Matthew 21:23-32 This Gospel lesson plays out almost like a theatrical scene: Jesus is met with a question and responds with a question which is lobbed around almost like a tennis ball among the officials and the people. With all the banter back and forth about how to answer the question and what that answer might imply, it quickly becomes clear that what was posed to Jesus as he approached was really more of a trap than an honest question. And so it is that Jesus uses a parable to further illustrate the folly of our attempts to please others (or God), which end up revealing our own lack of moral grounding. Jesus illustrates what we might call the “question behind the question” to strip away all of the pretense and break down the rhetoric around what one should say, in order to reveal one’s true intentions. The almost incomprehensible reality is that God doesn’t ask us to say and do what we think will please God. God asks us to come, humbly and honestly, exactly as we are with our hearts open to God’s transforming love.
Philippians 2:1-13“… be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.” The language of this Epistle to the Philippians tells us to be of the same mind, to have the same love and to do all of this because of the lavish and loving example set forth by Jesus Christ. It is sobering to read words written thousands of years ago and feel them still convicting our hearts and exhorting our actions about how to be Church in the world. At the core of the reminders of this Epistle are the virtues of humility and service. Or, in other words, “is it better to be right, or to be kind?” There are lessons in this Epistle for vestries, for church leaders and for our own devotional reflections. Jesus is our example: how do we find the humility to live in that example rather than succumbing to our own wants and needs?
Vicar’s Note: We want to thank each and everyone of you for your faithful support and financial contributions in completing one of the three capital projects of St. Mike’s. Grace and blessings. We will re-start our Wednesday prayer and bible study on October 7th, 5:30-6:30pm, via zoom. For our initial conversation, we will focus on Luke 17:11-19, our Thanksgiving Sunday Gospel lesson.