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Posted by Paul Edwards (Fr. Paul) on Oct 02, 2014 | Comments (0)


Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Click here to go to the Bottom Line Meditations for the Eighteenth 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?

 

It is. Are you? Life is a banquet, why are you starving to death?

Pray this prayer from the Collect for this Sunday:

“Lord, we pray that your grace may always precede and follow us.”

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

“Lord, we pray that your grace may always precede and follow us.”

Did you feel the difference?

 

Matthew 22:1-14 Many are called, but few are chosen

This parable is about the Kingdom. Rational Intelligence thinks in terms of the Kingdom of Heaven as a position or place above us. Spiritual Intelligence sees the Kingdom as a condition or Presence in us.

In this parable is the picture of a King getting ready to give His Son in marriage. He invites those who claim to be friends to come to the wedding. They refuse to come and violently kill his messengers. The King in his rage sends His troops out and they kill the murderers. Then, to have wedding guests, he sends his servants into the highways and byways to bring in and fill the wedding with guests, “both good and bad.” The wedding proceeds well until a man comes in not willing to put on the wedding clothes. The King has him thrown out of the party and into darkness.

Weddings today have a vestige of this custom. The bridesmaids and groomsmen all have the similar clothing so they do not outshine the bride and groom. In the parable, everyone put on the same coverings so as not to outshine the central figures of the marriage. This man thought he was better than anyone else. He wanted to draw attention to himself. He did not last long at the party.

Thinking rationally, the King has a party. When those invited do not come he lets everyone else in. The one who would not comply is thrown out into darkness. What else is there?

Wait a minute! What kind of wedding is this? It sounds as if we have a rageaholic King. This man is committed to make this marriage go off no matter what. He is killing his enemies and throwing out those who are not willing to follow orders. I am not sure if that is the wedding you want to go to. You do not know the bride or the groom. It is not the place to go to meet people you know. You may have a few friends there but you do not know the rest of the guests. Some are good and others, not so good.

This parable is not about the King. He obviously is not God.   It is about entering the Kingdom of God. Jesus set the tone in the previous chapter when He said, “Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.” Legalism mistakenly thinks we need to live good lives to get in the Kingdom. Grace understands we need to get into the Kingdom to live good lives.

“Many are called but few are chosen” is often interpreted with a literal way of thinking. God somehow calls many and then deletes some and chooses others like in the TV series “The Bachelor”. In this parable, it should be interpreted as: “Many are called but few choose to come.” God is calling all of us. It is our choice to come or not to come into His Kingdom by accepting His Grace and getting into His Presence now.

Some believe that entering the Kingdom does not happen when we are here on earth; that it happens right at the gates of Heaven, just before we enter. The righteous begin to judge those in the crowd about to enter. The story goes about a good man who died, and as a reward for a life well-spent, went to heaven. When he arrived, St. Peter met him at the gate. "Welcome," said St. Peter, "since you were such a good person in life, you may enter heaven."

"Thank you," said the man. "But before I come in, could you tell me what kind of other people are here?"

"Well, all kinds," replied St. Peter, “both good and bad.”

“Are there any convicted criminals in heaven?" asked the man.

"Yes, many," said St. Peter.

"Are there any atheists, or non-Christians in heaven?"

"Yes, there are more than quite a few," replied St. Peter.

"Are there any of my political enemies in heaven?" asked the man.

"More or less," said St. Peter.

"Well I certainly do not want to be in there with people of that sort.”

Peter replied, “See You!”

Many are called but few choose to respond.

“Almighty god, whom truly to know is everlasting life: Grant us so perfectly to know your Son Jesus Christ to be the way, the truth, and the life, that we may steadfastly follow his steps in the way that leads to eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord.”


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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