Date: 25 Sep 2002
Time: 19:02:57

Comment

It is world wide communion sunday... Nancy-wi


Date: 26 Sep 2002
Time: 13:23:27

Comment

Nancy,

Thank you for the reminder. World Communion Sunday, as our country (USA) prepares to go to war, is a preachable moment, don't you think?

TB in MN


Date: 28 Sep 2002
Time: 09:04:52

Comment

Does our USA need a prophet today? A person who will speak a word of peace to those who only want violence. A person who will say the truth in love and announce the futility of war as a way to solve our problems. When will we ever learn.... How can we ministers help to announce the fruit of the Kngdom like Jesus when so many want to be quiet and let war go on? Who will listen? Who will speak? Pax Christi


Date: 29 Sep 2002
Time: 12:43:06

Comment

We had St. Michael and all angels in our congregation last Sunday, so dealt with our desire to be the same as God. I used a story that would also work with this text, for the tenants want to be the owners, so I'll share it with you, I can't use it again (at least not two weeks in a row).

A group of scientists decided it was time for God to take a vacation, because science could do everything that God could do, and after all those millennia, the scientists thought God should rest for a while. (Maybe they forgot that God also invented the Sabboth.) So they chose one of their number to go before God with their proposal. The scientist laid it all out, and challenged God to come up with something, anything the scientist couldn’t do just as well as God.

First of all, God make it rather easy, gathering together a cloud to shower rain upon the earth. The scientist got into an airplane with a bunch of chemicals, spread them into the atmosphere, and sure enough, it rained. Then God caused a seed to sprout and grow before the eyes of the scientist. The scientist donned a smirk, and with special fertilizers and lights, did the same. Finally, God gathered together some dirt from the ground, formed it into a new being, and breathed life into it. Really smug now, the scientist began to do the same, but God said, “You’ve used my creation enough for your other demonstrations, that’s the dirt I created. You get your own.”

Michelle


Date: 29 Sep 2002
Time: 12:47:00

Comment

The word “Gethsemane” means winepress, does anyone think this parable is a deliberate reference to Jesus arrest in the garden?

Pr.del in IA


Date: 29 Sep 2002
Time: 13:48:28

Comment

World Communion Sunday... Rodney King is famous for his words, "Can't we all just get along!" I shared this story with my people on Sunday... Seems appropriate for World Communion Sunday.

My wife and I have some good friends, they have three boys... 7, 5 and 6 mos. We went to supper with them last night at Culvers... hamburger shop.... the 5 year old, "out of the blue - for no apparent reason", punched his brother in the stomach... when his dad said, "Son, why did you do that?" He responded... "Well, HE WAS going to HIT ME!"... I walked away from that thinking... "Isn't that what our President has been telling us about Sadam? Only he couches it with "ADULT" words like "Pre-emptive strike!" It sounds so childish when you hear it from a child. I wonder if he's been listening to too much CNN.

pulpitt in ND


Date: 29 Sep 2002
Time: 14:00:42

Comment

Yes Pulpitt in ND I think that is what the preseident is doing. I told my congregation last weekend that since I believed in Jesus I felt I needed to do something for peace. I have written to the President and asked him to prayerfully reflect on the seriousness of his action. I have been praying for this man too. Infact I find myself praying more for world leaders than ever before. Perhaps God will make the difference and innocent lives will be spared. May we all work for peace and justice helping to bring about the reign of God in our lives. Pax Christi


Date: 29 Sep 2002
Time: 14:04:07

Comment

Imagine all the good we could do with the money we'll spend if we DO go to war. Did I hear, it will be $1 Billion Dollars a day for the cost of the bombs, fuel, man/woman power?

Anyone know if my "facts" are correct on how to much we'll spend at "WAR" with Sadam?

Not to mention the lives we'll lose. What would happen if we spent ALL THAT MONEY ON FOOD, or SHELTER, or holding dialogue between nation and religious understandings? What would the world look like on this Communion Sunday if we tried that for a month or even a week first! I'd rather waste money on preserving life than sacrificing innocent Children, Men and Women.

One of my college youth commented how... "It's the old people that want war, while WE are the ones that have to FIGHT IT!" I've heard that before too... what would happen if we sent all the HAWKS in Congress to WAR? Wonder if that would make a difference...

blessings...

pulpitt in ND


Date: 29 Sep 2002
Time: 19:45:12

Comment

OK, OK, I know it is only Sunday night but I have no idea how to sqeeze the good news from this passage on World Communion Sunday. I want this Sunday to be a big day as my tiny little "dying" (according to some reports) congregation is in a way a mircocosm of the world. On Sunday mornings we can have six nationalities represented (with only 45-50 people present) and in the evening service, which is in Spanish, we can have as many, though we number only 12-20. I can't find the heart of this passage in this context. Give me some leads if you can think of them.

Avis in KY


Date: 30 Sep 2002
Time: 04:13:02

Comment

"World Communion Sunday" is not on the Episcopal Church calendar, but I usually make reference to the event when it happens.

I do so in the context of other lessons -- our parish patron is St. Francis of Assisi, who's feast day is Oct. 4. So we celebrate "St. Francis Sunday" on the first Sunday of October and use the propers of his feast day. The assigned lessons in our lectionary are Galatians 6:14-18, Matthew 11:25-30 and Psalm 121, to which we had a lesson from the Hebrew Scriptures, Micah 6:6-8 (which seems so appropriate for Francis).

Anyway, I won't have much to offer to this week's discussion since I'll be working with different lessons.

By the way, my "serious sermon" on ageing humans and ageless angels was disrupted by a surprise birthday event instigated by my wife and daughter. The congregation threw 50 "smiley face" yellow balls at me as I began preaching! So much for Anglican decorum....

Blessings, Eric in KS


Date: 30 Sep 2002
Time: 07:54:15

Comment

Here's my World Communion Sunday tie-in:

Jesus show that the kingdom belongs to those who produce the fruits of the kingdom. God's true followers are united by Christ and united in seeking to produce the fruit of the kingdom.

Mouthy Preacher


Date: 30 Sep 2002
Time: 08:26:04

Comment

Eric in KS, I feel a dangerous pin-prick in my World Wide Communion Sunday baloon if its not on your calendar.

Im thinking of talking about being "unseated" as Paul was, as tenents eventually shall be, as we as a nation must be unseated from our high horse if we are to be faithful.

A vision of God's demand for our faithfulness must make us a bit uncomfortable with the places of arrogance. Qs


Date: 30 Sep 2002
Time: 08:41:01

Comment

With a majority of my congregation conservative, Republican knee-jerk anti liberal, I am debating the wisdom of a World Communion Sunday message keyed on our pres's political warmongering. I have seen the faces close down when I am at all critical of the current administration, particularly when I am promoting peace. However, if my small voice isn't raised, how ca I tell another disciple to stand firm for Jesus. I just had my secretary change the sign out fromt to: "World Communion Sunday - Pray for Peace" Maybe the Bushites will stay home <g>. Pastor Rick in FL.


