Cromey Online

The writings of author, therapist, and priest Robert Warren Cromey.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Luke 16:1-13

Then Jesus* said to the disciples, ‘There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was squandering his property. 2So he summoned him and said to him, “What is this that I hear about you? Give me an account of your management, because you cannot be my manager any longer.” 3Then the manager said to himself, “What will I do, now that my master is taking the position away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. 4I have decided what to do so that, when I am dismissed as manager, people may welcome me into their homes.” 5So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he asked the first, “How much do you owe my master?” 6He answered, “A hundred jugs of olive oil.” He said to him, “Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it fifty.” 7Then he asked another, “And how much do you owe?” He replied, “A hundred containers of wheat.” He said to him, “Take your bill and make it eighty.” 8And his master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly; for the children of this age are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light. 9And I tell you make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth* so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into the eternal homes.*
10 ‘Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much. 11If then you have not been faithful with the dishonest wealth,* who will entrust to you the true riches? 12And if you have not been faithful with what belongs to another, who will give you what is your own? 13No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.’*

I hope you have listened carefully to the parable that Jesus has just told us. St. Luke relates the story in his gospel. I have wrestled with the meaning of this story all of my preaching life and also this week in trying to figure a sermon out of it.  Maybe Luke was having a bad day.

I choose to interpret this parable by Jesus like this. “The point of the parable is that shrewd and the faithful are welcome in the kingdom of God?

Some believe in heaven and hell. If you are good you go to heaven. If you are bad you go to hell.  You can believe in them if you wish. We don’t give you a quiz on what you believe in this church.

Jesus spoke of the Kingdom of God. Peaceable Kingdom where the lion lies down with the lamb, the child plays with the deadly snakes, where peace, love and forgiveness are the basic values.

The parable says that after death all people are welcome into that heavenly home, the shrewd and the faithful, the rich and the poor, the sick and the dying, the truly evil and those of high virtue.

The church can think that way too.

Do we welcome the sex offender? Do we welcome in our neighborhood low cost housing? Do we welcome the woman or man newly released from prison? Do we welcome a shelter for LGBT homeless youth? Do we
welcome an undocumented person fleeing deportation?

We do welcome the homeless through our Gubbio Project letting homeless people have a nap on our church floor and breakfast from 6 AM until 10 AM, 5 days a week..
We welcome those who want or need food to the Julian Pantry.

We certainly welcome people who lie. Raise your hand if you have never told a lie….and I’ll show you a liar.

We welcome Non Believers – Believers. Pray-ers – non prayers

I heard a fascinating story about a World War II prisoner of war held by the Japanese. Japanese soldiers were noted for their cruelty. The Japanese guard, unbeknownst to his fellow soldiers, was a Christian and an Anglican, known in Japan as Sei Ko Kai. While marching the prisoners one day to a welcome but measly meal, the Japanese guard quietly started humming the tune of this hymn. Publish Glad Tidings, Tidings of peace.”

It is (or was) one of the best known and best loved hymns of Anglicanism. The prisoners then knew that they had a friend among their captors.

The kingdom of God is not heaven or hell. The K of G is a banquet, a feast, a mighty meal. The K of G is a great welcome home to the good and bad in a splendid banquet.

Jack was a huge muscled man just released from prison.
He said food is better at Trinity than at Glide. Jack became a helper in the feeding program, came every night to set up and clean up and became part of the givers and supporters of the program

Feeding the hungry is a band-aid and but necessary.

How to stop hunger? We have to stop Water pollution, overworking the land, destroying trees and forests, polluting the air and earth by industry and governments. That is what makes the poor and hungry.

We help all have a banquet by the people we vote for and opposing the policies that cause havoc to the environment.

As we await the heavenly banquet, we work that that the poor and hungry are not further burdened by ecological disaster.

As we come to the table for the bread and the wine we have a foretaste of that Heavenly banquet.


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