PENTECOST 17C

September 19, 2010  

 SCRIPTURES
Jeremiah 8:18-9:1. Although he understands why the doom he has prophesied is happening, Jeremiah grieves for the pain and destruction of his people.

Psalm 79:1-9 or Psalm 4
It is true that Mr. Wesley deleted this psalm, along with 49 others, while heavily editing a good number of those remaining, from the daily prayer lectionary he sent to the Methodists in the United States, "as being highly improper for the mouths of a Christian congregation." In his day, the Psalms were being prayed on a 30-day calendar without specific reference to other texts. Today, though the 30-day calendar for the whole psalter remains as an ecumenical practice for daily prayer, Psalms for Sunday are specifically chosen for their ability to offer prayer that enters into and engages the world of the first lesson. We do well to follow the historical and ecumenical patterns that do not excise or censor any of the Psalter.

1 Timothy 2:1-7. Paul provides direction for what should be included in the prayers of the people and in what order. The people's ministry of prayer enters into the ministry of Jesus as mediator and the will of God that all should be saved.

Luke 16:1-13. Jesus praises a shrewd steward and commends his disciples to follow his example


-I prefer to preach around this parable as it is so problematic. However, I do tell the congregation what some of those problems seem to be. See "SERMON TITLES" for ideas for preaching around the parable. Lindy

-Augustine said, “I can’t believe that this story came from the lips of our Lord.” Luke himself appears to have had trouble with this story, because Luke seems to have added a few clarifying verses at the end. Luke has Jesus say that we cannot love God and money. True, but does it really relate to this parable?

- This story highlights our need to take great care in interpreting pieces of scripture in light of their context.

-Crazy up side down grace.''

- This story as in The Prodigal Son and the story of Jacob
is the ridiculous nature of God's grace and our call to live in it.

- Today's gospel is centered on one action: forgiveness.

- A T shirt saying, "Love is for losers"

- "I knew I should have scheduled a guest preacher for this Sunday!

- He doesn't like being stolen from but he can still see the artistry of the crime.

-This parable, when you really look at it, isn't really about the dishonest steward at all. It's about an extremely generous and understanding master.  Bass Mitchell

- There is an extensive study of this parable at Honor Restored

- Barclay: "Luke attaches four different lessons to the parable".
a. In verse 8 the lesson is that the sons of this world are wiser than the sons of light. If only the Christian was as eager and ingenious in his attempt to attain goodness as man of the world is in his attempt to attain money, comfort, etc.
b. In verse 9 the lesson is that material possessions should be used to cement the friendship....
c. In verse 10 and 11 the lesson is that a man's way of fulfilling a small task is the best proof of his fitness or unfitness for a larger task.
d. In verse 13 the lesson is that no slave can serve two masters, etc.

- We can't understand this parable unless we realize we are already like the unjust steward. We are God's stewards and we have squandered what God has given us. (talents, gifts, etc.) . We too, are about to be fired. Will we ignore the charges or will we respond shrewdly? We are to imitate not his dishonesty but the wisdom, prudence, the foresight, the shrewdness, etc. If even this unrighteous steward makes provisions for his future, how much more should we make provision for our eternal future.

-How you use money shows who your master is. Your heart follows your money and also, your money follows your heart. Are you investing your money with eternal returns?  Michael Shea

-A majority of scholars agree that the parable ends with 16:8a rather than 16:7. Moreover, most scholars seem to agree that the interpretations which follow the parable in 16:8b-13 are either only tangentially related to the parable or they represent misinterpretations of a parable told by Jesus by the author of the gospel. In either case, interpretations that attempt to include 16:8b-13 are relatively rare. David Landry

-Exegetical Notes by Brian Stoffregen

-Throughout Luke’s parables there is a special concern for the poor, the social outcasts. The stories are about shepherds, women, tax collectors. Lazarus the scaly beggar is elevated to the bosom of Abraham, the servants preparing for the Great Banquet are sent out to bring in the blind, the lame, the crippled. The Greek word for the manager in our parable is oikonomos the root of our word economy.

-Someone has said that there are two kinds of parables;
one is the "Go Thou and Do Likewise" type of parable, and the second is the "How Much
More" type. The parable we studied this morning is not a "Go Thou and Do Likewise"
parable. This is a "How Much More" parable, meaning that if a dishonest manager can
ensure his future with shrewdness, "how much more" should Christians be astute and
shrewd in advancing the cause of God? If in the secular world cleverness, ingenuity,
aggressiveness, and risk-taking are axiomatic for success, how much more should those
committed to the Realm of God be creative, aggressive, and willing to take risks to
ensure the future of God's creation? Don Friesen

- This is a difficult scripture!! You might want to preach on 'Parables' remembering that they tell us about God, not about us. This would help with a children's message also. Good luck! Lindy

SERMON IVE BEEN AWAY FOR 10 DAYS SO HAVE NO SERMON THIS WEEK.