Date: 30 Sep 2002
Time: 09:56:08

Comment

Pastor Rick, You appear to be in a place for possible growth if you are open to it. I have found that my preaching does very little to change the congergation and the impact is usually on me when I'm honest with myself. It appears that those who benifit most from the freedoms that we have in the USA are those that least want to protect it. I am struck by the fact that those most opposed to war are those that promote the "right" of a woman to kill an unborn child. We will not raise our voice or our hand to stop the killing of the most inocent. But when it comes time to go after the evil people in the world people can't handle killing. The land owner kept sending people to try to reason with evil people, but there was no reasoning to be had. It comes down to finally kicking them out of the vineyard. We have a God fearing president, not a perfect president. The only time there has been peace it has come through strength, not weakness. History tells us that we make friends of our enemies because of our strength and compassion. BT IND


Date: 30 Sep 2002
Time: 10:36:31

Comment

I posted the following on the Isaiah page, but many of you won't be using that text, and there is very little commentary on that page. However, I wanted to share it with you all as well.

Wow. I've read Isaiah 5:1-7 before, but always before it has been in the context of the failure of Israel to be God's people.

Today, I see it as our failure to be God's people. It's so easy to point the finger of blame at others, but not so easy to see it in ourselves.

On the other hand...

Maybe we need to remember that we are not the first generation of vines planted in good soil. We are the inheritors of the wild grapes. We live in a world overgrown with briers (briars?) and thorns.

Pure justice is not possible in this world of thorns and drought. We can work for justice as far as we are able, but we can not obtain it on our own, and probably will not until all creation is renewed in the resurrection.

Bloodshed, sometimes our own, spread out on the ground of an unjust world... and God sees it.

Michelle


Date: 30 Sep 2002
Time: 17:10:30

Comment

Hey Michelle and others, The Isaiah passage relates directly to this passage in Matthew. Jesus is essentially telling the same story from Isaiah, but in his own context and with his own insights. The people listening, the Pharisees and religious leaders especially would be familiar with the language Jesus uses in this parable...a vineyard, a watchtower, leased to others.....what was given in return was not justice, but bloodshed (killing the servants and son) not righteousness but a cry (a cry of the oppressed with whom the tenants would not share their produce)

BT IND I must disagree that peace comes in our strength, for as Christians we are called to be weak and foolish especially in the eyes of the world. Peace comes not when we keep the vineyard to ourselves...that only causes war..because we want to stop anyone from trying to take it from us...peace comes when we give our produce away...trusting God that we are not the owners of the world in the first place.

It's ironic in the story that the tenants kill the son to keep the land, but the one's who keep the land are not the ones who kill him, but the ones who follow him.

RB


Date: 30 Sep 2002
Time: 18:50:43

Comment

Off topic - we're doing an international thing for World Communion Sunday. I'm looking for a resource I used to have but can't find - it is a choral prayer response called "Your Kingdom Come, O Lord" - it is supposedly Russian. Anybody know where it could be? Also, is there a way I could access a Spanish translation of scripture on the 'net? kculp@awod.com


Date: 30 Sep 2002
Time: 18:52:44

Comment

Hafta say this: Frank lives!!!! kbc escaped sc and worshipped at Frank's church. Great church, delightful family. And there really is a Frank! (Thanks, Frank!)


Date: 30 Sep 2002
Time: 22:27:02

Comment

BT IND

Nice to see a dissenting voice on the site, if only to keep some of the rest of us honest, but still . . .

Do you really see the owner of the vineyard in the parable as being the USA? I know that interpreting parables is dicey sometimes, but I really thought I had this one nailed down by seeing the vineyard as belonging to God. And I'm not prepared to assign to myself the role of cleaning the evildoers out of God's vineyard.

By the way, if you're not packing up the old ditty bag for active duty in Iraq when the bombs start to fall, it's a bit tasteless to suggest that the rest of us are guilty of cowardice (not prepared to defend our freedoms) because we may have some hesitation about having our tax dollars spent on killing conscripted soldiers and the inevitable "collateral damage." What role exactly are you planning to play in the (likely) coming war? Call us unrealistic if you like. But to believe that those who are thinking about standing up before a hostile congregation to share a message of reconciliation that may not be acceptable to their listeners (in many cases their employers) are somehow taking the easy path is a bit divorced from reality as well.

Oh, and by the way, I'll raise my voice against abortion as well. I'm just not sure that I'm ready to accept the killing of Iraqi children who've made it out of the womb. And I'd at least like to believe that the President has come to the decision with great reluctance. But I fear that would be as much a denial of reality as anything else.

Touched a sour chord here, I suppose. Not sure what it has to do with the passage. Except perhaps we all should be a little less certain that we are the newcomers in the vineyard, instead of the ones who just wouldn't listen and continued to see and do things they way the thought they should be done.

MDWELPIS in Washington State


Date: 01 Oct 2002
Time: 04:14:34

Comment

One word of caution here.

We don't know what kind of thought, prayer, anguish, etc. may or may not have gone through the mind and/or heart of President Bush. We can agree or disagree with the decisions he and congress make, but we cannot know what he and they have gone through to get there, or do we have all the knowledge of God?

How many of us have ever had to make a hard decision on dealing with an antagonistic staff member or congregation member? We can't share all that we have gone through in making those decisions in terms of confidentiality and kindness. The situation is different, but maybe we can try to understand, even if some may stand in judgement of the decisions at which others finally arrive, as others stand in judgement of us, not knowing our in most hearts and minds.

Apparently, we stand in judgment of one another...

Michelle


Date: 01 Oct 2002
Time: 06:32:34

Comment

In the past I have always assoicated this reading with stewardship and the lack of response. But now that we have lived through September 11th (2001) it raises the whole question of violence and the different languages being expressed by the landlord, the tennants, and Jesus.

What is it that causes violence in this parable?

What do the tennants see that the landlord doesn't see himself?

Why is there so much hatred?

We don't have to discuss the politcal world, there is enough hatred and violence to go around in every sphere of our lives. How do we begin to make sense out of it all? What is the role of our faith and life in Christ?

tom in ga


Date: 01 Oct 2002
Time: 06:45:43

Comment

I am using the Spirit tape from Igniting ministries. It is Tex Samplers conversion experience as a basis for my sermon so I don't think I will be on this passage this week. If any of you have the Spirit tape for the lent/Easter this past spring, there is a really good video about the body of Christ on it too. Two version one sung and one spoken. I was thinking about opening with the ten commandments, just for the do not kill commandment. I believe that the thought of a communion table stretching for as far as the mind can imagine is totally awesome feeling. Nancy-Wi


Date: 01 Oct 2002
Time: 07:06:27

Comment

I am just thinking about some of the posts here. there seems to be a bit of controversy about Iraq. I am in th emidst of the tragedy in Norfolk NE. bank robbery botched 5 left dead one wounded. Norfolk is a couple of hours from me but there were three or four of the victims from this area or with close family ties. it is a difficult thing to understand with love and forgivness but if all is lost for Christ as Paul would suggest in Pilipians then what about Iraq. how much would we lose/gain in a war. Jesus was not weak he was meek seems a difference to me. Strength for me has avoided many a fight (from the old days) and runnign or being passive allowed for bullying. I haven't gotten to the place I am sure of anything but also responded to Dan Betzer this am with conservationist verses ev=nvironmentalist. one seems to be radical fundamental the other concerned informed?? just some thoughts about posts and personal things. Love the thought of all believers communing and contmeplating forgivness WaynO in NE


Date: 01 Oct 2002
Time: 08:36:54

Comment

Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom.>>

For me the centrality of this pericope is the question, "are we the ones bearing fruit?". World Communion Sunday reminds me that this is not a local question, but a global ones.

