Monday, July 04, 2011

Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23

Pentecost + 4 - Year A

Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23

After a year and a half of significant work on the Witness Team for Rev. Amy DeLong, LoveOnTrial.org, and the relief of a restorative justice decision by the trial court, I found myself exhausted and amazed. Now it is time to see if I can get back in the swing of consistent lection comments (that they come regularly, not that they are consistent, one comment with another).

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A parable explained is not a parable - it loses it parabolic arc when squoze down to an explanation and ends up a mere analogy. This is still a good, but no longer a better.

Here's another way of coming at the story, from the point of view of the storyteller. This from Provoking the Gospel of Matthew by Richard Swanson:

But the moment that catches my ritual eye most is the moment in the story when Jesus reports the harvest produced by the seed that falls on beautiful soil. Some seed produces a hundredfold. I imagine that the audience laughs at this point. Any farmer in the audience would have known that, if this seed is wheat, no wheat in the ancient world could produce a hundredfold. So, after the chuckle dies down, Jesus says: Well, then, how about sixtyfold? Another laugh. Sixty fold is still too high. Again the chuckle dies down. Again Jesus takes another try, and this time names a yield that would (at least nearly) lie in the realm of possibility.

. . . Now all that remains is to figure out why he's telling stories about farming when he is sitting in a boat with a shore full of fishing folk in front of him.

In that sort of incongruous setting, here is a parable of the lesbian pastor found at Crossing the Lines blog by Tyler Schwaller:

She was one of those liberated folks, one of those people who knows and trusts the love and grace God brings into her life, even in ways that others don’t expect. But this one went too far. She was nourished by love for, from, and with another woman, and this was against the rules. You know how those United Methodists are about their rules! The rule keepers asked how she could do what was not lawful and still remain in the church.

She answered, “The church was made for humankind and not humankind for the church.”

Then, as she stood within that church, two women approached her. They had been harmed by the church before, but through the grace and mercy shared by this spirit-filled pastor, healing began. Because they believed in God, they sought the blessing of the minister for their holy union.

The pastor asked those who would stifle her, “Is it lawful to do good or to do harm in the church, to save life or to kill?” Though she was grieved at the hardness of hearts in the United Methodist Church, she extended a hand of blessing.

Who might the audience be? Will they laugh in solidarity, recognition, impossibility?
 

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