Good News in Hard Places

This week’s lectionary text is a familiar but difficult one.

For many of us, Matthew 25 recalls memories of sermons of the past — echoes of the sheep vs. the goats, cautionary tales about entertaining angels, or Jesus in disguise. There is an abundance of judgment for those seeking it, and we all find ourselves crossing our fingers, hoping to land on the King’s right side and avoid his left.

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The Lavish Landowner

When was the last time you read Scripture to know God more deeply? I know that sounds like an odd question, but for many, including myself, picking up the Bible is often more about uncovering practical life lessons or moral guidance, rather than seeking to connect with the Creator. For example, in this week’s parable of the landowner, it’s tempting to dissect it for lessons on jealousy, or fairness, or the enigmatic ways of God.

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Helicopter Gardening

In this week’s text, Jesus tells the parable of the wheat and the weeds. Someone sows weeds in a field of wheat, and the workers are concerned, wanting to uproot the offending vegetation immediately. The Master, however, is surprisingly relaxed about the whole thing. Just wait, you guys. If you try to weed now, you’re gonna tear up the wheat too. Be patient. I’ve got this.

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Peace Be With You


The point is that when faced with the worst of what humans can do to one another, Jesus’ response is “Peace be with you.” He even shows them His wounds, choosing to expose his vulnerability instead of acting violently or retributively out of His woundedness.

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Beyond Guilt

The Kingdom of Heaven coming near is the beginning of God’s new creation where God can come and dwell with His people forever.

In other words, the party has already started, and we are all invited whether we are attuned to that reality or not.

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Look at the Trees

Um, what? Why the downer when I’m getting ready to hang Christmas lights and set out the manger? Even the first candle on the advent wreath is for “hope,” not a concept I generally tie to fear and foreboding.

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It turns out, Jesus is. Once again, he takes the system and turns it upside down, blowing up societies’ rubric for what makes somebody a good person.

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Giving up on Control

In this week’s text, the Rich Fool thinks he can control and manage his life into a state of blissful completion. His land has been productive, and he has more than he knows what to do with. All he needs is a strategy, and he’ll have it made. “I know! I’ll just build bigger barns! Then I can relax and I’ll be happy.”

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Maundy Thursday

It’s Maundy Thursday, and today we read one of my favorite scenes in the Bible. It’s just hours before Jesus is betrayed, and I think it’s worth taking note of how he decides to spend this last evening with his disciples. He washes them, he feeds them, he gives them a new command: “Love one another.”

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