Sermon: The reluctant guests.

Matthew 22:1-14

St Mary’s Whitby, October 12 2014

Rev. Felicity O’Brien

I’m going to look at today’s Gospel in two parts, and I’ll explain why a bit later.

The first part of the parable of the wedding banquet is like last week’s reading about the vineyard and the owner, who sent his slaves and then his son. Do you remember how the first group were ignored, the second ill-treated, and the third killed?

Today’s parable is like that too. The king sent his slaves with an everyday message – the wedding feast is ready, it’s time to come. In the first century wedding guests knew that they were invited, and roughly when the wedding would be, but the actual timing of the wedding had an element of surprise in it – remember the story of the wise and foolish virgins.

So the king would have been doing nothing unusual in sending out a message that it was time to gather.

What was unusual is that the invited guests didn’ t come! Can you imagine being invited to a wedding, or a party, and looking forward to it, but when the time came, not caring enough to be bothered coming? No, it isn’t normal behaviour is it? As in many of the parables, Jesus uses an arresting and incongruous image, which would have made people laugh. Continue reading

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Sermon: Resurrection!

Easter Sunday April 20 2014

Acts 10:34-43, Col 3:1-4 Mat 28:1-10

The last few weeks have been quite a journey, haven’t they?We have followed Jesus and the disciples as he preached and healed around Judea, and we have heard about the murmurings of the establishment, as they grew into a tsunami of opposition. The tension has increased, with or without background music – as on the one hand here was a man claiming to be the very Messiah they longed for, but on the other hand, here was a man claiming to be the Messiah! The people in ancient Israel had a dilemma to face. Was Jesus really who he  said he was?

In our readings over the last few weeks, we have seen more and more clearly that he truly did have the power of God with him, the Holy Spirit that could set people free, forgive, heal, and even raise the dead to life! Surely it should have been obvious to the crowds that Jesus really was the Messiah? Continue reading