Sunday’s focus scripture text from the gospel according to Matthew 25: 31-46 challenges us to think about the so-called ‘final judgment.’ Matthew has been ramping up the anxiety about what will happen if people don’t follow the ways of Jesus – getting left out of God’s party, weeping and gnashing of teeth, and eternal punishment. It seems to me that some people need more motivation that others. As children we were told not to throw the ball in the house. It would take more than two hands to count the broken windows despite this rule. Do you need to be threatened with punishment or dire consequences in order to behave properly? Is a simple reminder enough? Jesus has been teaching throughout the gospel that God seeks and saves the lost, defends the widow and the fatherless, welcomes strangers, puts right the wrongdoings of others, cares like a “mother hen,” lifts people up on “eagles wings,” holds tenderly in the “palm of the hand,” and is a shepherd who loves the sheep and knows each one by name. So how do you reconcile this Jesus with Mathew’s view of the final judgment?
Join us for more of this conversation on Sunday at 9:30 a.m. Then stay and eat with us at our annual Thanksgiving potluck!
Weekly prayer: Joy-making, shepherding God, your love, goodness, mercy and grace are constantly before us. May we know you so well that we implicitly trust you, and un-selfconsciously live to your glory and praise. Amen.