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Posted by Paul Edwards (Fr. Paul) on Sep 18, 2014 | Comments (0)


Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Click here to go to the Bottom Line Meditations for the Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Godly Abiding Spiritually in Jesus Changes the Meaning of What we See Worldly When Not Abiding in Jesus.

Spirituality is our innate ability to feel the difference worldly or godly thinking makes to the way scripture translates to our daily life and relationships.

All Scripture is a testimony to Jesus Christ, who is the Word of God. He is the complete revelation of God’s will of grace for salvation. Grace is the only unfailing rule of faith and practice for the Christian life.

The Gospel of grace is: rather than trying to be more faithful to become faithful, we become faithful by feeling the Faith God already has for and in us.

The Strength of Christianity is Grace

John 1:14 “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

Another name for Jesus is "Grace". Another name for God is "Grace". We are saved by GRACE. "Love" is not Love if it is not grace. This is true for "Faith", "Hope", "Joy" and all other theological words of significance in the scripture.

Until someone experiences the grace gift in their lives, all other theological words have no real meaning. Why not begin to use the word "grace" in place of "Jesus", "God", "the Spirit", "Love" and so on? It might seem inappropriate to do so. However, until it is actually experienced it will make no sense at all.

That is what this year is all about. Grace, did you get it?

 

Raise your hand if you’re sure: Grace has the authority to let Jesus do whatever He wants to do.

Pray this prayer from the Collect for this Sunday:

”O God, Grant us the fullness of your grace, that we may become partakers of your heavenly treasure.”

Now quietly move into God's Presence and pray the prayer again:

“O God, Grant us the fullness of your grace, that we may become partakers of your heavenly treasure.”

Did you feel the difference?

 

Matthew 21:23-32 "By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?"

This story starts with Jesus being challenged to state the authority that gives Him the right to cleanse the Temple. He will give them the answer if they will answer His question: Did they believe John the Baptist’s authority was human or Godly. They refuse to answer for fear of the crowd. He will not answer them either.

He then goes on to give them the answer. He tells them this story. “What do you think? A man had two sons. He said to one, ‘Go and work in the vineyard today.’ The son said, ‘I will not.’ But later, he changed his mind and went. The second son said. ‘I will go.’ But he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?”

Reading this story literally, it is about doing God’s will. If so the answer is simple, you must do the Father’s will. The problem with the literal response is it does not know grace. It tries to put a square peg in a round hole. This scripture is not about doing God’s will. It is about the authority that gives Jesus the right to do what He does.

The literalists will keep their attention to what is written. They ignore the fact that Jesus has entered Jerusalem with great crowd recognition. He immediately goes to the Temple. There in the Temple He finds the money changers selling their wares with outrageous prices to the pious believers. We know what happens next. The money changer’s tables are tossed over and their animals are set free.

No one dares confront Him on this day. This event is the start of the confrontations that continue throughout the Passion Week. It is the same question, by what authority gives you the right to do what you are doing? If He tells them, it is from God they have Him for blasphemy, which is punishable by death.

Jesus does not tell them by what authority He is doing these things. It is not because he might be put to death. He is ready for that. He knows no matter what He says, they will find something to sentence Him to die.

What He is telling them is about grace. When we read His parables literally they have many different meanings. When we understand grace they only have one meaning: To tell us what grace is.

What has this story to do with grace? It is not about doing God’s will, or being faithful, it is about choice. We have the choice to either be in or out of God’s grace. We must be willing to choose to be in His Presence before we can do anything. 

Jesus is telling them by what authority He is doing these things. He is doing them because He chooses to be in the Presence of God’s grace. When we are in His Presence this is what you do. It is not a Law, it is a life style. If you were in God’s grace you would not be trying to scam the devout believers. The authority comes from being in His Presence. It is our choice. It has nothing to do with authority, obedience or even belief. It is the graceful thing to do when we are in His Presence. It has to do with what commandments we follow, the Law of Moses or the Law of grace. 

Jesus goes further to say to the religious leaders that you did not choose to change your minds and believe John even after tax collectors and the prostitutes chose to believe him.  They are going into the Kingdom of God, which is to choose to be open to experience the Presence of God.

Who is our authority? The Bible tells us Jesus is the Word of God. John 1:1 This means what Jesus says has authority over all other scripture in the Bible. The only Law is to do the graceful thing. It would be difficult to change someone’s mind who does not believe this. How difficult would it be for you to change your mind if you did not believe in Jesus when you are out of the Presence or then when you are in the Presence of the grace of God?

“O God whose blessed Son made himself known to his disciples in the breaking of bread: Open the eyes of our faith, that we may behold him in all his redeeming work.”


THE DISCIPLE-SHIFT: The Virtual Small Group: Members share once a week with their group through the internet when a shift from being out to being in the Presence made a difference.


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