Accounting

20 Apr

Kathryn Hauser’s Reflection for 18 After Pentecost 22 Sept 2013
Accounting
We are now in the time of the Jewish Festival of Booths (also known as Sukkot, the Feast of the Tabernacles.) Sukkot began at sunset on 18 September 2013 and will last through the evening of 25 September 2013. The archetypal Seven Churches have also set up their own “booths,” even though God Himself had diverted Peter from doing so on the Mount of Transfiguration, when Peter wanted to set up booths for Moses, Elijah, and Jesus. (Mt 17:4-6) Peter ended up not setting up the booths for the Patriarchs at the time, but the Church did end up following in his heart’s desires. This is supposed to be our season of Rejoicing. This is the time of the Ingathering! In order to gather in, we, collectively, must stop living in the past (represented by Moses), or the future (represented by Elijah), and stick to the holy Present Moment where we truthfully encounter Jesus within us. We must confront assumptions and voice them in order to unlock the stronghold of their energy-depleting power. (Confront the assumptions, not the character of the people.) We must proclaim the saving love of God’s mercy, just as Pope Francis stated in an interview with an Italian Jesuit journal on Thursday (19 Sept 13). There is rejoicing on one level and then God’s heart is revealed on another level, as in today’s lectionary readings. What a disconnect! I just want to hold God and to comfort Him!
O God, I hear You when You say, “My joy is gone, grief is upon Me, My heart is sick.” (Jer 8:18) My heart is so with You, Father. Is there anything I can do for You, Lord? I hold You tenderly and closely. You are so sad today. I hear with You the cry of Your poor people far and wide. (v 19) It must break Your heart to know that You already sent Your Son to Zion, the kingdom of the heart, and we would not know it by our actions. So You are still asking: “Is the LORD not in Zion? Is her King not in her?” (v 19) I hear Your broken heart and frustration over our images and foreign idols. (v 19) We cannot navigate anywhere (on roads or in cyberspace) without our senses being assaulted and our spirits being “raped.” Since this is happening to us, I can only imagine how grievous an affront this must be to Your holiness, God. It is technically true, that the harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved (v 20) from ourselves. I don’t mean that the Great Harvest of revival or that Kingdom restoration won’t come, but that the opportunity has past for us to have collectively, truly, honestly, and wholeheartedly repented at any one of the many points where the hand of love was extended.
Jeremiah 8: 6 I have listened attentively,
but they do not say what is right.
None of them repent of their wickedness,
saying, “What have I done?”
Each pursues their own course
like a horse charging into battle.
I hurt with You God for the hurt of Your poor people. (Jer 8:21) I mourn with You. (v 21) Horror grips me, too, and I am just as dismayed as You are. (v 21) I heard on the BBC News this week that infighting in Syria is so bad and the conditions are so treacherous that even the physicians are joining the mass exodus of refugees. I have asked the same question as You, Father, “Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then has the health of my poor people not been restored?” (v 22) O that we would have the common sense of Your Head and be like a spring of water to each other (Jer 9:1), and have Your Heart of compassion to cry fountains of tears for each other (v 1), so that we could carry this burden with You as You weep day and night for the slain of Your poor people! (v 1)
God: “Do Me a favor and read the passage from the Jerusalem Bible.”
Jeremiah 8:18 “Sorrow overtakes Me,
My heart fails Me.
19 Listen, the cry of the daughter of My people
sounds throughout the land,
‘Yahweh no longer in Zion?
Her King no longer in her?’
(Why have they provoked Me with their carved images,
with these Nothings from foreign countries?)”
20 ‘The harvest is over, summer at an end,
and we have not been saved!’
21 The wound of the daughter of My people wounds Me too,
all looks dark to Me, terror grips Me.
22 Is there not balm in Gilead any more?
Is there no doctor there?
Then why does it make no progress,
this cure of the daughter of My people?
Jer 9:1 Who will turn My head into a fountain,
and My eyes into a spring for tears,
so that I may weep all day, all night,
for all the dead out of the daughter of My people?
God: You are also My daughter.
Me: [Just breathing…Reverent breathing…]