What fruits do we bear if we go to war?


Date: 01 Oct 2002
Time: 08:46:00

Comment

The question the passage is asking is "Are the fruits of the Kingdom being nurtured in the vineyard?" and "What are we able to present to the vineyard owner?"

Jesus could have condemned Rome and/or the zealots; but he wasn't doing that here, this was a probing commentary about the religious establishment.

We'll use the opportunity to look at how the tenants here are developing the resources God has devoted to us.

Any thoughts along this line?

Larry in Indy


Date: 01 Oct 2002
Time: 09:31:30

Comment

Michelle, RB, bravo MDWELPIS in Washington State, Wayne O in NE... I say, bring in those dusty laves from the closets and behind the buffet... for ALL are invited to a dinner...

I like how a college student said in a sermon I heard her preach at the Walk to Emmaus last spring put it... she said, "Peace without justice is not peace, and justice without peace is not justice!"

Peace is sharing the cup with your neighbor, and justice is sharing Christ's cup with the world. Justice is keeping one innocent Iraqi child from senseless death, and peace is when an Iraqi mother and father don't have to worry whether or not we're going to RAIN our justice on their family... you can add your own image... one can recycled is peace... implementing a recycle drive in your community is justice... etc. etc.

Last week, I held up a red cell phone during my sermon... pretending to be Moses... "God? Say, the people are about ready to stone me!" Well, DUCK MOSES! bobbin' and weavin' the gospel with the OT lesson... (Thanks to Pastor Dave Russel, Ames - Iowa for this image)

With courage under fire,

pulpitt in ND


Date: 01 Oct 2002
Time: 09:36:50

Comment

Wayne O in NE,

The rest of the tragedy in Norfolk is what I heard this week... that a trooper who had stopped one of the murderers a few days before and had entered the serial number on the weapon in his car... mis-entered the serial number... changing a few of the numbers around... it came back as a legal weapon... only to discover later that it was NOT. One of the murderers license plates read..."BIGSHOT"... a senseless act of violence indeed.

This trooper than apparently distraught by the fact that he made a human error... took his life in his patrol car... leaving his wife and 7 children with no husband and father.

In sorrow over a crazy world, "Jesus wept!"

pulpitt in ND


Date: 01 Oct 2002
Time: 09:48:07

Comment

hey gang,

usually i just listen in and chew over stuff you post to get the juices flowing. but i wanted to add my 2 cents this time...

in matthew, jesus correctly predicts that the son of the vineyard owner (namely he) will be set upon and murdered. his question to the gathered chief priests and elders is, "now what's gonna happen?"

their response is very human: god's gonna kick ass and take names. it would be my first (though hopefully not acted on) reponse to the same situation.

anybody remember god's _actual_ response?

just trying to come at it from a totally different direction. thanks for humoring me.

mb+ in ga


Date: 01 Oct 2002
Time: 10:24:45

Comment

Thanks for all the thoughts on the scripture. I'm still struggling to clarify the message for this Sunday. My thoughts are tending to mull over the connection between the tenants' rejection of the landowner (God) ultimately leading to the rejection of the son (Jesus)and the attitudes of ownership. To put it another way, how does the tenants' selfish "Mine!" relate to the rejection of the landowner? In what ways do we grab what God has entrusted to us and proclaim, "Mine!"? How does this reflect our attitude towards God?

Another thread interwoven in all this is our responsibility to care for what God has entrusted to us. That just as a vineyard doesn't exist to look pretty or to function as a status symbol, but to produce grapes, a staple food, so we as individuals and the community of faith don't exist merely to build nice buildings, show others what good people we are, or even to be humanitarian activists. Rather, we are to be all about cultivating God's crop, joining God in His intentions to provide people with wholistic nourishment. Nourishment that not only meets physical needs, but emotional and spiritual needs as well.

What are we doing with the things in our care? Are we serious about the privilege of prayer? Are we willing to put feet to our faith and take advantage of our car to visit those who are lonely? Are we utilizing the richness of God's Word for our lives as well as the lives of others? Are we getting involved in our communities to show them God's love for every area of their lives? Are we acting as if our time, our money, our bodies, our homes are ours to use as we prefer?

Just some thoughts.


Date: 01 Oct 2002
Time: 10:54:52

Comment

Mouthy - I am on a similar track as you - I think I will explore the "ethnei"; people, nation that the kingdom will be given to. Seems many people in the past have said "we are that nation". Having served a church in N. Idaho in the past I was always amazed at how Aryan nation so willingly clamed to be the real "nation" or how my present congregation so confuses the American dream with the Gospel of Jesus that it seems obvious that the USA must be that "nation" but the kingdom of God knows no borders or political systems or languages or flags. Makes a good tie into world communion Sunday as well it seems

Revrdmark in SW Wa State


Date: 01 Oct 2002
Time: 12:33:08

Comment

01 OCT 02

Kind of an interesting comparison/contrast with the Phil. lesson and gospel. Paul is "laid hold of" by Jesus and is in this "sanctification" process of apprehending that reality and laying hold of Jesus. In the vineyard, they lay hold of the son to kill him. THeir motive? Vineyard ownership. May not be the best expression, but we are seeking "ownership" of our faith yet how many are looking for value/meaning in all the wrong places (including, but not limited to material accumulation). Interesting twist on the old "substitutionary atonement" theory, that Jesus HAD to come to die to satisfy (an angry?) God: Here, the owner has high hopes for the workers, sends the son and is apparently shocked that they exercise their free will (granted, "free" is relative in bondage to sin) to the extent of homicide. I'm going to comment on Iraq and war in another submission. Peter in WI


Date: 01 Oct 2002
Time: 12:33:29

Comment

01 OCT 02

Kind of an interesting comparison/contrast with the Phil. lesson and gospel. Paul is "laid hold of" by Jesus and is in this "sanctification" process of apprehending that reality and laying hold of Jesus. In the vineyard, they lay hold of the son to kill him. THeir motive? Vineyard ownership. May not be the best expression, but we are seeking "ownership" of our faith yet how many are looking for value/meaning in all the wrong places (including, but not limited to material accumulation). Interesting twist on the old "substitutionary atonement" theory, that Jesus HAD to come to die to satisfy (an angry?) God: Here, the owner has high hopes for the workers, sends the son and is apparently shocked that they exercise their free will (granted, "free" is relative in bondage to sin) to the extent of homicide. I'm going to comment on Iraq and war in another submission. Peter in WI


Date: 01 Oct 2002
Time: 12:40:51

Comment

01 OCT 02

I'm Peter in WI and I'm a "Christian-American" ;-) My main/1st congregation is a particular Lutheran congregation. My "2nd/part-time" congregation is a Reserve unit. (I'm a military reserve chaplain). Since Chaplain School, I have been taught that my commissioning as an officer in the military will not mean the dismissing of my theological tradition, including prophesy. I made that point in a recent newsletter article, reminding my parishioners that all of us stand on the "front lines" as peacemakers, following our servant-leader Prince of Peace in like service to the world. "I'm proud to be an American." I love A. Lincoln's quote (in the midst of our bloodiest war) that "We (US) are the world's last, best hope." And when there's perceived competition between "American" (or a party, person or administration's) values and the law of Christ, it's no contest at all. So I "confessed" that I'm a Christian 1st... Struggling with that happy calling... Peter in WI