SERMON TITLES
- How much More Should We...?
- There Was a Crooked Man
- Masters
- Long Term Investments
- Borrowed Items
- Find the Poverty in Your Riches


HUMOR
-It reminds me of the clever preacher — if you can imagine such a thing — who was approached by two men who offered the preacher a thousand dollars to do their brother's funeral. It was a manageable request, but the deceased had been the worst sinner imaginable, and his brothers stipulated that in his eulogy the preacher had to refer to him as a saint! On the day of the funeral, the preacher got up and said: "This man was a drunk. He was a cheat. He was a thief and a scoundrel, but in comparison to his brothers, he was a saint! Don Friesen
-Laziness is resting before you get tired
-How much did he leave? He left it all.
- In the language of today's business world, the steward has procured a "golden parachute" to guarantee a prosperous landing when it is time to bail out.
-A church blooper: The Bethel Lutheran Church's Sunday service "will be Powell's the Lord Jehovah Resigns'" (The Lutheran, June 1993). If the Lord God ever thought about resigning, rather than reigning, this might be a good Sunday to do it, given today's Gospel reading!. (Luke 16:1-13)
-There's an old story about a preacher speaking to a children's Sunday school
class. He asked the question, "What must one do to be forgiven of sin?" One
of the kids answered, "First of all, you have to sin."
-Calvin Coolidge attended church alone one Sunday, because his wife was ill.
When he returned home he went to his wife's room to see how she was feeling.
She reassured him that she would be fine and asked him if he had enjoyed the
sermon. He replied in a weak affirmative. "What was it about?" she continued.
"Sin." "What did the minister say?" "He's against it."
 
QUOTES
-Our desires are not too strong but too weak. We are far too easily pleased  C.S. Lewis
-let us then lay up our treasure in heaven, and expect our portion from thence.
-Have to learn how to be rich and poor at the same time. 
-What I gave, I have; what I spent, I had; what I kept, I lost. An old English epitaph
-Are you planning for your loooooonnnnggg term future? Are you shrewd? Are you really shrewd?  Are you planning for twenty years or twenty light years?
-“A person’s true wealth is not in what they keep but in what they give away.”
-Many times we feel rich then something happens and we see how poor we really were.
-We must find the more beyond the plenty.
-People are blue because they adore and want things they do not own. Ellis Cowling
- Kingdom of Thingdom. Rev. Daniel D. Meyer
-Money is a good servant but a poor master
-Power and status is the game and money is how to keep score.
- Money and fame represent a curious form of poverty....poverty of spirit.
- Money never made anyone rich. Seneca

CHILDREN Talk about parables. What are they, what do they teach?, examples, example of others besides Jesus'
2. see Sermon Titles for ideas

ILLUSTRATIONS
-Remember how you laughed when you saw the movie, The Sting? Remember how great it was when Paul Newman and Robert Redford outwitted the gangsters, swindling them out of their money? If a little guy puts one over on his rich boss, what do we care? . It’s fun to share Jesus’ delight. After all, the big guy is a money-grabbing capitalist pig, so maybe he deserves it! Willimon.

PRAYER PHRASES
-May God give us grace to be shrewd disciples in imaginative service to a vast and
eternal kingdom. Amen
-Forgive us when we try to live without a master . ...Free us from ourselves when we are too driven by our own appetites, wants and desires. When we live only to satisfy our own hungers. When we let our desires and emotions give us our purpose and our direction. When we become slaves to our creaturely needs. Oh God forgive us when we try to live without a master. Help us when we try to be our own master . Lindy
-...Sometimes we need to be free from our money, our homes (houses) our families, our jobs, our hobbies.... our friends.. sometimes we let them have too much control and power over us. Too often we allow THEM to give us our direction and our purpose. Oh God forgive us when our possessions own us...when we allow them and other people to be our masters. Lindy
-..we don't enjoy taking an honest look at ourselves. We avoid the truth about our lives. We escape from reality and into fantasy. We say we want to be near you, but then when you come in all your fierce and wonderful truth, we flee. Yet you have made us and named us and are determined to have us grow up to be the creatures you intended us to be. Go ahead, Lord Jesus. Keep at us, despite us. Amen James Howell .
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