The Gospel reading for this coming Sunday (Pentecost 15A, Proper 20A, Ordinary 25A) offers preachers a splendid opportunity to address economic disparity; an issue which Jesus of Nazareth was passionate about. Back in 2011, I had the privilege of spending a week at Chautauqua when Amy-Jill Levine was the theologian in residence. Each afternoon Amy-Jill addressed the parables of Jesus from her perspective as a New Testament scholar who is also a practicing Jew. The material Amy-Jill covered has found its way into her latest book. Released just this month. “short stories by jesus: The Enigmatic Parables of a Controversial Rabbi” is an extraordinary resource, which I am in the process of gobbling up with the kind of relish that fills me with all sorts of ideas for the work that needs to be done by those of us who profess to follow the teachings of the Rabbi Jesus. For those of you planning to preach on Jesus’ parable about the workers in the vineyard, I recommend purchasing Amy-Jill’s new book (it is available electronically so there’s still time) and carefully reading Chapter 7: “The Laborers in the Vineyard”! Below you will find a link to my notes for an interactive sermon I delivered based upon Amy-Jill’s Chautauqua lecture, “Management and Non-Union Workers”.
Workers in the Vineyard – sermon notes
For those of you interested in the radical teachings of Jesus, stories about jesus is a must-read! John Shelby Spong insists that Levine’s new book provides “a series of stunning new insights into our religious heritage!” I couldn’t agree more!
I also have to compliment Amy-Jill Levine on writing a terrific book. I have just started reading “short stories by Jesus” .. it is refreshing , informative and brilliantly presented. She’s a wonderful author.
I’ll share one short paragraph from her Introduction … it helps to put her book into a proper perspective:
“For today’s Christians, or indeed anyone interested in what ideas the parables convey, interpretation should not be limited to … historical context. If that were the case, we’d all have to be living in first-century Bibleland, and we’d have to conclude that the Gospels offer a one-size-fits-all model that has not yielded any new inspiration over the past two millennia. The texts must speak to each generation and each individual anew, or they cease to be either scripture or literature and become only markings on a page.”
I could not agree more! Shalom.
life is about realizing an endless inheritance of love…?? Scriptures reveal love or jesus…We see Him to see who we really are…which is a Son of God.