Date: 01 Oct 2002
Time: 16:02:34

Comment

As I prepare a message for Sunday I find this particular reading a little unnerving. The "Kingdom of God taken away" is a rather frightening prospect. Am I one who is producing fruit, good fruit, fruit that the master intends? These words, as I read them, are written to the workers of the master's vineyard. The Pharisees' angry reaction makes that clear. In this season of Pentecost we (Lutherans) examine the church and its purpose and function. I think I will focus my message on "making the most of what's leased" or something like that. Obviously, we are not out to kill the son of the vineyard owner, however, too often pastors and laity alike begin to view the vineyard as their own little kingdoms, power perches, or domains rather than sacred charges entrusted to them by the Savior. The church never belongs to me. It is Christ's church. I am and must always remain a servant. ARMY CH E, Ft Belvoir, VA


Date: 01 Oct 2002
Time: 17:03:51

Comment

Peter in WI, and Army CH E in VA,

Thank you for your posts. After reading the response addressed to me and others, which interpreted my post as being pro-war, I was going to ask for some views from those among us who are chaplains. I would like more.

My belief is that we should strive for peace, but we live in a corrupt world, and being a peacemaker is never easy. Some of us will lose our own lives as we (however reluctantly) take up the sword to try to protect the innocent (which none of us are, by the way).

I am sorry to offend some of you with that belief, but I don't even want to try to imagine what this world would be like if no one could have stood up to the evil this world witnessed under the Nazi persecutions of the death camps. That evil is not gone, it is here in this world of briers and thorns.

Michelle


Date: 01 Oct 2002
Time: 17:05:35

Comment

It is very easy to focus on the judgment in this passage, and it is there, but grace is so much in evidence. I would have killed the rascals after the first rejection, but God sends more and more servants, and fainally sends his son, not to judge or condemn or kill, but to re-establish the relationship that is obviously broken. The words of judgment at the end remind us that the kingdom is first given by God, and so God can ultimately take it away. It is not ours by right.

The danger that most of us have with this passage is that we gleefully see that the kingdom was taken from the Jews and given to us, but we forget that now we are in the same situation, and now we have to respond correctly, or it will be taken from us.

I read something recently that said many "church people" are only members and not disciples. Membership implies privilege (like at a country club) more than responsibility. These tenant farmers think they can have all the privileges, but forget the responsibilities. (How could any one think that killing the son would give them ownership?)

JRW in OH


Date: 01 Oct 2002
Time: 19:16:49

Comment

Michelle,

I too appreciate the posts from those who are military chaplains. And I agree with you that sometimes we must oppose evil with force, although I come to that conclusion reluctantly and with an awareness that the Gospel doesn't provide as much support for it as I'd like. But since I know that I would, if necessary, kill an intruder to protect my children, and because I believe that would be right, I cannot fully endorse pacifism in national affairs either.

Having said that, I remain reluctant to trust the government's moral clarity on such issues, for the same reason that I would expect them to be reluctant to trust my warfighting strategy. And Government realism has far too often, it seems to me, undervalued the lives of those oppressed by the rulers we have determined to be evil.

In your first response to me, you suggested (correctly) that I do not know what goes on in President Bush's heart. You're right. I reacted, too strongly, to the previous post that declared him to be "God-fearing." But while we are being cautious with each other and careful not to assign motivation to our own leaders, where does that leave us with Saddam Hussein? If I cannot be confident of George W. Bush's motivation, how can I understand that of a brutal leader in a closed society on the other side of the world.

But I fear, I fear terribly, the evil that can be done in the name of fighting evil. And the evil that spawned the concentration camps was done by large number of people, and accepted by a larger number of people who trusted their Government to lead the way. Sadly, the majority of the church in Germany followed as well (The Confessing Church that produced the Barmen Declaration was hardly speaking for the majority of German Christians). Don't misunderstand the comparison, but the lesson of Hitler's Germany is at least partly that the church should remain prophetic and skeptical and not rush too rapidly down the road of civic religion.

And, the Final Solution was spawned -- or at least nurtured -- in part by a misreading of texts such as this week's Gospel. Why not help clear the vineyard, after all, of those nasty Jews who rejected Christ?

Finally let's be clear about the history and not justify our entry into World War II against Germany as a desire to fight the evil that was the death camps. We set out to fight Hitler because we viewed him as dangerous and set on a course of world domination (and only after we were forced into the Pacific War by Pearl Harbor). In assessing the justice of our cause, we must do so only by what motivated us at the time, not by the horrors that we did not believe to be true in 1941. I believe we fought a war that we needed to fight -- and the death camps provided even further justification -- but we did not fight World War II to prevent the slaughter of the Jews.

MDWELPIS in Washington State


Date: 01 Oct 2002
Time: 19:17:28

Comment

mb+ in ga

Thank you for reminding us that the "moral" of the story may well not be the ones given by Jesus' listeners, however natural and reasonable and regretfully necessary it may seem to us.

MDWELPIS in Washington State


Date: 01 Oct 2002
Time: 20:10:21

Comment

MDWELPIS in Washington State Thank you for your thoughts and your prayers BT IND


Date: 01 Oct 2002
Time: 20:46:13

Comment

With some reluctance I share some very personal things. As a military chaplain, one enters situations that most people will not have to experience. A year ago, teams of us were supporting search and rescue at the Pentagon. Having served this nation in Desert Storm, Bosnia, and most recently in Operation Enduring Freedom, I can say without reservation that I am against war. Every good soldier hates war. It is devastating. I have seen its destruction. I hate having to leave my loving family to go to places whose names I can't pronounce to fix things that I did not ruin, for people who often care nothing about freedom, truth, or right. But we wear a uniform and the uniform is what comes between brutal aggression and civil society, between violence and victim. Soldiers, sailors, airman, marines go every day and they need spiritual care, so we go. Keep all our military men and women in prayer.

I would avoid using this text as a springboard for a sermon on how right our church is and how evil others are or look to tie it to some current politics. I hear Christ telling the church of His day and His disciples(AND US)to examine where they fit in the parable. Am I in the vineyard observing the destructive and vicious tenants? Am I a beaten and bruised slave? Am I one who one of the new tenants with a chance to produce fruit? Am I vulnerable to the same temptations as the evil renters because the vineyard owner seems too far distant?

To my listeners this Sunday, Christ is reminding us of the awesome gift we have in the church, the vineyard. It is complete, yet it needs tending, nurture, pruning, and harvest. If the tenants do their job in each vineyard, and do it faithfully, imagine the fruit. Imagine the growth, the abundant blessing to home, community, nation. That is the task. Simple? I think not, but I will strive on. ARMY CH E, Ft Belvoir


Date: 02 Oct 2002
Time: 02:53:31

Comment

MDWELPIS in Washington State,

Thank you for your posting. I believe you said so much more eloquently what I have been trying to express, that everything is not so black and white, that sometimes force is unavoidable. I do not want to go to war. I do not have complete trust in any human leader, but I do trust God, and I will continue to pray for God to give wisdom to the leaders of all nations. If all leaders follow the wisdom of the God of peace, there will be peace. Too much to hope for? (Too much for which to hope?) Maybe, but hope remains.

