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The Institute of Lutheran theology not only provides programs to train pastors and teachers, but it also provides educational and devotional resources for individuals and congregations. These resources are provided free of charge and made available through our web page. Please subscribe to and use any of these resources.

The Institute of Lutheran theology not only provides programs to train pastors and teachers, but it also provides educational and devotional resources for individuals and congregations. These resources are provided free of charge and made available through our web page. Please subscribe to and use any of these resources.

Twenty-Fifth Sunday After Pentecost A

Twenty-Fifth Sunday After Pentecost A

Our twenty-first-century ears hear the cursing of that miserly, fearful, and overly protective slave as justified and appropriate.  Who did he think he was, that he should refuse to multiply the talent he’d been given?  Those first-century ears though, they heard this as a scandal.  Their hero… the one-talent slave… the one who didn’t deprive their neighbors of a living… he who followed the law… their neighbor who was normed by cultural restraints and the teaching of the rabbis… their hero received a curse and a casting out.  The owners of those first-century ears would have been struck speechless at the casting of their hero into the outer darkness.  In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  Perhaps, then, given such consideration, we will realize that this parable isn’t about the talents and their multiplication.  The talents are simply a device to describe those who operate outside the law and social convention and the one who operates inside the law and within social convention.  In that distinction, Jesus is portrayed as that hard man, greedy enough to reap where he did not sow and to gather where he planted no seed.  Here is the harsh scandal:  the master of his domain operates entirely outside of the legal scheme… outside of the honor/shame system… outside of the safe and acceptable teachings of the tradition.  Furthermore, the master judges and condemns the very one who stands within the legal scheme… within the honor/shame system… within the safe and acceptable teachings of the tradition.  The Apostle put it this way: “For we consider that a person is declared righteous by faith apart from the works of the law.” (Ro. 3:28) This distinction is so stark and scandalous that Paul would say that one can be in Christ, or one can be under the law but you can’t be both under the law and in Christ at one and the same time.  Christ is your life; the law is your death sentence.  The law puts you as deep in the dirt as was that one talent given to the miserly slave.  It is the death of you.  And it will not stop accusing you until the dirt is thrown in your face when you return to the dust from which you came.

Prayers from one whose ears are stopped up by the legal scheme… filled with evaluations of honor and shame… obstructed by the safe and acceptable teachings of the tradition…

Heavenly Father, your Son is not safe for he works outside of, and apart from, the law.  Deliver me Father from my confidence in works of the law.  For Jesus’ sake.  Amen

Heavenly Father, your Son is not safe for he works outside of, and apart from, the law.  Deliver me into the salvation of your Son.  For Jesus’ sake.  Amen

Heavenly Father, your Son is not safe for he works outside of, and apart from, the law.  Deliver me from the safety of my tradition and culture.  For Jesus’ sake.  Amen

Heavenly Father, your Son is not safe for he works outside of, and apart from, the law.  Deliver me into the certainty of your Son for me.  For Jesus’ sake.  Amen

Heavenly Father, your Son is not safe for he works outside of, and apart from, the law.    Deliver me from bondage to sin, death, and the power of the devil.  For Jesus’ sake.  Amen

Heavenly Father, your Son is not safe for he works outside of, and apart from, the law.  Deliver me into the kingdom of your Son.  For Jesus’ sake.  Amen

Heavenly Father, your Son is not safe for he works outside of, and apart from, the law.  Grant to the Institute of Lutheran Theology that it preaches and teaches Jesus Christ, him crucified, and him alone.  For Jesus’ sake.  Amen

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