Tap-dancing in front of your nose - Reflections 9-29-17

 Texts for Sunday October 1, 2017
Photo by Maja Petric, Unsplash

17th Sunday after Pentecost

 Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25- 32 
 Psalm 25:1-9
 Philippians 2:1-13 
 Matthew 21:23-32

For reasons I need not go into, all of our children’s learning groups are meeting together in one room on Sunday; preschool through 4th grade. The curriculum we use for those ages focuses on one of the lessons used in worship so they all study the same story – Matthew 21: 23-32 this week.  As I prepared the teachers to share the lesson, I discovered that there were different foci for each grade level. “The point of the story” for each group is surprisingly different. Before you go any farther, do read the Matthew text. What do you think is the main point?
I’ll wait.

So here are the 3 ways this story could be interpreted in our classroom this Sunday:
1) Jesus answers our questions.
2) It’s not only what we say, but what we do.
3) God gives us second chances.

Topics one and three seem to focus on our relationship with God, accepting and forgiving – a word of Gospel, if you will. And then the second one comes at you with a slightly judgmental attitude about how to behave properly – perhaps Law?

Where did you go with this text?

 I thought it was interesting that the smack down of the religious leaders’ challenge about authority ended up about John’s ministry. You wouldn’t know authority from God if it tap-danced in front of your nose – which it did. Jesus doesn’t directly answer their challenge about his own authority. 

And then for the record, those who “willed not” to live in righteousness (tax collectors and prostitutes) changed their mind, believed, and recognized that the authority came from God. So, what was it John proclaimed? Oh yeah… “repent”, as in “change your mind”. 

I guess that almost gets to “God gives us second chances”, doesn’t it?

And you?

Comments are welcome.

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Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Iowa City

Gathered by grace. Scattered for service.

123 E Market Street
Iowa City, IA 52245