Michelle


Date: 02 Oct 2002
Time: 03:03:15

Comment

ARMY CH E, Ft Belvoir,

You said, "the uniform is what comes between brutal aggression and civil society."

I also believe that you (along with others who wear these uniforms) are GOD's gift of civil protection for the people. Thank you.

The first use of the law, to keep order in society, is the duty of the armed forces (army, navy, air force, marine, police, coast guard, secret service, etc.). This is God's gift. Certainly, all who serve in these forces are human, and subject to frailty, and tempted to use power in the wrong way. Some will. As Martin Luther might have said (and did in another context), "From this preserve us, Heavenly Father!"

We will pray for you, and continue to pray for you, that God's peace, which passes all human understanding, may guard your lives, your souls.

Michelle


Date: 02 Oct 2002
Time: 05:13:14

Comment

BT in IND: I was not speaking about abortion in any way, shape nor form. And as a veteran (1967-1971) I feel I have every right to criticize yet another administration that is willing to send our young people off to fight while they and theirs stay home. "Blessed are the Peacemakers" are the words of Jesus. All the political argumentation in the world will not change that.Pastor Rick in FL.


Date: 02 Oct 2002
Time: 05:15:27

Comment

I AGREE with the poster who cautioned against directing this toward the current political and military windstorm. That's a fairly long stretch to fashion-fit this for World Communion Sunday.

I am drawn to the tenants who believe they have power against the Landowner. They think that by killing the son, they can steal the inheritance. Somewhere I read (maybe here?) that if a landowner died without a heir, the tenants had a legal claim to the property. They clearly thought the landowner was powerless to stop them, or unwilling to stop them. Let's resist the temptation to compare that to the terrorists or Iraq thining that we are powerless or unwilling to act. After all, it was the listeners, not Christ, who said that the landowner would kill the tenants(the world's way of doing things)THe focus should be on a Lord who does not deal with us as the world would and does not give us what we deserve.

AUGGIE in TN


Date: 02 Oct 2002
Time: 06:18:39

Comment

02 OCT 02

I concur with my colleagues who suggest that this isn't the best "anti-war" text so if that's your direction for the week, find the better ones and there are many. A few weeks ago (and you may have discussed this; I've been away from DPS for awhile until this week)we had Romans 12:14-21 including that provacative "Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good." I do believe that this Sunday's lessons (even more so Isaiah 5) have to do with too much "cross polinating" with the world/culture, including a culture of power, domination, excessive/obscessive ownership--and those issues do indeed pertain to those things about the USA I'm not so proud of. Now, to contradict myself a bit, are there parallels between those greedy, violent tenants and a segment of US society and leaders? Even on the basis of "Just War Theory and Tradition"--propositions admittedly developed by those in power--a key objective states "The stated objectives for going to war must be the real ones." I'm with the many who point out a variety of corrupt dictators around the world, about whom we seem to care very little. The crucial variable? Our interest in a precious liquid in the "vineyard" of Arabian Desert. And I'm not talkin' about wine. Peter in WI


Date: 02 Oct 2002
Time: 08:10:52

Comment

Thanks mb+in Ga...God raised Jesus to new life, and did NOT devestate those who had killed him. --AEA


Date: 02 Oct 2002
Time: 09:30:38

Comment

"Therefore I tell you, the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produce the fruits of the kingdom." How are we in danger of losing the Kingdom? Maybe one way is that we are giving God lip service but no commitment. How can we give God only an hour a week? We don't see that God is integral to all of life. it is hard for people today to make a commitment to worship and to study of God's Word because the children have soccer practice on Sunday morning or Wednesday evening. We make a more firm commitment to have our children involved in a variety of activities, but we don't see the importance of their growing in the faith. WE ARE NOT BEARING FRUIT. Consequently we are killing the prophets, and our sin killed God's Son, who made a commitment to giving His life for us. If we don't desire to listen to God's Word, or grow in the faith, or worship, then we may lose the Kingdom. Our only hope is the grace of God who committed Himself to us. He gives us more than an hour a week. He gives us His whole life and all the time needed that we may live with Him forever. Through faith in Christ alone we are in the Kingdom and we have a home with God forever. We are grafted into the vine of Christ where we have life and peace and hope. We can live in this broken, confusing, and war-riddled world, where life is unfair and cheap, and where things don't always go the way they are supposed to, for God holds us in His hand and we are connected to Christ who has promised us a future.


Date: 02 Oct 2002
Time: 13:54:09

Comment

To Tom in ga

I think your questions get to the heart of the parable. What if it is "only" a parable and not an allegory. Maybe the land was the tenants/peasant farmers and was taken away, "stolen" from them. Jesus said the land would be given to those bearing fruit... If the people (other than the religious authorities) who were listening to Jesus thought that he was siding with the absentee landowner I don't think the Pharisees would have had any problem stoning him. They must have understood that it would be the workers who bore the fruit that would eventually get back the land, but not by violence. The stone that the Pharisees throw away will become the corner, it is the poor tenants that the Pharisees were quick to dispose of... still who is bearing fruit in our communities today... C in C.


Date: 02 Oct 2002
Time: 13:54:36

Comment

In it’s context Jesus made the point that the tenants currently holding and working the land were not doing their job. Then - it was the chief priests and elders who he was engaged in dialogue with and who were trying to trap him. He says the owner will return, oust those in charge and replace them. In the Seasons of the Spirit curriculum, Thomas G. Long says “the parable of the wicked tenants is an allegory about the disobedience of the people of Israel and the consequent turn of God toward a new people, the followers of Jesus Christ. Once more, however the parable allows no self-congratulations on the part of the church. The Christian church is now in the position of being the tenants, and the parable begins all over again.” “The parable begins all over again”. Interesting thought. As always with scripture I find the stories and teachings so relevant for today and we – the Christian church and Christian’s individually - are not exempt from being accountable to God. We don’t like to talk about being accountable too much….we’d rather pass that off to different (not us) groups!

Here is a great story for this week’s Gospel lesson – of 6 different Christian groups fighting over “their turf” in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. Verbal innuendos and even fisticuffs! It is from Wednesday’s Boston Globe at boston.com http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/275/nation/Turf_battles_mar_peace_of_Christian_shrine+.shtml

PastorDeb in MA


Date: 02 Oct 2002
Time: 17:11:42

Comment

Pastor Deb,

I had heard of the conflicts in the story you cite, but thank you for the page. Interesting, how we Christians treat one another. Interesting, who we define as enemies. Interesting, that we must claim and defend "our" turf. Interesting, how we see our sin so blatantly displayed in others, and yet are blinded to that which others may view in ourselves. Thank you.

Michelle


Date: 02 Oct 2002
Time: 23:30:53

Comment

This parable/allegory is evoking great reflection.Thanks everyone for the expression of points of view which aren't vitriolic, even as they are differing.