Me: All of the words in today’s lectionary readings have been fulfilled, Lord. The Church herself was the dishonest manager in the Gospel Lesson parable. And charges have been brought to You that the Church has been squandering Your property. (Lk 16:1)
Jesus to the Churches: “What is this that I hear about you? Give Me an accounting of your management, because you cannot be My manager any longer.” (v 2)
Hear what the Spirit says to the Churches: “How much do you owe my Master?” (v 5)
To Thyatira: Our Lord gave you “a hundred jugs of olive oil” (v 6) and you took the anointing and split it in half, between the top half and the bottom half. (Rev 2:24) Archetypes are still archetypes no matter how you slice them. So, sit down quickly (Lk 16:6) and stop working so hard, for the Lord knows your deeds and that you are doing more now than you did at first. (Rev 2:19) Relax. You are beloved.
To Pergamum: ‘And how much do you owe?’ (Lk 16:7) You knew better than anyone the depth of grace and what it means. You understood the wheat (v 7) concept:
John 12:24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.
You were metaphorically given ‘a hundred containers of wheat,’ and hidden manna (Rev 2:17) in them, and yet you still wrestle with gluttony and promiscuity. (v 14) Strengthen your faith and relax into Jesus Christ. Take your “bill” and cut it down 20%. Reign yourselves in, so that you can enjoy the Lord’s Table. Abide in Him knowing you are beloved.
To Ephesus: You are the ‘Children of Light’ (Lk 16:8), but the Lord removed your lampstand. (Rev 2:5) The “Indigo Children” of this age are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than you are in dealing with yours. The Indigo Children intrinsically understand that there is enough room for everyone with various points of view when we keep our focus on God Himself. It is God’s grace that fills in the gaps when we dare to love. Relax. Know that you are beloved.
To Laodicea: Go make friends for yourself. (Lk 16:9) At one time you had a wealth of them. You had everything. (Rev 3:17) Does racking up “friends” on Facebook count as fulfilling Jesus’ words?
Luke 16:9 And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into the eternal homes.
Come and sit down. (Rev 3:21) Relax. Recline at His Table. Really know within your core how deeply you are truly beloved.
To Smyrna: You were faithful with very little. (Rev 2:9) And where you covered up for each other when you should have been open and honest with each other, it will all wash itself out.
Luke 16:10 “Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much.
So, relax in the Lord knowing that you have been faithful. Relax knowing that you are beloved.
To Sardis: If you have not been faithful with honesty, then who will entrust you with true riches? (v 11) Your deeds are incomplete. (Rev 3:2) Relax. Stop trying to control. Recline at the Lord’s Table knowing that you are beloved.
To Philadelphia: You spoke the truth. It opened a door no one could shut. (Rev 3:8) Truth not only belongs to us individually, but also corporately.
Luke 16:12 And if you have not been faithful with what belongs to another, who will give you what is your own?
You have been faithful with the truth. So, who will now give you what is your own? Relax. Loosen your grip. Let music flow from your being. You have little strength (Rev 3:8), but your strength comes from the Lord. (Judges 7; 1 Cor 1:25) Receive the crown you already wear. (Rev 3:11) You ARE beloved!
To the Churches: No Church or organization may pimp God, and that includes the wealth of marketing manipulation out there, which is a form of pimping, and occurs in every camp under the guise of keeping the fighting, competitive edge.
Luke 16:13 No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”
Me to God: Lord, in today’s parable You talked about the dishonest manager (Lk 16:8) and said that he would give You an accounting of his management. (v 2) I don’t mean to split hairs, but what is Honest and Dishonest on either side of the chasm when the Churches and I still cannot communicate directly even after all these years, and we still only converse through Arc Speak (ie, what the Spirit is saying “between the lines”)? Is indirect communication the ‘dis’ of the dishonest manager, since the prefix ‘dis’ means separated or apart? We have not become disconnected from Your Truth within us, but we have been disconnected from the people who need to hear the message that they are beloved. Lord, make up for our shortcomings in this Babylon-like society where there is too much noise for us to hear each other, and the very noise stimulation separates us and makes more noise. Bridge the communication gap, Jesus. Send the Holy Spirit (Paraclete) to the Churches so that they can “hear” the deep love which You are saying to them. Amen.

