Signposts, 29th September, 2013: Jer.32:1-3a, 6-15; Ps.91:1-6; 1 Tim.6:6-19; Luke 16:19-31
Before I congratulate Paul for the beautifully gentle way he reproached me for the way I had dismissed the first letter to Timothy in the Signpost for 15th September, just because it wasn’t written by Paul, I want to put up a notice.
This Christmas will probably be the last time that I will be able to sail into the beautiful bay that Samuel Marsden sailed into under sail 199 years ago and preached the first sermon in N.Z. If the weather allows, I take a party of about 20 from Dove’s Bay Marina, to join up with the people who come by road to have a service of thanks by the Marsden Cross. This year I haven’t yet got a crew (3 or 4) to sail the boat up the coast from Ngunguru beforehand, and back afterwards (and on the day too, of course). If you feel that you could be one of that crew, or know someone else who might be interested, email email@example.com and I will give enough information that you can decide (not on the spot, of course) whether that you want to go further.
I read the text from Jeremiah straight through and through, vv.1-15. I couldn’t think why the verses 3b-5 are left out in the Lectionary. If you can think of a reason I’d be happy to hear from you.
The message from v.6 onwards seems a bit clearer. Jeremiah felt that his cousin’s arrival wanting to sell some land to him was God’s doing. He describes in detail how the business of changing the ownership is done. And the careful preserving of the record of the deal seems to mean that Jeremiah hoped to be able to come back some time and claim it when the occupation by the King of Babylon came to an end. We can’t be sure, but it looks like he didn’t, because in fact, the state of Babylon was over-run by the King Cyrus of Persia, whose Darius was happy to encourage groups of displaced people to go home and start to recover their way of life. (Sorry, history isn’t my best subject. If you want to go deeper, it’s in the first six chapters of Ezra.)
I’m reading an interesting book by Marcus Borg, called “Jesus, Uncovering the Life, Teachings, and Relevance of a Religious Revolutionary”. He points out that Jesus didn’t just tell his stories once, but chose them as they relate to the situation and response of his listeners. A case in point is the similarity between the servants ready for the return of their master in Luke 12:35-39, and the wedding attendants in Matthew 25:1-9.
There’s a different story, but similar theme – always being ready – in our Gospel today. I can’t but think that v.31 is a reference to The Resurrection, but it hadn’t happened yet.
P.S. Sorry this is being posted after the weekend, but we had tech problems and Paul didn’t receive it till today. Just as helpful after you’ve heard it read out loud though we hope.