For the past couple of weeks we’ve heard about what the Kingdom of Heaven is like, according to Matthew’s Gospel. Spoiler alert: it involves radical forgiveness. First, we are told how to forgive (18:15-20) and then we are given a parable that overthrows the whole notion of keeping track of debts and wrongs (18:21-35). This upcoming weekend, though, we get the motherlode of what the kingdom of heaven is like: a landowner who keeps hiring workers throughout the day but who pays them all the same wage (20:1-16)! This is surely a challenge to all of us—what are we to make of such a parable!?!
Well, on Wednesday we had a fantastic conversation at the All Saints Annex (aka O’Shaughnessy’s) about that last parable with Professor Olivia Stewart Lester, who led us in conversation about the nature of parables and possible ways to interpret them and then invited us to think about who we identified with in the parable, what we think the meaning might be, and then challenged us to realize that parables ought to make us a little bit uncomfortable (in other words, WE are not usually the “good guy” in the parable).
Often we imagine that the Kingdom of Heaven is about, well, HEAVEN. But what if it’s about how we are living . . . now? What if the parables are challenging us to consider how we treat one another right now in our daily lives rather than (only) pointing us to the way God is or will be in the future?
Are you intrigued? Then join us for one or both of the next two Wednesdays to consider other provocative parables with some instruction from Olivia and lots of conversation with one another. See below for more information!
In other news, we have the opportunity to think about our own little Kingdom of Heaven here at All Saints and to support this good place as we kick off our Pledge Campaign on October 1. Stay tuned for more!
See you in church!