The use of the word "stone" recalls for me the confession of Peter in Matthew's gospel. Are we supposed to remember anything with the use of this word?

I'd be interested in your comments in response to the October ATLANTIC MONTHLY's mostly chilling (to me) article on the growth of Christianity in the Southern Hemisphere. I wonder if there is anything it can add to our thoughts about this text? Aslanclan


Date: 03 Oct 2002
Time: 06:17:39

Comment

http://www.theatlantic.com/unbound/interviews/int2002-09-12.htm

The above is a link where I found the article mentioned in the previous posting. It's long, but I believe worth the read.

Michelle


Date: 03 Oct 2002
Time: 06:35:02

Comment

Aslanclan,

The story seems a fitting illustration of the parable. However, I would hesitate to apply the parable too starkly, and I'll tell you why.

1. Maybe we aren't the best producers of fruit, but now and then a good grape can be found among us.

2. If being the Church (being in the vineyard) means being with Christ, I would not wish to tell the people, "Christ will desert you if you don't..." Sounds like works righteousness, the reaction of the Pharissees, and not quite the grace of God.

3. I believe there is room for the profound even in the lives of the "fat cats." It does not matter how much money you have for medical care if your body does not respond to treatment... then it's God's healing, and God's resurrection, and nothing else comes close to mattering.

4. As Craig Koester surmises in his book, "Revelation and the End of All Things," apocolyptic writings [which one might also determine this parable to be, my addition] are written to prophesy and to warn, but mostly, they are written to inspire change in the people. (paraphrased without the book in front of me.) Therefore, the trends mentioned in the article, no matter how close they seem to come to fulfilling the parabolic story, are more to inspire change than to predict certain damnation.

It's okay to be chilled and warned, but not okay to give up because of it. Instead, let us continue to work to produce what fruit we can, even if some of our attempts (with the best of intentions) end up as wild grapes.

In Christ,

Michelle


Date: 03 Oct 2002
Time: 12:51:47

Comment

To Pastor Rick in FL.

Thanks for your thoughts, I agree with your challenges to us. I am a Christian pacifist who spent two years doing "alternate service" in Viet Nam (1966-68) working as a civilian in the Highlands

Lonesome Dove


Date: 04 Oct 2002
Time: 08:28:21

Comment

mb+in-I, too, noticed that "they said" God's gonna kick bootie. This caught my attention and makes me think about our (human) ideas of justice. I think Jesus' reply refocuses the discussion on the center of our belief, God. As I consider the Matthew passage from this perspective I have to go back to the Isaiah pericope to better understand what sort of fruits God is looking for. I find that God seeks justice and righteousness.

While I hadn't thought of it until this morning, it occurs to me that the quest for justice opens the door from this passage to move to the war thing-our ideas of justice, God's ideas of justice and who is ultimately responsible for working things out.

Just some thoughts, Pastor D in WV


Date: 04 Oct 2002
Time: 09:27:46

Comment

ARMY CH E, Ft Belvoir ...

Admittedly, when I see Army in front of Chaplain my red flags go up. And honestly, too honestly perhaps when I look at the posts... on this site... I read down to the bottom to see if I want to actually read someone's words. I like to read those posts that I resonate with... just as I struggle with some of those parishoners who "see faith" in different ways... but I don't always have the time to read everything that's posted, "THEY" myself included there, they, write them faster than I can read them sometimes. So, I usually read those that I know I'll like.

OK, I'm rambling... the point being... I want to thank you sincerely for the inside "track" of looking at what I've always looked at from "afar"... it makes me feel good that our men and women in the military have a Chaplain as open minded and "thinking out of the box" enough to challenge the rest of us in what at least up until now I've perceived as the real world.

You've given great insights and a good challenge for all of us. Thanks ARMY CH E, Ft Belvoir...

pulpitt in ND


Date: 04 Oct 2002
Time: 09:48:08

Comment

Somewhere in this week's lengthy discussion one of us posted a reluctance to preach a message of peace to a conservative people who support President Bush and a war with Iraq. Re-read verses 45 and 46. Jesus is preaching to a specific group of people with a message designed to shake them up, and their response -- from that point on, they wanted to arrest him, but they were afraid of those who regarded him as a prophet. Happens a lot with pastors too -- the minute you preach a sermon that hits home, those gathered who feel that your sermon is pointing too much toward them look for their chance to get rid of you. I say, if the whisper of the Holy Spirit is calling you to preach about peace, then it's best to follow the Whisper. We are called to preach the Word of God, not necessarily the word our congregation wants to hear.

As far as strength verses weakness, I'm not sure I consider the possession of weapons and the employment of soldiers and the ability to win a war to be a sign of strength. The strongest person I know never lifted a finger against another human as a sign of His strength. Our new covenant, which we celebrate when we remember Christ in communion, is to be the followers of the Prince of Peace. Sometimes we have to remind people about that, whether it's what they want to hear or not. JFK in ND


Date: 04 Oct 2002
Time: 09:56:31

Comment

Mark Twain had an interesting piece on war and peace. He has an angel visit a church and show the gathered people what their prayers meant for the other side in the conflict. Perhaps someone out there will remember the reference better than I do. RevSue in Cuba,KS


Date: 04 Oct 2002
Time: 11:30:10

Comment

WHat denominations will be celebrating World Communion Sunday this week? Seems unique that world has shrunk to 'those who want to do it'. PM


Date: 04 Oct 2002
Time: 12:38:38

Comment

The ELCA calandar put out by Lutheran Brotherhood does not have World Communion Sunday, neither does the pocket calendar published by Augsburg Fortress for the ELCA.


Date: 04 Oct 2002
Time: 12:51:11

Comment

We must face this parable and the Song of the Vineyard with a realization that this is not simply about God and his people or about the salvific mystery that was entrusted to the Jewish people who rejected it with violence, but about ourselves in almost every aspect of our lives:

When we don't forgive those who come to us asking for forgiveness.

When we allow our self-righteousness to get in the way of relationships. When we think and know ourselves better than our neighbor.

When we want "more and more" like a suckling child unable to see all things as a gift.

When we refuse to let go of "our" money for the work of God in ministry and mission.

When, because we think that God, in another country, doesn't care, we go about our lives as though God does not exist.

Ths parable comes to close to us, especially in this time of violence and suffering and pain. May each of us be strong enough to reveal the truth of our lives which we seek to hid behind our masks of self-sufficiency and self-bondage.

tom in ga


Date: 04 Oct 2002
Time: 12:57:32

Comment

I am curious about where the concept "World Communion Sunday" comes from, what is its history?

Is it an opportunity for those churches who don't regularly celebrate the Lord's Supper to have an opportunity to celebrate at least once again, and not just quarterly?

Is it a mark of solidarity of Protestants with Catholic Christians to join them around the Table on this Sunday? Thus a sign an ecumenical sign of the end times?

Is it a prophetic statement to the world that there is something more nurturing that "eating and drinking" that natural resources of the world up; that the food that abides is his Body and Blood?

