November 17, 2016
for Sunday, Nov. 20
This is a short, straightforward parable, isn't it? After all, it's pretty obvious that the Pharisee is the bad guy and the tax collector the good guy. However, there is more to this passage than what we see at first glance. In the introduction, v. 9, the purpose and thrust of the parable is given. Then we have the parable itself in vv. 10-13, followed by comments on the parable (v. 14).
The Pharisee is not a villain and the tax collector a hero. By interpreting the passage in this way, each gets what he deserves. Isn't there something that just doesn't wring true with that interpretation? Heaven help us if any of us gets what we deserve. The Pharisee is not a villain, but rather he represents complete dedication to observing the law of Moses. In fact, he even exceeds the law's demands. His prayer is a common rabbinic expression of thanksgiving prefaced by the claim of the psalmist with reference to personal behavior in Psalm 17:3-5.
Nor is the tax collector the hero. He prays according to Psalm 51, but his life is offensive. By virtue of his profession, his life is offensive. He takes more than he should in taxes for his own comfort. He also works for the Romans, the oppressors of the Jewish people and the occupiers of their homeland. This parable is radical! If we take these two as the good and the bad guys, we rob the parable of its radicality. Both men are sinners just as each of us is. The point of the parable is that God justifies the ungodly. The Pharisee trusted in himself; the tax collector trusted in God: that is the difference.
33When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. 34Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots to divide his clothing. 35And the people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!” 36The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, 37and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” 38There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.” 39One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” 40But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43He replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
Names will remain of the Prayer List for a month - at which
time it will be taken off unless, or course, there is still a continued need
for our prayers and we’re asked to keep the name on.
***Fran Ward will be out of the office beginning November 8th and returning December 6th. Katie Castro will be filling in on Fridays. During that time, Katie will send out the E-Ministry on Friday.
*** Healthy Bones Exercise Class continues at St. Timothy. Classes for this session are held at 9:00 am on Monday & Wednesday through December 14th.
***Mark your calendar:
Advent Fest/Hanging of the Greens will be Sunday, December 4th. Pot-luck meal with meat provided at 5:30, decorating at 6:30, carols to follow.
***Munchies with Macholz
Please join Upstate New York Synod Bishop John Macholz, Monday December 5th, 6 – 8:30 PM at Christ Chapel on the Lutheran Campus for a reception and Town Meeting. Chef Dave will again provide lots of delicious savory and sweet finger foods for the reception. The Town Meeting portion will begin by 7 PM. This is a chance for informal conversation with the Bishop. All are invited and encouraged to attend. Christ Chapel is located at 715 Falconer Street, Jamestown.
***Sunday is Christ the King Sunday and Stewardship Sunday. How apropos that these two should coincide. Jesus is King of our lives, which includes our giving. This is the day we would like your Estimates of Giving. You may use this online form to give your Estimate of Giving at this link:
· For our community of faith as we seek to do God’s work in the world.
· For those in our congregation and community who suffer silently with illness, financial burdens, and family obligation.
· For victims of violence and their families in all places
· For the family and friends of Candy Xander, Dr. Gerald Magneson, Don Frank,Barb Simpson, Taylor Samuelson, Burgeson Orman, Bob Samuelson, Danny Faulkner nad Shari Robbins, Arden Johnson, Jill Scott, Bill Reel, Helen Cogliano, John Bylund, Joanne Aron, Pastor John Klatt, JoLynn Stearns, Scott Stearns, Zachary Frazier, Todd Reel, Maj-Britt Traynor, Gerald Ayers, Matt Isaacson, Sandra Kelderhouse, Thom Shagla, Ralph Prieur, Mary Anne, Ryan Samuelson,
· For people serving in the military and their families, those caught up in war who have no safe home in which to live.
· For all children, that the love of Christ may reach them through all of us who have resources to love, protect, pray and provide for them.