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A strange kind of glory – 7th Sunday of Easter 2023
There is a word that recurs six times in today’s short gospel reading in one form or another – glory, glorify, glorified. At first sight, this can sound almost vainglorious, imperious and patrician language. The sort of language that might belong in an imperial court, with flattery, pomp and fanfare, elaborate ceremonial with golden and bejewelled gorgeous raiment.
And indeed we can be tempted to act in such ways in the church itself, for there is always a part of us, against which Jesus warned, that wishes to get back to the awe and wonder, and power, so loved by the Saduccess and their spectacular, if bloodthirsty, Temple ritual. Or we can revert to insisting on strict observance of scriptural rules and taboos of the Pharisees, that actually only serve to constrain and imprison us, denying and thwarting Jesus’ promise of life in all its fullness.
In today’s Gospel we have a series of comparisons, power vs authority, faith vs deceit, words vs deeds, trust as opposed to cynicism. And there is also a warning, that actions speak far, far louder than all the words in the world.
It is all part of Matthew’s continuing theme where the first shall be last, at least those counted first by worldly standards, and the last, first.
The parable in today’s gospel is usually called ‘The Labourers in the Vineyard’. On the face of it, we are told a fairly simple but slightly odd story about an employer who seems to have some difficulty with identifying how many workers he actually needs to bring in the harvest on his land.
The poem comes from ‘the state of us’ a first collection of poetry by Larry Doherty – ISBN: 978-1-5272-7173-9. Larry Doherty’s debut collection of poetry is eclectic, nuanced and powerful. It reflects his thoughts and feelings on life in these challenging, turbulent, watershed times.