Br Scott Wesley

Sermon for the 25 Sunday after Pentecost – in which Jesus has another fight

Readings for the day

Today’s reading finds us at the end of the twenty-second chapter of Matthew. This is a chapter in which it seems anyone and everyone has a go at Jesus. Sadducees, Herodians, Scribes… This morning Pharisees… One after the other, they have all picked fights with Jesus. And one after the other, they have all failed. 

In today’s Gospel, the Pharisees are, more or less, taking a second shot. They’ve already lost round one… This time they want Jesus to tell them what the greatest commandment is. Mind you, there are 613 commands in the tradition… So, which of these is number one?  

Sermon for Thursday at Volmoed – Preached by Br Daniel

Readings for this sermon (Proper 24A)

Br Daniel preparing food

Many years ago, in another life, I had an older colleague who had an interesting way of interpreting Scripture. Even though he was a devout Christian, he had very clear ideas about paying taxes, but not tithing to the church. He paid taxes with lots of grumbling simply because he was legally required. Not because he didn’t believe in giving to Caesar what is his, but because of what Caesar is doing with the taxes. As far as tithing was concerned, he did contribute to the collection plate, but he emphatically did not give his tenth as required, because he said that much of what the church historically did, was now supposed to be done by the government. And he said that giving to God what is owed to God shouldn’t cost money, anyway. As such he was unstinting in his charity work.

Sermon for Sunday – the trouble with wedding guests…

Scripture readings for the day (Proper 23A)

Today’s Gospel tells us a wonderful parable – though with a fair amount of violence and other disturbing details. Like all parables, it is a bit murky in its meaning. Let’s review…

The King – from different story…

The King, standing in for God, throws a party – a wedding party to be specific. A wedding party puts us in mind of Jesus – the bridegroom.

And God invites the “A” list of guests. This will be a great party and all the right people will be there. Except there is a problem… The “A” list people decide God’s little party is not quite the social event of the season. In fact, they decide it’s completely miss-able.

Happy Arch Birthday

Today is the celebration of the 89th birthday of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu. St Benedict’s Priory joins with folks across the globe in wishing him great blessings on this day. 

Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Stilted Anglican terminology applies the preface “The Most Reverend” to Archbishops. It’s hard to imagine someone who more embodies this description. The importance of Desmond Tutu to the Anglican Church of South Africa, the Worldwide Anglican Communion, and indeed the wider world cannot be overstated. God speaks to mortals through prophets. Anyone who thinks God is silent these days has simply not heard Desmond Tutu.  

Sermon for Sunday – October 4

How do we move in faith and let go of fear?

Scripture readings for the sermon

Part of the genius of the Gospel is that it teaches in parables – so the teachings are as relevant now as two thousand years ago. But the price of that relevance is that the meaning is not necessarily plain or obvious… Take for example the parable in this morning’s Gospel. It is a familiar story but what it might mean…

We have a vineyard with its winepress and watch tower, an absentee landowner, a group of difficult tenants, a set of abused servants, and some obligatory priests and Pharisees. It’s not a big leap to see the vineyard as a symbol of our world. The absentee landowner seems pretty clearly to symbolize God. The priests and Pharisees are the religious leaders of the time. And then we have difficult tenants and the abused servants – two groups in which I think I might locate myself. But which one?

Turning one…

During lockdown big celebrations are not in order. But we couldn’t turn one without something. So today at Eucharist we had a nice, small outdoor coffee time with some beautiful edible treats. Just about everyone from Volmoed was with us – so it was not a big group, but it is the people who have been part of our lives at Volmoed for the year.

It has been a fascinating year to say the least. We arrived on the last day of August, 2019, and began our worship life here the next day. There was a time of settling in. Then a time of reaching out to folks in the region. Then there should have been a time of ripening and growing in ministry, but COVID-19 had a different plan. Lockdown has now extended for about half our life at Volmoed.

Covid time

“Common good is a non-competitive notion of good … Good doesn’t have the drama of “fantastic”, or the exclusivity of “best”. It is a big enough concept to hold us all – we can all be good.”

Scott Wesley

It’s tempting to think that we are nearly at the end of the Covid-19 odyssey. But that would be beyond optimistic. We might be toward the middle… or we may still be at the beginning. The truth is we can’t really know.