What is at the heart of this day?

tom in ga


Date: 04 Oct 2002
Time: 13:59:45

Comment

I know that this is late in the week, but I have always wondered if Jesus' words in verse 42 are specifically in response to their answer in verse 41. If so, what is Jesus trying to say about the landowner whom we generally say depicts God. If the worldly answer is that the landowner would destroy the tenants, Jesus' answer in verse 42 does not suggest agreement.

Colorado Joe


Date: 04 Oct 2002
Time: 15:11:52

Comment

I think one of the things that is at the heart of this passage is how the tenant/farmers display a fundamental misunderstanding of what the owner is all about; they ASSUME that the landowner is ONLY about collecting what is his, and they make of him a reflection of the selfishness that is in their own hearts—for it is what they say when the son comes that reveals their true hearts. They might also assume that the landowner will give up the fight at some point; they certainly could not imagine that he would send his son. There is both mistakenness and cruelty at work here. Much of what they do stems from misjudging the heart of the landowner. And they behave despicably because they are looking out only for their own interests.

We know the landowner is wealthy: he spared no expense in the creation of and provision for the vineyard. And his livelihood does not depend on the vineyard; independently wealthy, he goes to a far country to live. But there does come a harvest time when the landowner expects to claim what belongs to him. And he refuses to let the cruelty and larceny of the tenant/farmers (also known as stewards/caretakers) have the final word. Finally, he sends his son (his only begotten son, we know since the stewards thought they could get the inheritance by doing away with the son) which should be the same as going himself--but the stewards' selfishness, run amok by this time, gets the best of them again and they do the son in as well. Now what would we reasonably expect the landowner to do? Declare war on the troublemakers, of course--do away with them, and find himself some better tenants, just start over. And Jesus underscores that possibility in his comment, but that is not all there is to the story.

Of course, this story is being heard with great interest by the hard-working, well-meaning, salt-of-the-earth church people and their leders who are nearby (otherwise known as Pharisees and chief priests). They have the good sense to get a little nervous when Jesus tells this story. And the very thought that God would go a-hunting for other people than the "chosen" ones is a bit too much for them to swallow. Eventually, they'll have their way with Jesus, but right now the public climate is not favorable.

We might think, of course, that this story is not for us--that it only made sense when Jesus told it, or perhaps to Matthew's church in their day. We might even imagine that WE are the "other tenants." After all, none of us have ever stoned a prophet. We don't remember ever shorting God on what belongs to God. Besides, it was "them" back "then" that put the nails in Jesus' hands. Haven't we all "sinned and fallen short of the glory of God"? Haven't we all been put in charge of God's creation and haven't we all fallen down on the job at some point, guilty of putting our own interests ahead of God's when it comes to caring for that creation? And Jesus boiled all the law and prophets down to the simplest of terms for us (later in this same chapter): "Love God with everything you've got—with all your thoughts, desires, and energy; and love your neighbor--nearby or far-away, Muslim or atheist, friend or foe--as if there is no difference between you and them"--OOPS! As for Jesus..."the lamb slain from the foundation of the world": he is the sacrifice to end all sacrifices, yet the innocent still suffer in our world; in his crucifixion we see the truth about ourselves, about what happens when merely human interests are served at all costs, and how even God-in-the-flesh is not enough to stay our thirst for bloodshed at times. Well might God do away with all of us and just start over.

Of course, all is lost when we focus only on the motives and actions of the "wicked tenants." Far better that we focus on the character and behavior of the "divine landowner." Thank God that God does not take our cruelty and larceny as the final word! What Jesus says must not go un-noticed (quoting Ps. 118:22-23)--what was rejected has been chosen, that which was cast aside has been built into the very foundation of God's work. As usual, Jesus' parable breaks with real life, and that break is where grace takes over: for the tenants in the story, the game is up; for those who hear and heed, there still is hope: hope that our hearts will change, that our lives will be different. The damage that is done, is done. But going forward, things can be different--if we listen to God's messengers [(recall the "decalogue" and the tribute to creation's proclamation in other readings for the day)], if we allow our very hearts to become vineyards for God's glory. Much of it starts with seeing and believing the truth about ourselves. But it all hinges on knowing the truth about God--one who refuses to give up on us or the vineyard, who sent and sends "his one and only Son...so that no one need be destroyed." Amen!

(( WORLD COMMUNION SUNDAY ))


Date: 04 Oct 2002
Time: 15:29:55

Comment

Previous post by TK in OK.

A follow-up thought--all that happens in the parable grows out of the steward/tenants' misunderstanding of the landowner's character and motivations; much like what is evil, war-like, and destructive in our world comes out of just such mis-judgement of God's ways.

TK in OK


Date: 04 Oct 2002
Time: 16:39:57

Comment

Sue in Cuba, KS, asked about a piece by Mark Twain. Here it is:

The War Prayer by Mark Twain

It was a time of great and exalting excitement. The country was up in arms, the war was on, in every breast burned the holy fire of patriotism; the drums were beating, the bands playing, the toy pistols popping, the bunched firecrackers hissing and spluttering; on every hand and far down the receding and fading spread of roofs and balconies a fluttering wilderness of flags flashed in the sun; daily the young volunteers marched down the wide avenue gay and fine in their new uniforms, the proud fathers and mothers and sisters and sweethearts cheering them with voices choked with happy emotion as they swung by; nightly the packed mass meetings listened, panting, to patriot oratory which stirred the deepest deeps of their hearts, and which they interrupted at briefest intervals with cyclones of applause, the tears running down their cheeks the while; in the churches the pastors preached devotion to flag and country, and invoked the God of Battles beseeching His aid in our good cause in outpourings of fervid eloquence which moved every listener. It was indeed a glad and gracious time, and the half dozen rash spirits that ventured to disapprove of the war and cast a doubt upon its righteousness straightway got such a stern and angry warning that for their personal safety's sake they quickly shrank out of sight and offended no more in that way.

Sunday morning came -- next day the battalions would leave for the front; the church was filled; the volunteers were there, their young faces alight with martial dreams -- visions of the stern advance, the gathering momentum, the rushing charge, the flashing sabers, the flight of the foe, the tumult, the enveloping smoke, the fierce pursuit, the surrender! Then home from the war, bronzed heroes, welcomed, adored, submerged in golden seas of glory! With the volunteers sat their dear ones, proud, happy, and envied by the neighbors and friends who had no sons and brothers to send forth to the field of honor, there to win for the flag, or, failing, die the noblest of noble deaths. The service proceeded; a war chapter from the Old Testament was read; the first prayer was said; it was followed by an organ burst that shook the building, and with one impulse the house rose, with glowing eyes and beating hearts, and poured out that tremendous invocation

*God the all-terrible! Thou who ordainest! Thunder thy clarion and lightning thy sword!* Then came the "long" prayer. None could remember the like of it for passionate pleading and moving and beautiful language. The burden of its supplication was, that an ever-merciful and benignant Father of us all would watch over our noble young soldiers, and aid, comfort, and encourage them in their patriotic work; bless them, shield them in the day of battle and the hour of peril, bear them in His mighty hand, make them strong and confident, invincible in the bloody onset; help them to crush the foe, grant to them and to their flag and country imperishable honor and glory --

An aged stranger entered and moved with slow and noiseless step up the main aisle, his eyes fixed upon the minister, his long body clothed in a robe that reached to his feet, his head bare, his white hair descending in a frothy cataract to his shoulders, his seamy face unnaturally pale, pale even to ghastliness. With all eyes following him and wondering, he made his silent way; without pausing, he ascended to the preacher's side and stood there waiting. With shut lids the preacher, unconscious of his presence, continued with his moving prayer, and at last finished it with the words, uttered in fervent appeal, "Bless our arms, grant us the victory, O Lord our God, Father and Protector of our land and flag!"

