Thursday, May 31, 2012

Thursday in Proper 3: Separation and judgment

Opening Sentence
Their sound has gone out into all lands, and their message to the ends of the world. Psalm 19:4

Commemoration: The Visitation
Father in heaven, by whose grace the mother of your incarnate Son was blessed in bearing him, but still more blessed in keeping your word: Grant us who honor the exaltation of her lowliness to follow the example of her devotion to your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Psalter: Psalm 37:1-18

Lessons: Proverbs 21:30-22:6, 1 Timothy 4, Matthew 13:24-30

Separation is a common theme when Jesus speaks about judgment. The separation of the weeds from the wheat has, in fact, already been decreed from before the foundation of the world. All the way back in Genesis 1, there is the separation of light from darkness. What Jesus speaks about is not a new concept, but its meaning has been hidden up until this time. Now, Jesus elaborates on how God goes about separating the good from the evil in his kingdom.

Jesus usually does not explain his parables to his disciples. Here, however, he does explain that he is speaking about "the end of the age," a time of judgment and separation, the specific meaning of which will become more clear as the narrative unfolds.

"The end" should not be dismissed as past or put off as future. Parables are intended to describe deeper spiritual realities and their meaning is often somewhere below the surface. Judgment will come when we least expect it, in a manner we least expect.

Will judgment come today, tomorrow, or sometime in the far distant future? We cannot become enslaved by presumptuous speculation. Rather, we are to recognize that because, in Christ, God has made known the mystery of his kingdom from the foundation of the world, we are without excuse.

Judgment, separation, and the end of the age are always staring us right in the face. We are not guaranteed the next moment. Thus, we are to live each moment in constant awareness of the nearness of the kingdom of God.

(JAG)

Let My Words Be Few