Parables

We met in the bandstand as usual for our Sunday morning worship:

welcome

to what you cannot see
to what you cannot control
to what you cannot ignore
to what you cannot hide from

welcome

the welcome is universal
the entrance is free
the invitation is open
the hand is extended
the time is now…..

welcome

to overflowing generosity
to gentle nourishment
to unspoken prayer
to inarticulate longing

welcome

to actions beyond words
to help without asking
to provision without measure
to hospitality without price
welcome

take hold of the unknown
accept the unconditional
let go of limitation
trust what you cannot question

god welcomes you

welcome

whether you deserve it or not
whether you think you deserve it or not

you are welcome
they welcome you to their mystery
their depth from which all creation springs

god welcomes you

the creator of everything….
the word that no-one recognised….
the spirit bringing tenderness without words….

they welcome you……

adapted from jonny baker –  worship trick 67 in series 4

PARABLES

A parable is a succinct story that makes an important point or teaches an important lesson. It differs from a fable in that fables employ animals, plants, inanimate objects, or forces of nature as characters, whereas parables always have human characters. The word for parable, mashal, translates literally as “side by side” (parallel explanations).

Sometimes parables have been used to say “hidden things”. Jesus often taught his disciples and the crowds who followed him this way and often expected them to work out the meaning.  When doing this it is essential that each parable is viewed as a whole rather than allegorising the parts.

A parable is often a type of analogy. Jesus also used metaphor, irony, exaggeration, satire and humour to make his point.

Jesus parables often involved:

  • stories from everyday life,
  • repeating traditional stories,
  • provocative statements,
  • oft repeated phrases.

Through parables Jesus invited his hearers to act on the truth of his vision for society.

His parables almost always shattered some kind of misconception about the world, about God, and about how we should act towards others.

He never used personal confession.

Sometimes he used parables in order to answer questions asked by a disciple or a Pharisee, Sadducee or lawyer. Jesus parables were about everyday life and he used them to show what God is really like, to reveal the values of the kingdom of God, and to shine a light on the many injustices in society.

 

Mark 4:1,2.

Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered round him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water’s edge.  He taught them many things by parables………………..

Then we spent a few minutes around the park reading the following parables:

The parable of the persistent cleaner.

There was a woman who travelled from a far away country to a big city. She found work as a cleaner in a venerable institute of learning.  She soon  learned that she was not employed by the venerable institute of learning, but by a large multinational company.

One day while waiting for a bus she tells a fellow cleaner that her hours of work have been reduced contrary to what is stated in her contract of employment.  She worries about how her family will cope with even less money.  Her companion gives her a card with the name and address of a trade union.  But her friend says: “Don’t tell anyone that I gave you this”.

At first she is fearful because her employer will have no truck with unions.  She eventually found the courage to go to the union.  The union intervened on her behalf and sorted out her hours and missing back pay, she was so pleased she agreed to become an organiser for the union in her place of work.

Sometime later the woman thought it would be a good idea if the cleaners were actually employed by the venerable institute of learning.  The woman wanted access to sick pay, holiday pay, the minimum wage and all the rights afforded to the teaching and admin staff.  Everyone said it was impossible and when the woman approached the multinational company for these rights she was ignored.

So the woman approached the Student’s Union and the teaching staff for support.  They then badgered the venerable institute of learning’s management to take some responsibility for the “outsourced” workers.  With this help they eventually got the company to recognise the union.  Then after more pressure from the union, the teaching staff and the Student’s Union the institute’s management persuaded the multinational company to agree to pay some sick pay, some holiday pay and the minimum wage.

The woman was persistent and kept plugging away for changes with both the company and the venerable institute of learning. The company continued to mismanage the workforce causing outrage and forcing the venerable institute of learning to intervene.

Her persistence exhausted  both. And so the management of the venerable institute of learning brought all facilities; cleaners, catering staff and security staff back in-house.

The woman fought harder and longer than a multinational outsourcing company and eventually got better pay, plus full sick pay and paid holidays for 120 workers at the venerable institute of learning.

The Businessman and The Fisherman.

A wealthy businessman travelled to a distant island to relax and feel the sun on his face. One day he walked down to the quayside. A small boat with just one fisherman had docked and inside the boat was the morning’s catch.

“How long did it take you to catch them?” he asked.
“Just this morning” the fisherman replied.
“Why don’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?” he asked.
“I have enough to support my family and give a few to neighbours,”

the fisherman said as he unloaded his catch.
“But what do you do with the rest of your time?”
The fisherman looked up and smiled,  “I sleep in the heat of the day, play with my children, chat to  my wife and stroll into the village in the evening, where

I drink wine and sing with my friends”.

The wealthy businessman laughed, “I can help you. You should fish more, and with the proceeds buy a bigger boat. In no time you could have several boats with the increase in catches. Eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Then instead of selling your catch to the middleman, you could sell directly to consumers. You could control the product, processing, and distribution. You would need to leave this small village and move to the city to run your expanding business.”
The fisherman asked “But, sir, how long will all this take?”
“15- 20 years.” said the businessman.
“But what then?” asked the fisherman.

The businessman laughed and said “That’s the best part, when the time is right, you sell your company and become rich”.
Then what do I do?” asked the fisherman.
The wealthy businessman replied, “Then you could retire and move to a small coastal village, where you could sleep late, fish a little, play with your grandchildren, take a nap with your wife during the heat of the day, and stroll in to the village in the evenings where you could drink wine and sing with your friends.”

“Which is exactly what I do now!” replied the fisherman.

Everyone had been asked to bring along a copy of one of Jesus’s parables and a notepad and pen.

We again went and sat in the park and tried to answer one of the following questions:

Parables?

Either:

  1. Write a modern version of the parable you have brought?

OR

  1. How might you relate the parable to Britain today? Who would be the key players in the story?

OR

  1. Apply the parable to your own life. How are you like _____ in the story?

OR

  1. Imagine yourself in the crowd listening to Jesus, how would you react to the story? How would you apply the challenge of the parable to life today?

 

People returned to the bandstand and shared the thoughts they had come up with.

We next shared bread and wine before retiring to Cool River for Fairtrade coffee and hot chocolate.

sharing bread and wine:

In this place, through bread and wine,

we renew our journey with Jesus.

In this place, through bread and wine,

we renew our community with each another,

and with all who have worshipped with us.

In this place, through bread and wine,

we renew our communion with the earth and all living things.

 

We who have so much and are so blessed

give thanks for life and love,

for human relationships,

for good food and warm shelter,

and for all nature which surrounds us.

 

But especially we give thanks for Jesus of Nazareth:

story teller,

social vision weaver,

jubilee proclaimer,

justice demander,

violence rejecter,

power confronter,

price payer,

god revealer,

bread breaker,

wine pourer.

 

Long ago, on the night of his arrest,

Jesus took bread, gave thanks, and broke it:

‘This bread is broken, as my body will be’.

And he handed it to his friends, and invited them to eat:

 

Long ago, on that same night,

Jesus poured wine into a cup, offered thanks:

This wine is poured out, as my life will be.

He gave it to his friends, and invited them to drink:

 

 

Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>