Sometimes we come across passages in the Bible that seem crystal clear to us. Parables are generally not such passages. They are not designed to be. They really are set up for us to question, imagine, debate, and ultimately discover something important about God’s kingdom. The Gospel lesson that we will be looking at this weekend in worship (Luke 16:1-13 you can look it up in your own Bible or by opening up another window right now and going to bible.oremus.org) is probably one of the most unclear parables that Jesus ever told and has confounded scholars for centuries. So rather than trying to explain this one, I am simply going to give you a few questions to ponder:
1. Have you or a family member ever been let go from a job or passed over a job that you really wanted? What was that like?
2. What did the manager in this parable do when he saw that he was about to be fired?
3. Why did the manager take this action?
4. What do you think that Jesus is trying to say by the means of this parable?
5. If we treat this parable as allegory, where is Jesus in this parable? Where are the religious leaders? Who and where are the debtors?
6. Do you think Jesus might be using sarcasm in this passage? If so, where?
7. Do you see yourself in this parable and if so what might this message be saying to you?
8. What might this passage be saying about crisis, risk, and relationship?
I look forward to seeing some of you on Thursdays as we begin our weekly noontime Bible Study in St. Andrew’s Hall. (Feel free to bring your lunch.) Yes, we will be tackling this texts like this one. As for the rest of you, continue to ponder this text as well as the many ways that we manage the money that God has given us. I realize that money seems like a private matter to many and so the danger is that we don’t talk about it at all. A great site that can help you to think about your own personal finances an how you share those values with family and friends is sharesavespend.com, a site created by Nathan Dungan, a lifelong Lutheran and featured speaker on NPR.
On another topic, if as a church member you have not yet signed up for a focus group as part of our long range planning process, please contact Gregg Wagner (firstname.lastname@example.org) to set up a day and time. There are still slots available for September 25th and plenty of room for our gatherings on Sunday October 6th or Sunday October 13th (both at 1PM). We want as many voices to be heard as possible as we discern God’s future for us together.
“If on earth my days should lengthen, God my weary soul still strengthen; all my trust in you I place.
Earthly wealth is not abiding; like a stream away it’s gliding: safe I anchor in your grace.”
ELW # 589 – All Depends on Our Possessing
See you in church!