Sunday, September 25, 2011
Less Talking, More Walking
When Jesus entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him as he was teaching, and said, "By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?" Jesus said to them, "I will also ask you one question; if you tell me the answer, then I will also tell you by what authority I do these things. Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?" And they argued with one another, "If we say, `From heaven,' he will say to us, `Why then did you not believe him?' But if we say, `Of human origin,' we are afraid of the crowd; for all regard John as a prophet." So they answered Jesus, "We do not know." And he said to them, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.
"What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, `Son, go and work in the vineyard today.' He answered, `I will not'; but later he changed his mind and went. The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, `I go, sir'; but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?" They said, "The first." Jesus said to them, "Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him." Matthew 21:23-32
When we were in Quito at the House of Bishops meeting, we were at a break time and lining up for coffee and tea. Several of our brothers were at the coffee pot, exchanging meaningful and important conversation, and by so doing, holding up everyone's forward progress. Some of us needed coffee bad. I finally piped up, "less talking, more walking!" To which Michael Curry replied, "that will preach!" I hadn't looked ahead to this Sunday's lessons. That would preach much sooner than I realized.
Jesus was with the religious leaders of the time. They were more concerned about staying on message and landing in the right political and influential heap than they were concerned about true faithfulness. Their were so intent on religious and political correctness that they failed at living a humble and authentic life of faith. It is a big trap for us all. And yet Jesus tells a story of two sons, one who refused his father initially, then relents, and the other who answers right but lives all wrong. When we get caught up in the rightness of our church life, and forget the compassion and honest service, we can fail to follow Jesus. We need more walking and less talking - all of us.
Today, I simply ask God to help me follow Jesus by keeping my mouth shut and my hands in feet in motion in the service of others. May we all follow by serving the needs of others and in so doing bring God's love made visible in our lives.
O God, you declare your almighty power chiefly in showing mercy and pity: Grant us the fullness of your grace, that we, running to obtain your promises, may become partakers of your heavenly treasure; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.