Monday, October 09, 2006

Little Hint on the Parable of the Vineyard

Notice in Matthew's parable of the vineyard that the householder calls one of the grumbling workers "Friend." The Lord of the vineyard is serious about that and it is the key to understanding the whole parable. In other words, the grumbling workers who have borne the heat and the burden of the day have MISUNDERSTOOD their position. They are not merely outsiders, hired workers only concerned about their pay, they are insiders and friends. They have forgotten or missed the fact that the householder has been worker right alongside of them and that his concerns are theirs, his riches, theirs, his soul, one with their own.

Lack of Compassion?

Morris Adler writes that although "Noah was a righteous man" who deserves to be in the circle of the great, "there was a fatal flaw in Noah and he did not become the father of a new religion, a new faith, and a new community. He lacked compassion...nowhere did Noah show a feeling of sadness and pathos that an entire generation was to be lost, and the world destroyed."

It occurs to me that I have heard this thought, or one like it, elsewhere. There is a tradition to mourn over the Egyptians who perished in the Red Sea. The Bible itself has no such thought.

Personally, I don't mourn over the Egyptians. Why? Good question! I notice that God has enemies throughout the scriptures. In the beginning, the darkness was separated from the light. God saw the light was good but the darkness is not called "good." With God where there is a yes, there is always a no. God says yes to light and no to darkness, he makes his judgment. He said no to the Egyptians, he said no to the people of Noah's day. Through this "no" the children of Israel were saved and I am not sorry about that. By extension, Noah was saved from his generation by the "no" of God. To say that I mourn for the Egyptians or for those of Noah's generation is to forsake God's yes to life.

The people of Noah's day are considered in the new testament to be the worst of all sinners but Peter tells us that Jesus went preached to them to these "spirits in prison." We are also reminded that the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Lord and his church.

Jesus weeps over the dead Lazarus but it is not said that he weeps over the people destroyed in the flood. But this isn't to say that there is no resurrection of the dead, this is not to say that there is no repentance and turning even in hell itself. But there is always a no, where there is a yes. Not everyone will be saved when Jesus comes again, Hell will not be empty. We know that there will be several denizens of the lake of fire, the devil, the beast and the false prophet. But will the Egyptians be in that lake, will even Noah's generation be there?

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Not a Patriarchy, a Noaharchy

My dad commented to me a few days ago that the Bible is not a patriarchy. Indeed we see by Genesis chapter 10, that all the patriarchs have been killed off. Noah and his sons and his sons wives remain, but not because God has befriended a father, but because God had one friend in all the earth, that was Noah. What do we call this thing? Aonerighteousmaninthewholeeartharchy? Do we call it a God'sonefriendarchy? Onelonelyguyarchy? Onelittlefamilyarchy?