18 After Pentecost 22 Sept 2013 Gospel: Luke 16:1-13
Jeremiah 8:18-9:1
8:18 My joy is gone, grief is upon me, my heart is sick.

8:19 Hark, the cry of my poor people from far and wide in the land: “Is the LORD not in Zion? Is her King not in her?” (“Why have they provoked me to anger with their images, with their foreign idols?”)

8:20 “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.”

8:21 For the hurt of my poor people I am hurt, I mourn, and dismay has taken hold of me.

8:22 Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then has the health of my poor people not been restored?

9:1 O that my head were a spring of water, and my eyes a fountain of tears, so that I might weep day and night for the slain of my poor people!

Psalm 79:1-9
79:1 O God, the nations have come into your inheritance; they have defiled your holy temple; they have laid Jerusalem in ruins.

79:2 They have given the bodies of your servants to the birds of the air for food, the flesh of your faithful to the wild animals of the earth.

79:3 They have poured out their blood like water all around Jerusalem, and there was no one to bury them.

79:4 We have become a taunt to our neighbors, mocked and derided by those around us.

79:5 How long, O LORD? Will you be angry forever? Will your jealous wrath burn like fire?

79:6 Pour out your anger on the nations that do not know you, and on the kingdoms that do not call on your name.

79:7 For they have devoured Jacob and laid waste his habitation.

79:8 Do not remember against us the iniquities of our ancestors; let your compassion come speedily to meet us, for we are brought very low.

79:9 Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of your name; deliver us, and forgive our sins, for your name’s sake.

Amos 8:4-7
8:4 Hear this, you that trample on the needy, and bring to ruin the poor of the land,

8:5 saying, “When will the new moon be over so that we may sell grain; and the sabbath, so that we may offer wheat for sale? We will make the ephah small and the shekel great, and practice deceit with false balances,

8:6 buying the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals, and selling the sweepings of the wheat.”

8:7 The LORD has sworn by the pride of Jacob: Surely I will never forget any of their deeds.

Psalm 113
113:1 Praise the LORD! Praise, O servants of the LORD; praise the name of the LORD.

113:2 Blessed be the name of the LORD from this time on and forevermore.

113:3 From the rising of the sun to its setting the name of the LORD is to be praised.

113:4 The LORD is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens.

113:5 Who is like the LORD our God, who is seated on high,

113:6 who looks far down on the heavens and the earth?

113:7 He raises the poor from the dust, and lifts the needy from the ash heap,

113:8 to make them sit with princes, with the princes of his people.

113:9 He gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children. Praise the LORD!

1 Timothy 2:1-7
2:1 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone,

2:2 for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity.

2:3 This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,

2:4 who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

2:5 For there is one God; there is also one mediator between God and humankind, Christ Jesus, himself human,

2:6 who gave himself a ransom for all–this was attested at the right time.

2:7 For this I was appointed a herald and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

Luke 16:1-13
16:1 Then Jesus said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was squandering his property.

16:2 So he summoned him and said to him, ‘What is this that I hear about you? Give me an accounting of your management, because you cannot be my manager any longer.’

16:3 Then the manager said to himself, ‘What will I do, now that my master is taking the position away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg.

16:4 I have decided what to do so that, when I am dismissed as manager, people may welcome me into their homes.’

16:5 So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’

16:6 He answered, ‘A hundred jugs of olive oil.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it fifty.’

16:7 Then he asked another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ He replied, ‘A hundred containers of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill and make it eighty.’

16:8 And his master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly; for the children of this age are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light.

16:9 And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into the eternal homes.

16:10 “Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much.

16:11 If then you have not been faithful with the dishonest wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches?

16:12 And if you have not been faithful with what belongs to another, who will give you what is your own?

16:13 No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”

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