Rejecting Fear – Embracing Joy

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Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge that we are on the land of the Kaurna people, the traditional custodians of the Adelaide Plains. We are awed that they celebrate the religious significance of place, plant and all living creatures; and that care for the earth is implanted in their law. We honour them and also delight in the sacred in our midst. We pray that in the power of the Holy Spirit we might work together for reconciliation and justice in this land.

Matthew 25:14-30 NRSV

14 ‘For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; 15to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16The one who had received the five talents went off at once and traded with them, and made five more talents. 17In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents. 18But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. 20Then the one who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five more talents, saying, “Master, you handed over to me five talents; see, I have made five more talents.” 21His master said to him, “Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.” 22And the one with the two talents also came forward, saying, “Master, you handed over to me two talents; see, I have made two more talents.” 23His master said to him, “Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.” 24Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward, saying, “Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed; 25so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.” 26But his master replied, “You wicked and lazy slave! You knew, did you, that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter? 27Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received what was my own with interest. 28So take the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents. 29For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. 30As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Reflection

Being a parable it was never about what the parable uses to illustrate, parables always point to something else. In this instance it was never about the money. The talents represent what we can do as part of, what we can do to bring about - God’s realm – reign – kin-dom. No one will tell you precisely what you are to do with your talents other than put them to use. Risk is involved. Success is never guaranteed. Playing it safe is an option. Matthew, however, is unequivocal in rejecting this cautious, play-it-safe approach, warning that it leads to sadness and despair. Those who take the risk of loving faithfully, challenging unjust economic systems, advancing the promise of liberation and justice experience the real-time joy of the realm of God, breaking into our world.

Prayer

Holy One, you call us as witnesses
to your world-transforming love and liberation.
Yet, we are often cautious,
denying ourselves the joy of your presence.
Grant us the courage, we pray,
to utilize our talents and gifts. Amen.

 

Seasons of the Spirit