A reflection by Rev. Dr. Thom Bower
For October 8 2017, the 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Based on Matthew 21:33-46
We’re in a section of Matthew of Jesus teaching with parables. These stories have a simple plot, but the characters and their actions are often confusing. The result are stories that give us riddles. What at first seemed to be a simple story has a twist that makes us think, a surprise that makes us wonder.
This morning’s parable comes from Matthew 21. It’s difficult to say what this parable is about: revenge, divine judgment, receiving Christ as God’s son. The concluding words of Jesus could be frightening. Listen trying to answer this question: what is this parable calling Lyonsville to do?
We have been told often it is impolite to discuss politics, money or religion in polite company. To anyone who says that, I say they have not read the bible very well. Today’s exhibit A: a parable of Jesus. We treat it as another harmless episode of Story Time with Jesus. For generations we have overlooked the political, the economic, and the religious issues that Jesus was talking about.
About 60 years before Jesus was born, Rome colonized the region of Judea. Yes, Romans had been present in the area before that, but it is at that time that Judea becomes a province of the Roman Empire. Sixty years is not a long time in a culture.
Sixty years ago in US history,
- Dwight Eisenhower began his second term as President,
- Elvis Presley purchases Graceland,
- the Edsel was released,
- the novel Atlas Shrugged is published,
- Shippingport Station, the world’s first atomic electric-power plant, opened
- in Arkansas the Little Rock Nine are prevented by the national guard from enrolling in high school,
- and the United Church of Christ is formed from the merger of the Congregational Christian Church and the Evangelical and Reformed Church.
A lot of cultural shift can happen in sixty years. Continue reading