The Gospel today was the story of the Unjust Steward. Can anybody enlighten me with any kind of understanding of what it was about? I did my best in Crieff this morning – linking it with Confirmation for good measure – but I don’t feel up to providing you with the link. Indeed, my failure to grasp its meaning probably means that I could have linked it with almost anything without difficulty – the launch of a ship, the blessing of a new vacuum cleaner, etc. No doubt +Bob on his first episcopal Sunday went through it like a knife through butter.
I ducked out and took the Sunday School while a lay member of our congregation preached – and hers was the best sermon I’ve ever read on the passage. It’s on our website: http://www.holytrinitystirling.org/sermons/looking for loopholes
A good source for helping with Lukan head-scratching is Kenneth E Bailey Poet and Peasant – a literary-cultural approach to the parables in Luke, Eerdmans, 1988
No doubt there was a lot of head scratching amongst the clergy last week. Don’t know what those mo learned than i would say, but I began with the hoary old story of the man who falls over a cliff, grabs onto a branch and then calls out, “Is anybody up there?” god answers and asks him what he wants. “To be saved from falling, of course.” “Certainly, my son,” says god. “First you must let go of the branch.” The man thinks for a moment and then shouts, “Is anybody else up there?” Letting go of a short term gain (the remitted interest on the debt, which might have been one of the perks of his erstwhile job) in order to gain some long term security. Whether that is a justifiable interpretation or not I can’t say, but then neither could the congregation and at least it was fruitful of ideas for the rest of the sermon!
I’m so glad to know that I was not alone in my bewilderment. I thought that honesty was the best policy and at the beginning I reminded our congregation of the ideal filing system with its three drawers – ‘Today’, ‘Tomorrow’ and ‘Too difficult’…
Would not wish to teach grandmother etc, but – I’ve always seen it as a piece of Jewish logic that went ‘if A is true (which the reader/hearer will agree), then how much more B’.. the profligate steward realises he will starve when sacked and his priorities become focussed. He uses shrewness to ensure he will get by on hospitality(a BIG thing then)and not starve (no jobseeker’s allowances then) and so says Jesus, if someone with such a worldly perspective can relaise this HOW MUCH MORE should we (children of light) who see the eternal dimension prioritise our lives where wht will last is far more iportant. Mammon of unrighteouness gets a number of odd translations but ‘worldly wealth’ and its perpective seem to be the sense. It’s a view of a Lukan comparison parable which he seems to like!
Really hard – but this is a summary of my preaching thoughts:
I’m so happy you said that! I had to preach today (a lay-team Sunday) and had to be bailed out by using St Matthew’s day readings instead. I was in a doom …
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