The parable of the dishonest manager
St Mary’s Marlborough, 22nd September 2019
Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity: 1 Timothy 2.1-7 & Luke 16.1-13
If you feel that this morning’s parable in Luke’s Gospel is a little bit confusing, you are certainly not the only one. For centuries, Christian theologians have been puzzled by the structure and meaning of the story of the dishonest manager. I even consulted my German compendium on Jesus’ parables, which doesn’t happen very often, witnessed by the eight-year old bookmark I found … Some themes are obvious: the parable has something to do with honesty and our attitude to wealth, but its overall message is by no means entirely clear.
It is even not clear where the parable ends. In the translation we heard this morning, the parable ends at verse 8, concluding the story by saying that the dishonest manager is commended by his master. However, an alternative, equally plausible, translation could be that the parable ends a verse earlier, and that the Lord, in other words Jesus himself, comments on the actions of the manager.
Continue reading “From crisis to blessing” →
Homily St Mary’s Marlborough, 9th September 2018
Trinity 15: James 2.1-10,14-17 & Mark 7.24-37
Every month, the Marlborough Churches Together ministers meet, both to support one another, as well as to discuss what we may do together. One of the things we have been doing together for a long time is the walk of witness on Good Friday. And ever since I have been here, every time we meet, this is a point of discussion. Some of us feel that Good Friday is a solemn day, so the procession through the High Street should reflect this. Others feel that a solemn procession is a terribly poor witness to the Christian faith, and we should be more upbeat and joyful to show the good news of the Easter message.
I leave to you to think in which group I may fall, but I do think that too often Christianity is seen as something ‘heavy’, something that weighs you down or restricts you. Every time a rich person is mentioned, it seems, it is in a negative way, as here again in James’ letter. And do we really need to see ourselves as beggars, saying that we are not even worthy to eat the crumbs from under a table, to be sincere and true Christians?
Continue reading “Steadfast in faith and active in service” →
Sermon preached at St James’s Cherhill 11 February 2018
Sunday next before Lent: Mark 9.2-9 & 2 Kings 1.2-12
On the last Sunday before Lent, traditionally we hear the story of the Transfiguration, this year in the version from Mark’s Gospel. The Transfiguration is recorded by Luke, Mark and Matthew as well as alluded to in the Second Letter of Peter. Some even argue that the famous words in John’s Gospel The Word became flesh and dwelt among us refer to this very event.
When we look a little bit closer at the story, we see that it is building up to a climax. First of all, there are only three disciples – Peter, James and John – who go up to the mountain with Jesus. This select company already points to the fact that something special is about to happen, and so does their journey up the mountain.
Continue reading “Transformative Faithfulness” →