! They get the answer they deserve, because their question isn't asked out of sincere desire to know the truth. They're trying to trap Jesus, put him in an impossible situation. So he turns the tables on them! It reminds me of Star Trek II, and the story of how James T. Kirk deals with a test simulation while in Starfleet Academy which has no solution. It's impossible to escape successfully from the simulated crisis. This isn't acceptable to James T. Kirk. He breaks into the computer simulator and programs new rules! This is what Jesus does! He refuses to play by human rules, and confronts the Jewish leaders with the true question of authority! By so doing, he turns the tables on them, putting them into the impossible situation. This is what Jesus confronts us with in our lives. Dealt an impossible hand by the world, what will we choose? Our own puny 'human' authorities, or God's way out? Ken in WV


Date:
24 Sep 1999
Time:
13:19:52

Comments

Hi, from Michelle in VT I have never responded in this forum before; but I would like to thank all those who have gotten my creative juices going in the past.

Regarding this passage--I am very curious about why the second son changes his mind--I think that that is the interesting place in this passage--why do the tax collectors/prostitutes change their minds but the pharisees don't--and if we throw in the authority issue--why doesn't Jesus have 'authority' for the pharisees--I think it is about relationship. When you do not have a relationship with someone--its easy to say no (or to say yes, and do nothing) But if you are in relationship with someone--and that someone asks something of you, we are more inclined to say yes--out of love, out of responsibility--we want to respond to the ones we love. Discipleship cannot be demanded from those who do not have a relationship with God--but as people develop a relationship and come to understand that God loves them--outrageously!, then when God asks for them to labor in the vinyard--they are more and more going to respond yes. Just a few thoughts. What do you think--will it work? Michelle in VT


Date:
24 Sep 1999
Time:
13:56:04

Comments

It has always struck me that the beginning of this passage is crucial to its unerstanding: Jesus is TEACHING in the temple! This says a lot about the dialogue that follows - the chief priests and elders ask a question, not to learn, but to trap Jesus. True learning requires an openness to change, the possibility of repentance. Do we sometimes play "entrapment games" in the church, seeking political victory rather than understanding? With the infighting that goes on in church, I think we are one step removed from the commentary by Doug Hare quoted above. Sometimes we not only don't go to labor in the vineyard, we spend most of our time fighting about HOW the stones should be laid for the path!! Such a perspective also hampers our ability to be obedient to Christ's authority, because we are focused on our own authority and power struggles. I agree with Caroline above, Jesus uses the conflict itself as a lesson - and the parable is the teaching device as well, in part about communication and how we try to "get away" with things. Thanks for all the great contributions this week, folks - this site has improved my preaching and has been an ongoing blessing!

Shalom, Bo in KY


Date:
24 Sep 1999
Time:
17:33:52

Comments

Michelle in VT what a neat first contirbution! "Discipleship cannot be demanded from those who do not have a relationship with God--but as people develop a relationship and come to understand that God loves them--outrageously!, then when God asks for them to labor in the vinyard--they are more and more going to respond yes." The relationship with Jesus that is simmering beneath the surface for the scribes and pharisees is one of entrapment. For the tax collectors and prostitutes it is a relationship of love in which they are accepted as valued children of God in spite of their sin. When relationship with our Lord and with God becomes the issue, rather than legality and adherence to correct doctrine, we become open to returning the love of a loving relationship and our behavior changes. We return love. We move toward the one who loves us unconditionally and away from that which offends the one who loves us. Thank you Michelle for reminding me. FloridaRon


Date:
24 Sep 1999
Time:
22:36:28

Comments

What gets me about this story is the way the father addressed the two sons - he called each one Son (or in the version I read 'My boy'. I realise that this story challenges us to hear and do the will of God yet it also says something, albeit indirectly, about the attitude of the Father to us when we do not follow his will. As christians we recognise ourselves in each son and we rejoice all the same in the Father's unconditional love whether we do his will or not? Whatever we do the Father will love and forgive us and not allow us to separate ourselves from him. Perhaps this is another aspect of this passage; a passage not altogether different from the prodigal son and the loving Father.


Date:
25 Sep 1999
Time:
05:50:24

Comments

Thank you all for your contributions, I appreciate the opportunity to 'hear' from colleagues in ministry I would not normally meet here in Aust. I make my first contribution with some trepidation and quite close to Sunday (here anyway)and beg the indulgence of others involved in this discussion group. I have noted the concentration around the replies of the two sons and their respective willingness to work in the vineyard, and was particularly sparked by the connection of the two sons with Israel and the Gentiles. I have been searching for some word of hope for those of us who reply 'yes' and do little or none of what we say yes to, and find it in last week's lectionary - the owner of the vineyard comes again and again to the marketplace, looking for people who will say 'yes' and do 'yes'. The call is repeated time and time again until the very last hour.

James in Victoria


Date:
25 Sep 1999
Time:
06:52:31

Comments

In my previous life as a computer programmer (yes Virignia, the Pastor did have a life before getting those funny shirts and reading all those theology books) I remeber an older guy who had two signs on the wall of his office. #1 -- If you want loyalty, buy a dog. #2 -- When its all said and done, more will be said than done.

To the second one someone had added in pencil "And if it works the managers will take credit, And if it doesn't the workers will get canned."

I thought of those signs and the general way that the world works as the two sons in the vineyard are still with us both in the work world and in the Church.

How often do people sign up to do things and not show, especially if it is going door to door in the neighborhood? And how often is the Pastor's week interrupted by a non-member who seeks guidance or councel? Or I think of the times that people appear out of blue when we have a need.

My greatest assurnce in life is that God really does keep track of the do-ers and the say-ers.

And yet as I type I begin to think to myself -- who are the ones who miss out hte most in life those who say and do not do since they must live with the lie and keep up the false impression while never really getting to enjoy the labors and rewards of the kingdom. Perhaps the self-told lie is hell and the unsaid unproclaimed act of service and mercy heaven on earth?

James in San Diego.


Date:
25 Sep 1999
Time:
15:18:23

Comments

Thanks to all, I am done! It was really good to read the remarks of the new contributors and the old stalwarts.

To bother Deke of the North, I hope you found a new train to bosrd. It seemed that you were on a good track. Maybe the Holy Spirit sidetracked you to a glory bound train.


Date:
25 Sep 1999
Time:
15:20:08

Comments

That's bRother Deke of the North - Sorry - Deke in Texas -- Pax et Bonem


Date:
25 Sep 1999
Time:
20:59:17

Comments

thanks to michelle - i have been in so much thought lately on how to reach people who are not going to come into a church. should we try throwing some money changing tables around? are my eys open to where the vineyard even is?

thanks and blessings to all. rachel


Date:
25 Sep 1999
Time:
22:41:31

Comments

this text reminds me of the axiom that I have learned over the years: those who say they have...don't

richard cambridge, ill


Date:
25 Sep 1999
Time:
22:42:45

Comments

oops,,should read...those who say they have it..don't lol richard (blushing)


Date:
26 Sep 1999
Time:
00:02:09

Comments

TO: DW, LONDON, UK

Thanks for the quote from Buechner's long-forgotten book. It made my sermon. We forget that the authority for saying, even without doing, or saying and doing, both of which is the fact of our human nature, all falls within the bounds of the authority of "Grace." So that none of us can boast, except in the authoritative grace of God. David, TX