We heard one of Jesus’ parables this morning, the Parable of the Talents. A ‘talent’ was not a special ability, like painting or dancing or writing; a talent was a weight of silver or gold. A large weight. The talent referred to in the parable probably weighed about 35kg, and was worth around $18000 or so today.
This parable isn’t too concerned with the first two slaves, who received ten talents (350kg of silver!) and five talents (175kg!).
The main character is the third slave, who received one talent. Still, it’s a lot of silver! And this slave goes and buries it, all 35kg of it. Must have been a dirty great hole! I’d be worried that someone would come along and find it.
Which reminds me of another parable. Can you guess which one? It’s the one about the Treasure Hidden in a Field. Listen:
The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
In other words: if you have a treasure—dig it up, don’t hide it away! Continue reading
Amos 5.18–24 (using the alternative, ‘complementary’ first reading)
1 Thessalonians 4.13–18
The world’s in a mess. When I went on leave a couple of months ago, I made a decision not to try too hard to keep up with the news while I was on leave. It was getting me down, reading and hearing about
- The Ebola epidemic
- ISIS and the catastrophe of the Middle East
- The environmental crisis we are in—what world will our grandchildren inherit from us?
- Mr Abbott threatening to ‘shirtfront’ Mr Putin
- Youth unemployment
- Children who are kept in detention centres for indefinite periods
- And last but not least: the richest 1% of the world’s population own almost 50% of its wealth. And they aren’t going to let go or even share in a hurry.
I felt that I needed to have a season in which I could let that fade a bit from my mind.
But now I’m back on deck, and nothing’s changed. The world’s still in a mess. I’m in a pretty good position, really. I don’t have Ebola, I’m not under threat by ISIS, I have a happy vocation. I can choose to let these things fade from my mind—for a while—though I can’t let them fade completely if I’m going to be true to my vocation.
But sometimes, when I follow the news closely, I start to lose hope. What I need is to follow the news with a sense of hope. Where can I find the hope I need? Continue reading