Stay in the Soil

June 13, 2021

Church of the Servant Episcopal, Wilmington, NC

3rd Sunday after Pentecost; Proper 6 – Year B
Ezekiel 17:22-24; Mark 4:26-34

The audio is off in the beginning but gets on-track at about 2.5 minutes into the sermon.

Hydrangea L.A. Dreamin

mustard schrub

seed and soil

Why Parables?

June 14, 2015

Christ Church Episcopal, Norcross, GA

The 3rd Sunday after Pentecost; Proper 6 
Samuel 15:34-16:13; 2 Corinthians 5:6-10; Mark 4:26-34

(Gospel text is provided at the bottom of this post)

We begin our staff meeting each week with the Morning Devotional in the Prayer Book. As part of this, we read the gospel passage for the upcoming Sunday and share our thoughts about it. This past Tuesday, after hearing the gospel lesson you just heard, the question was raised: “Why did Jesus teach in parables, anyway?”

It’s a legitimate question. Even the disciples ask it. But the response found in scripture might surprise you. In Mark’s gospel, Jesus replies:

To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside, everything comes in parables; in order that

‘they may indeed look, but not perceive,

and may indeed listen, but not understand;

so that they may not turn again and be forgiven.’” (Mk 4:11b-12)

Say WHAT?

I thought the whole purpose of the gospels was to proclaim Jesus as the Messiah; to share the good news of Christ in the world; to open the doors for all to come and embrace the love and forgiveness of God, made manifest through the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Jesus Speaks Near the Treasury, by James Tissot

Jesus Speaks Near the Treasury, by James Tissot

So, why are the teachings given in such a way that’s confusing; in parables? What’s the point? In this age of immediate gratification, where information is available, literally at your fingertips, thanks to the iPhone, doesn’t this parable-approach risk losing the audience?

How are we supposed to interpret these parables? Even when we do, how do we know if we got it RIGHT? Isn’t that the goal, after all, to be RIGHT! To have THE ANSWER to how God works and what God wants from us? Just tell me plainly what I must do, and then I can decide if I’m willing to or not. Opt-in or opt-out. Just give me the facts, please!! Read the rest of this entry »

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