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Jeremiah 8:18-9:1 New Revised Standard Version

The Prophet Mourns for the People

18 My joy is gone; grief is upon me; my heart is sick.
19 Listen! The cry of the daughter of my people from far and wide in the land:
“Is the Lord not in Zion?  Is her King not in her?”
(“Why have they provoked me to anger with their images,
with their foreign idols?”)
20 “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.”
21 For the brokenness of the daughter of my people I am broken,
I mourn, and horror has seized me.

22 Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there?
Why then has the health of the daughter of my people not been restored?

[a]O that my head were a spring of water and my eyes a fountain of tears,
so that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!

1 Timothy 2:1-7 New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition

Instructions concerning Prayer
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all Godliness and dignity. This is right and acceptable before God our Savior, who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God; there is also one mediator between God and humankind, Christ Jesus, himself human,   who gave himself a ransom for all -this was attested at the right time. For this I was appointed a herald and an apostle (I am telling the truth;[a] I am not lying), a teacher of the gentiles in faith and truth.

Luke 16:1-13 New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition
The Parable of the Dishonest Manager

16 Then Jesus[a] said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was squandering his property. So he summoned him and said to him, ‘What is this that I hear about you? Give me an accounting of your management because you cannot be my manager any longer.’ Then the manager said to himself, ‘What will I do, now that my master is taking the position away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. I have decided what to do so that, when I am dismissed as manager, people may welcome me into their homes.’ So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ He answered, ‘A hundred jugs of olive oil.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it fifty.’ Then he asked another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ He replied, ‘A hundred containers of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill and make it eighty.’ And his master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly, for the children of this age are shrewder in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light. And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth[b] so that when it is gone they may welcome you into the eternal homes.[c]

10 “Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much, and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much. 11 If, then, you have not been faithful with the dishonest wealth,[d] who will entrust to you the true riches? 12 And if you have not been faithful with what belongs to another, who will give you what is your own? 13 No slave can serve two masters, for a slave will either hate the one and love the other or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”[e]

18 September 2022
The Rev Dr Dianne ES Carpenter
Luke 16:1-13

Pope’s managerial humerous story….

the origin of the term Schizophrenia from the Greek roots skhizein [two split] and phren- [mind] to have a split mind….

Paul Eugene Bleuler and the origin of the term schizophrenia and 1908:

Bleuler worked as a psychiatrist caring for patients with psychiatric disorders at a variety of facilities in Europe. In 1908, Bleuler coined the term schizophrenia to describe a group of diseases that cause changes in thought processes and behavior in humans as well as difficulties relating to the world. Apr 6, 2017

I am not in any way discussing the medical use of the term schizophrenia….  Rather I am working from the gospel for today to affirm that human beings are often afflicted by an attempt to live simultaneously in two competing worlds and inevitably fail.

We find ourselves trying to do what everyone wants and find that we are caught in the situation of pleasing no one.  We struggle with trying to discern what we ought to do, when we can see only what we want to do.

Jesus holds up the shrewd manager in this parable as the example of the necessity to be of one mind rather than afflicted with a “split mind” as we face the dilemmas of life.

The shrewd manager was always out for his own welfare.  Dishonest in his duties, he remains true to his agenda about putting himself first when he is about to be dismissed from his position he sets about with a plan.   He is a survivor!

The shrewd manager has no agonizing moments of indecision about the problem at hand.

Jesus knows that we often struggle with the desires we have to enjoy as much of the wealth of our society as we can as represented in our possessions, even though we want to have a relationship with the divine source of our existence who asks us to share what we have with those were less fortunate as a way of worshiping God.

One human reaction is to “compartmentalize”.  I will be a good spouse at home and a good worker at work.  And then work asks you to work overtime and the family schedule is in conflict with the expectations of work…  So we struggle to have meaningful relationships within the constraints of time.

And so we are of a divided mind in many ways and fail to achieve either what we want or what we ought to want in the limited time we enjoy on this earth.  Dissatisfaction is often the experience we have in significant expectations we carry with us because we are not clear about what we will serve or whether we’re servants at all [which, not being God] we most certainly are srvants of our circumstances and limitations!

Or we worship on Sunday and attempt to focus on the agenda of society the rest of the days and we are faced with the decision to set aside those expectations when we do not conform to social custom.  [1] How many are saying Grace at restaurants…  Is religion private…  [2] Willingness to see our work as vocation-God’s work.  We spend more hours at work than at anything else but perhaps sleep…

We understand national loyalty instead of making our national decisions conform to our allegiance to God’s social expectations in relationship to the homeless, the infirm and the imprisoned.  [immigrants in Martha’s Vineyard – a plan… People stepped forward on the island to feed and shelter their brothers and sisters… may not be Christians] Why are we so divided as a nation that we have impromptu events that leave victims more victimized …. Compartmentalizing religion from politics.

Jesus’ answer to the dilemma of the schizophrenia of the world in which we live is to cultivate a wholeness of mind that is as natural as the single mindedness of the shrewd manager!  His life was very different… No mass communication or swift transportation.  People were limited in their ability to move quickly by the use a walking, perhaps a four legged creature or a cart…  He found people’s lives were fractured… they had a public persona and a private persona… and he says chose God’s way because you must choose between serving the economic hierarchy and social demands or God’s Kingdom agenda.  God brings peace and justice.

Amazing grace is able to set us free from the chains of our schizophrenic existence.

OK, so you feel pretty good about a relationship to God being a priority in your life.  When faced with choices you feel you have oneness of mind with God…  Great, please help the church find unity in our division!  Are you willing to support the ecumenical movements that help us work for the unity of the schizophrenic church of the 21st century?  We are more united in mission than in theology, so perhaps our mission-our service to the world is to be our theology!

What is the greatest commandment?  Jesus keeps it simple…

Love the Lord Your God with all your hearts and soul and mind and your neighbor as yourself.

Beyond the ecumenical divisions, we ae experiencing division within our own denomination…. We need to continue to bring a united gospel of liberation and love to a struggling world.  In a few weeks we will have World Wide Communion Sunday.  We celebrate a unity of priorities rather than division and name calling within the ranks ….  Perhaps as a church and a nation we need to focus on the simple message.

Jesus was completely human and completely divine… We strive to be more divine because we are completely human…. We are striving for wholeness in a broken schizophrenic world- the world that is not of one mind with God as Jesus was!

During a papal audience, a businessman approach the pope and made this offer: “If he would the change the last line of the lord’s prayer from give us this day our daily bread to give us this day our daily chicken then KFC would donate $10,000,000 to Catholic charities.  The pope declined.  Two weeks later the man approach the pope again, this time with a $50,000,000 offer.  Again the pope declined.  A month later the man offered $100,000,000.  This time the pope accepted.  At a meeting of the cardinals, the pope announced his decision in the good news bad news format: The good news is that we have $100,000,000.  The bad news is that we lost the Wonder Bread account.

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