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Weekly Liturgy : November 13 - 19

Parable of the Talents Annette Gandy Fortt. ©1987.
Parable of the Talents Annette Gandy Fortt. ©1987.
Matthew 25:14-30

The Message Translation


14-18 “It’s also like a man going off on an extended trip. He called his servants together and delegated responsibilities. To one he gave five thousand dollars, to another two thousand, to a third one thousand, depending on their abilities. Then he left. Right off, the first servant went to work and doubled his master’s investment. The second did the same. But the man with the single thousand dug a hole and carefully buried his master’s money.


19-21 “After a long absence, the master of those three servants came back and settled up with them. The one given five thousand dollars showed him how he had doubled his investment. His master commended him: ‘Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.’


22-23 “The servant with the two thousand showed how he also had doubled his master’s investment. His master commended him: ‘Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.’


24-25 “The servant given one thousand said, ‘Master, I know you have high standards and hate careless ways, that you demand the best and make no allowances for error. I was afraid I might disappoint you, so I found a good hiding place and secured your money. Here it is, safe and sound down to the last cent.’


26-27 “The master was furious. ‘That’s a terrible way to live! It’s criminal to live cautiously like that! If you knew I was after the best, why did you do less than the least? The least you could have done would have been to invest the sum with the bankers, where at least I would have gotten a little interest.


28-30 “‘Take the thousand and give it to the one who risked the most. And get rid of this “play-it-safe” who won’t go out on a limb. Throw him out into utter darkness.'

 

REFLECTIONS:


Thoughts from John: When we read these sorts of parables from Jesus, it’s easy to assume that the character with the most power (often Kings and Lords) are stand-ins for God. But if that’s our filter for understanding this text, then we’re left with a God who is pretty judgmental and vindictive. A God who supports the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. A God who uses violence to solve problems. A God very unlike Jesus.


And, indeed, Matthew starts the story by emphasizing that the master is “a man.”


So we ought to ask, who is the Christ character in this story? If it’s not the master who uses violence, perhaps it’s the slave who endures violence. The one who lives in fear. The one who is designated as the least “able.” The one who is victim to wealth inequality.


This is our Christ. And, indeed, the Kingdom of God is found in the places where this Christ resides. May we have the eyes to see it in our midst.



 

PRACTICE:


Outward Mindset Application

Think of an excuse you’ve been telling yourself about your work. This week, see if you can approach your work without the need to use this excuse.


Pathways Toward Centeredness

Activism (Loving God through Confrontation):

Is there someone in your life toward whom you have truth to share? If it is safe, ask that person to connect over a meal this week. Speak your truth to them as it is appropriate.


Questions for Reflection

Is it easy or is it difficult to imagine that the God of the Universe is most present in places of pain and darkness, rather than prosperity and power?

What would it take for you to see the person of Christ in the face of someone you are tempted to judge?

 

“Liturgy” refers to the habits and practices humans use to form community around shared values and meaning. At Church at the Park, we desire to be a community of practice, becoming people who see the world through the eyes of the marginalized, making meaning through the lens of pain and suffering, and committing ourselves to non-violence in a wounded world. This weekly email is intended to provide pathways of practice for becoming the type of people who embody these values.


Many of our reflections on each week's text come from other sources. If you're interested in reading more of what inspires us, here our our two favorite reflections.


Copyright (C) 2023 Church at the Park. All rights reserved.



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