The stranger touched his arm, motioned him to step aside -- which the startled minister did -- and took his place. During some moments he surveyed the spellbound audience with solemn eyes, in which burned an uncanny light; then in a deep voice he said:

"I come from the Throne -- bearing a message from Almighty God!" The words smote the house with a shock; if the stranger perceived it he gave no attention. "He has heard the prayer of His servant your shepherd, and will grant it if such shall be your desire after I, His messenger, shall have explained to you its import -- that is to say, its full import. For it is like unto many of the prayers of men, in that it asks for more than he who utters it is aware of -- except he pause and think.

"God's servant and yours has prayed his prayer. Has he paused and taken thought? Is it one prayer? No, it is two -- one uttered, the other not. Both have reached the ear of Him Who heareth all supplications, the spoken and the unspoken. Ponder this -- keep it in mind. If you would beseech a blessing upon yourself, beware! lest without intent you invoke a curse upon a neighbor at the same time. If you pray for the blessing of rain upon your crop which needs it, by that act you are possibly praying for a curse upon some neighbor's crop which may not need rain and can be injured by it.

"You have heard your servant's prayer -- the uttered part of it. I am commissioned of God to put into words the other part of it -- that part which the pastor -- and also you in your hearts -- fervently prayed silently. And ignorantly and unthinkingly? God grant that it was so! You heard these words: 'Grant us the victory, O Lord our God!' That is sufficient. the *whole* of the uttered prayer is compact into those pregnant words. Elaborations were not necessary. When you have prayed for victory you have prayed for many unmentioned results which follow victory--*must* follow it, cannot help but follow it. Upon the listening spirit of God fell also the unspoken part of the prayer. He commandeth me to put it into words. Listen!

"O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle -- be Thou near them! With them -- in spirit -- we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it -- for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.

(*After a pause.*) "Ye have prayed it; if ye still desire it, speak! The messenger of the Most High waits!"

It was believed afterward that the man was a lunatic, because there was no sense in what he said.

===========================

NOTE: Twain apparently dictated it around 1904-05; it was rejected by his publisher, and was found after his death among his unpublished manuscripts. It was first published in 1923 in Albert Bigelow Paine's anthology, Europe and Elsewhere.


Date: 04 Oct 2002
Time: 16:41:06

Comment

By the way, it was me ... long absent and silent Eric in KS who posted the Mark Twain peace for my neighbor and sister Sue!


Date: 04 Oct 2002
Time: 16:41:43

Comment

By the way, it was me ... long absent and silent Eric in KS who posted the Mark Twain peace for my neighbor and sister Sue!


Date: 04 Oct 2002
Time: 16:42:29

Comment

Oops ... "peace" should be "piece" ... do you suppose that's Freudian? E in KS


Date: 05 Oct 2002
Time: 04:32:02

Comment

To tom in ga

You have good questions; do you have any good answers. If so, please share them. I'm sure there are others who would like to hear.

cna in AR


Date: 05 Oct 2002
Time: 09:33:07

Comment

cna in AR,

I think the answers are harder for they rest with every hearer of the Word. Jesus gives us an answer I think in the parable, but whether or not we hear it is another thing. I think what he says is that we must learn to live in community (relationship), we must let go of our private islands of self sufficiency, we must open ourselves to the reality beyond ourselves, we must recognize that life is not a possession but a gift. Indeed to understand all this and to embrace it in our actions is harvest the fruits of the kingdom.

tom in ga


Date: 05 Oct 2002
Time: 10:19:53

Comment

Tom in ga. In our "Seasons of the Spirit" curriculum, it says about WWC Sunday; "The origins of this day, and what to call it, are subject to some good-natured debate. It is generally called 'World Communion Sunday' although 'Worldwide' is preferred in Canada and some other areas. And, regardless of the name, it is celebrated in many parts of the world, but not by all churches. One story claims that, in the winter of 1935, a group of clergy in the US called for a worldwide Communion Sunday to focus on peace. They chose Novermber 1, 1936 - this being the month in which many nations observed the Armistice, or ending of the First World War. This one-time event happened in a Presbyterian Church. The idea caught on, and the Federal Council fo Churches in the US promoted this as an ongoing event, moving ti back to the first Sunday in October so as not to conflict with All Saints' Day. Another story claims that the event began with the efforts of Rev. Dr. Jesse M. Bader, an influential evangelical leader within the Christian Chruch (Disciples of Christ). Ever a strong promoter of ecumenism, Dr. Bader envisioned all of the churches of the world - whether they celebrated Communion weekly, as did his church, or less often - celebrating Communion all on one day together, as if we were all gathered at one big table. Regardless of the very beginnings, the idea grew amongst ecumenical groups around the world, and today many denominations and national church councils encourage Christians of all traditions to observe the symbolism of all Christians gathered at one table on this special day." I hope this helps. By the way. The other prophets of our day are the 1,500 scientists who have signed a document saying that we have to cut back on our consumption, otherwise we will depleate our resources by about the year 2070, and it will be a catastrophy. It's hard to listen to these prophets. Our "systems" seems bent on owning the world for ourselves. Brent in Pincher


Date: 05 Oct 2002
Time: 11:17:06

Comment

Leon in NC, would you share the story of the boy and the jade? thanks.

This request came over on the Philippians site. If you see this would you post that story. It sounds like something I could use.

Thanks, VAinNY


Date: 05 Oct 2002
Time: 16:48:11

Comment

Brent in Pincher ,

Thank you so very much for the history of World Communion Sunday.

Peace, tom in ga


Date: 05 Oct 2002
Time: 19:15:27

Comment

I know it is a late Saturday night and I"m not preaching tomorrow, but wondered if this text could be read not as an allegory but as a parable. Those listening would resonate with the tenants, they know what it is like to have an Absentee Landowner, and a desire to have the land back that their family once owned, yet was taken because they couldn't pay taxes.

The Pharisees wish to kill the tenants, get rid of them, but Jesus corrects them. Have you not read?, he says. Those rejected will be the cornerstone. Those no good, no account, worthless, tenants will be the ones who will go into the kingdom of God. The ones who have been taken advantaged of and rejected will be the cornerstone of the kingdom of God and not those who believe themselves to be worthy of it.

It is way out there I know, but might have some merit. Do you think?

RB


Date: 07 Oct 2002
Time: 08:03:01

Comment

someone contributed children using TV ads expressing the love of God...I can't locate it...but would love to have it...can anyone help?


Date: 5/7/2003
Time: 8:20:06 AM

Comment

fuckers


Date: 5/7/2003
Time: 8:20:07 AM

Comment

fuckers


Date: 6/12/2003
Time: 1:38:14 AM

Comment

What do the things in the parable stand for?


Date: 6/12/2003
Time: 1:38:15 AM

Comment

What do the things in the parable stand for?