Posted on May 1, 2021

2 MAY 2021

Today we have a rather straight-forward announcement of the Good News:

Because of Jesus, all of us are bound together.

More than a collection of people who just happen to be in the same room doing the same thing,

we are each a part of each other.

Now, the announcement of that news may seem neither true, nor necessarily good to us.

It may not seem true because there may be people here that we don’t even know, much less feel a part of.

It may not seem good because there might be people here that we want no part of.

Like the early Christian community looking at Paul–they were afraid of him, wanted no part of him.

It was only Barnabas who was willing to take a chance on him.

I wonder what would have happened if there wasn’t anyone willing to take him in.

Paul would have been lost to the church.

Now, given all these mitigating factors,

as to the truth and goodness of the news, it nevertheless is the news for this Sunday.

            And there is something to modify it.

The gospel we hear also says this:  “Parts of the vine, those that do not bear fruit–

will be thrown into the fire.  The image is that of the Father being

the vinedressor who periodically goes over the whole works.”

How do we understand this?

There is a fairly well known play by J.B. Priestly called, The Inspector Calls.

The story line goes like this:

A police inspector calls on a respectable middle class family to ask questions about a young girl who had simply dropped everything and ran away.

The father finally recalls that he had fired her from his factory because she had wanted more money.  The daughter looks at the photograph of the dead girl and remembers she was the store clerk she complained about in a fit of bad temper and who was consequently dismissed.

Each one around the table eventually recalls a small incident, a brief encounter that helped push the girl into the darkness when she took her life.

As the play develops the inspector appears more and more like God, searching each human heart for a trace of compassion, rather than destruction.

Today the announcement of the Good News is that God still searches our hearts for compassion, for those things that we do, and believe that tie us to the Lord and to one another.

For those of you who are admitted to the Lord’s Table today, this communion will link you more closely

With the Lord and with all of us.