November 2 – Matthew 23:1-12
Hypocrisy is a human phenomenon. It is not unique to Christians but Christians are prone to the accusation on account of the high moral standards often espoused as ‘being Christian’. Hypocrisy is approximately equal to the gap between the story we tell and the way we live. It is the ‘acting’ bit wherein we pretend to be something that we are not.
The really damning part is that as those saved by Grace in Christ we have no reason to pretend. We can own our brokenness and live in our skin with gratitude and generosity.
Ask someone (who knows you well enough and who has the guts to be honest with you) where they see gaps between what you say and how you live. See if they are willing for you to return the blessing.
November 9 – Matthew 25:1-13
The culture upon which this story is based is a long way from today’s approach to weddings. But it is not difficult to get the message that it was important to be alert to the imminent yet unspecified time of arrival of the bridal party. The planning in regard to extra oil alerts us to the reality that waiting is not passive. It requires focus and planning.
The story indicates those who are busy doing stuff they belatedly realise to be important exclude themselves by further missing the point — being present to welcome the party’s arrival. Can you identify areas where you suspect you might be ‘missing the point’ in the activities of your faith? What is essential and what is peripheral?
November 16 – Matthew 25:14-30
Far from being a theological rationale for unrestrained capitalism, this story draws out the opportunity/responsibility of each person to contribute according to their capacity. The joy of the productive slaves (who incidentally remain slaves) was to enter into the joy of their master and to be given still more responsibility. The joy is in the responsibility.
The sin of the third slave was that he missed the whole point and turned away from his opportunity/responsibility.
Consider your capacity and what you do with it. Are you engaging in the joy of your responsibilities or do you prefer to avoid them?
November 23 – Matthew 25:31-46
The most frightening aspect of this story is the manifest lack of awareness of both sides of the divide regarding their status and the reasons for it. The actions identified in the judgement are the unselfconscious out-workings of the values of the people involved (on both sides).
The actions of the people are deemed adequately articulate in and of themselves. If one was to discern the values of your life based solely on an exhaustive observation/evaluation of your behaviour, what do you think they would make of you? How different to anyone else are you (is that ok)?
November 30 – Mark 13:24-37
These apocalyptic sayings recorded in Mark remind us that the seemingly stable way familiar things are for us is not reality. Even the most trusted/stable of coordinate markers (the stars) will not hold their places. ‘The way things are’ does not equate with ‘the way things will be’.
The signs of change and transformation are everywhere around us and yet the critical moment is not known to us… so be on your toes! Don’t act/live as if this transformation is not taking place or you will most certainly be caught out.
Most of us prefer to put our trust in someone (or thing) bigger than ourselves. Wherein does your trust lie? How ready for transformation are you?
These reflections on the Lectionary for November 2014 were prepared by the Rev. Dave Gore