The Cost of Compassion

Ninth Sunday after Pentecost

 

 

Genesis 32:22-31

Romans 9:1-5

Matthew 14:13-21

Quoting Henry Ford, Dale Carnegie wrote in his seminal, bestselling self-help work How to Win Friends and Influence People (1936), “If there is any one secret of success it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from their angle as well as your own.” While Carnegie might not have been the first public figure to package this brand of empathy for the masses, he was certainly one of the most prominent. In the decades since, the move he describes here, of understanding “the other person’s point of view” has come to be adopted by businesspeople, politicians, gurus and ministry experts as an effective sales technique, a surefire campaign strategy, a can’t-miss item in our evangelistic toolkit. Empathy sells. Compassion pays off. Read more

The Present and Hidden Kingdom

By Johnny Tuttle

Eighth Sunday After Pentecost

Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52

I am a sucker for the universality – the “catholicity”[1] –  of this string of parables. They seem concerned, not simply with identifying the Kingdom of God, but the universal reach of its presence.

Certainly, the mustard seed is a speck in the field. Yet, as the parable announces, it grows into “the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” I suppose you could debate whether the mustard seed is indeed the smallest seed, or whether it is the greatest of shrubs when it is grown; I’ll pass on that debate. It seems the point, rather, is that the entirety of this “sprawling” plant – one large enough to house the birds of the air in its branches – is contained by the seemingly insignificant seed. Read more

Waiting With Eager Longing

Seventh Sunday after Pentecost

Genesis 28:10-19a and Psalm 139:1-12, 23-24 

Wisdom of Solomon 12:13, 16-19 or Isaiah 44:6-8 and Psalm 86:11-17

Romans 8:12-25

Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

What a strange and interesting time we live in! It has been fascinating to observe the reactions of people in my networks as they grapple with feeling trapped at home, with having to teach or simply appease frustrated, restless kids, and with the fears of the impact of the virus (real and imagined) on communities, on families, and ultimately (you knew this was coming) on themselves individually. In other words, what about ME? Read more

The Yoke of Injustice

Proper 9, Year A

Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30

The July lectionary readings from the Gospel of Matthew are threaded together with agricultural images that run through Jesus’ teachings.  Jesus invites his disciples in this week’s scripture to shoulder his “easy yoke.” Next week’s teaching will bring news of productive soils and seed. The third week of July finds Jesus talking about weeds and wheat, and the last Sunday reading of July provides a cornucopia of agrarian themes: the small mustard seed that blossoms into something big, a field that contains a treasure, and vivid images of the harvest. Read more