Sermon text from February 15, 2015, on Matthew 20:1-16
Bruce Ray, Pastor of Kimball Avenue Church, Chicago
Ched Myers in his book, Say To This Mountain, writes, “Parables have typically been preached in North American churches as ‘earthly stories with heavenly meanings.’ That, however, is exactly what they are not. (my emphasis) Rather, Jesus is describing the sovereignty of God in the most concrete possible terms, using images any illiterate peasant could understand. The genius of parables is that they offer recognizable scenarios, drawing listeners in, then throw surprise twists in order to challenge listeners’ assumptions about what is possible. Jesus no doubt struggled to explain his vision because it was so much at odds with the prevailing order and thus with the expectations of his audience.” (Myers, Ched; Dennis, Marie; Nangle, Joseph; Moe-Lobeda, Cynthia; Taylor, Stuart. “Say to This Mountain”: Mark’s Story of Discipleship (Kindle Locations 841-845). Orbis Books. Kindle Edition.)
Jesus’ parables about the kingdom of heaven reveal the ordering of all of life by the reign of God. Such is the parable of the Landowner and the workers in his vineyard recorded in Matthew 20:1-16. It is a story of labor relations, work, and wages in the kingdom of heaven. And it is a story of the values that are fundamental to God’s re-ordering of life. And it is a story that reveals the answer to our prayer, “your kingdom come; your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” as it relates to the structures of work and the economy.
Read the entire sermon text here…. 021515 Sermon