Thursday, 16 October 2008

What not to wear - a sermon for Trinity 21

This sermon is by Paul Heatherington, one of our Readers. Or it would be - if I could get the document to up-load properly! Sorry I can't provide a working link.

Paul looks at St. Matthew's take on the invitations to attend the king's son's wedding feast (not the one illustrated at Cana, though I wonder if this was in Jesus' mind when he told his original story) - and he makes a good point about connections with themes in the Isaiah reading given as the Old Testament reading for Trinity 21. I'd be interested in exploring further the contrasts with St. Luke's take on the story. Why is there so much violence in Matthew's version? Why the point in Matthew about the man who came wrongly dressed being thrown out "into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth"?

In short, I wonder if Matthew really "gets" the point of the story? This wonderful image of a king / God, who distributes "admit for free" invitations without limit - but mustn't there be a catch?

Isn't that the problem so often with the Church? We can't quite grasp the sheer limitlessness of God's grace, so we look for the catch. We try to explain the parables, rather than simply let them speak. Matthew seems to be trying to apply this story to a world of violence and rejection. He wants it to be relevant to his readers. But the problem of seeking relevance is that we straightway limit the Gospel message. We need to let Christ speak for himself.

How... is the quandary that the Vicar of St. Cuthbert's is wrestling with. I'd like you to be able to read Paul's sermon, and have a think about it yourself. But until I can get our "esnips" account working properly...

No comments: