Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Taking responsibility...not apportioning blame

Readings for the 27th Sunday of the Year, October 5th 2008 can be taken from the following: Exodus 20:1-4, 7-9, 12-20 Psalm 19 Philippians 3:4b-14 Matthew 21:33-46

We have today a triptych of readings
about our relationship with God
and how we are to respond to the call of God on our lives.
The Ten Commandments
are an essential statement of universal values
which are widely, some would even say universally, accepted.
They could be seen as a legal code, I suppose,
but in reality the spirit of the Hebrew Scriptures
contained in the prophets
sees them more as a distillation
of a way communities might live together
and some of the fundamental principles
like the sanctity of life, the respect for property,
the importance of truth and integrity in relationships
Preceding all that is the key idea
that we are worshippers of the one true God,
the God who is (for want of a better word) jealous
and who will brook no rival.

The Gospel story is about recognising that
there is a responsibility for those who are in this relationship.
The responsibility is not to be legalistic
but to participate in a dynamic and active way in the life of the kingdom
The condemnation that Jesus holds out in this parable
is for those who make the mistake of thinking and acting
that this relationship is legalism
or for those who take the privilege of the covenant
without any responsibility.
It is a sombre warning
for those of us who religiously inclined.
God will try and try again to draw us into relationship
but if we simply ignore that invitation
or prefer legalism
then eventually we will be excluded.
Not because God is damning us
But because we remove ourselves
from the generosity of God's grace.
Relationship with Jesus
Paul's wonderful dissertation in Philippians
which also continues today, reminds us
that we can have perfect credentials
our ancestry impeccable
but all this is rubbish
by comparison
with what is being offered in Christ.
A relationship in God.
It is this that will motivate.

It is taking responsibility
to have a vital life in Christ
and not apportioning blame
or creating an elite
which will see us drawn into the kingdom.

This week
  • Is there one thing that may be standing in your way to being more faithful in Christ?
  • Is there one thing where God may be inviting a deeper, better response (an act of forgiveness, more fervent prayer, an act of charity...etc) and can we make that transition instead of preferring a legalistic way of little or no accountability.

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