John 18: 1-8


Some call it an excuse for failure.  Others claim it is telling the truth that nobody has the courage to say out loud.  The debate remains.  Can we state that the system is rigged?  When someone else gets the promotion we wanted, are we wondering if he or she has some backing?  When our preferred hockey team has not won the Stanley Cup for the last 50 years or even made the playoffs in the last 12, are we to believe that the NHL favours American teams to sell their product down the border?  When a candidate looks at disastrous polls or is about to lose his election by a landslide, can he repeat over and again that the whole political system is rigged?


Let’s be serious.  Is the system really rigged, here in Canada?  In short, the answer is… yes!  Yes, it is.  I know.  We do not like to hear this.  It makes us uncomfortable.  We are convinced we live in an egalitarian country.  We believe that everyone who is working hard has the chance to succeed.  However, when we look at hard data, we are forced to acknowledge that middle age, white, heterosexual man like me do not face the same challenges as other groups in our society.  After many educational campaigns and a few legislative initiatives, women in Canada today still earn approximately 20% less than men for same or similar jobs.  If the First nations represent a little more than 4% of the total Canadian population, why 25% of men sentenced to provincial and territorial custody are Indigenous?  In Toronto and Vancouver, more than half of all people living in poverty are from racialized groups.  We like to believe that Canada is not plagued by racism.  However, in 2006, not 1906, a colleague of my wife moved to Kingston.  He is Black and his wife is Ojibwa.  When they were looking for a daycare centre for their two sons, they were often told they were a little too late; they could be put on the waiting list.  Yet, when they learnt that he was a professor at Queen’s University, suddenly something could be done about those waiting lists.   They could find some places for their children after all.  This white man never faced this sort of problem because, like it or not, our system is designed for people like me.


Unfortunately, living in a system rigged in favour of some is not new reality.  Jesus’ parable of the widow and the unjust judge from the Gospel according to Luke is a perfect illustration of this.  As you can guess, we have two main characters in this story.  First, we meet this judge who, “neither feared God nor had respect for people”.  This man has a position of power and prestige.  He is part of the establishment.  He represents all that is broken in our world, like the powerful who ignore the consequences of their actions.  The judge does not have to care about the common people; he is beyond them.  Nobody can touch or threat him, especially not a widow, the second character of our parable.  From what we can understand, this widow is not different from other destitute members of her society, with very limited resources, without a network of influence, without a voice to defend one’s right, without enough money to afford a little gift in a brown envelope and who have to work around the angles of society because its very structure is stacked against them.  And yet, this un-respected widow keeps coming to the judge saying, “Grant me justice against my opponent.”  Relentlessly, she bothers him like a nuisance that would not go away until she ends up receiving the justice she demands.


As people of faith, systematic injustice and human misery really get under our skin.  To witness God’s intentions for every human being to be trampled with impunity offends every fibre of our bodies and souls.  We are frustrated by the brokenness of our societies.  As people of faith we complain, not because we are naturally grumpy individuals, but because we believe a better world in possible.  We cannot accept that cruel exploitation and arbitrary abuse of power is normal.  We cannot accept that God’s mercy, love and compassion are not accessible to all, without exception.  We cannot accept that this mess is the best we can do. 


As people of faith we are called to refuse the status quo.  We cannot remain passive in our living rooms, hoping that someday in the future will be better, that some form of divine justice will reward people in the afterlife.  We look around us and we find out where and when we can get involved in our neighbourhood, country or overseas.  We roll up our sleeves and we commit to bring better things into being.  We look for alternatives.  We work for change.  We transform hopes into realities. As people of faith we aim to build supportive communities where all can come when life is too difficult, when they are tired of carrying their whole world on their shoulders or when despair and tribulations seem to be the only options.  We want to remind to everyone that they are not alone and faith and hope are always possible.


We get involved in our world by using the resources and gifts at our disposal.  In the case of the widow in our parable, her greatest gift, her greatest asset was her stubbornness.  It might sound strange.  Being stubborn is not always considered something positive.  And yet, the widow used this character trait in her fight against a biased and unyielding system.  Her strength, tenacity and unflinching willingness to complain days in and days out challenge the judge and eventually brings restoration.  We can only say, Good on her!  The determination of people like her shed light on obscure parts of our world and moves things until justice and dignity becomes a reality for all.


The widow in this story is not unique or one of a kind.  We all have gifts and abilities we can put to use.  Some of us are very stubborn – we know who we are – and not afraid to confront those who abuse their power and are taking decisions contrary to the benefit of all.  Others are very good words and can write petition and open letters to raise awareness.  Some are burning with passion and are always ready to organize protest marches and public demonstrations against damaging policies.  Some have time and can sit down with the marginalized and outcasts around a simple cup of coffee or tea.  Some have financial means and offer them to support advocacy groups or help those depending on food banks.  Some have this reckless love that allow them to welcome those who had failed many times and would like to try one more time.


We use the tools at our disposal not to brag, feel good about ourselves nor to increase our church membership.  We use them because we believe we can contribute to the in-breaking of the kingdom of God right here, right now.  We believe we can make a difference, even if it takes times, even if we do not perceive change, even if sometimes we look foolish.  We do whatever it takes to get the system to move, even if only a little.  The parable does not tell us how many times the widow goes to the judge.  Is it 10, 35, 200?  We just know that she does not give up because the alternative would be more misery, unfairness and inequity.  She remains persistent despise all the obstacles on her path because it is the right thing to do for her and all of us.


The parable of the widow and the unjust judge is a call for justice and dignity for all.  As people of faith, we cannot remain inactive when many of our sisters and brothers are denied basic human rights or minimal living conditions.  We need to live justly and denounce evil.  We need to demand responses from the wider society and its leaders.  We need to make our complains loud and persistent enough until the system stops to be rigged against some of us.  Amen.


Philippians 4: 4-9


A few years ago, American photographer Peter Menzel and writer Faith D’Aluisio have travelled the planet to document everything that an average family consumes in a given week and how much it costs.  Their project entitled “Hungry Planet” was exhibited all around the world.  I actually saw those pictures at the Museum of Science and Technology a few years ago, when it was still open and full of moulds.  I would like to show them to you this morning.


You have surely noticed the significant differences between these pictures.  The amount of food as well as its diversity is directly influenced by the origins of the family.  Someone looking at this exhibit could easily come to the conclusion that people living in North America have always more than enough to eat each week.  Unfortunately, our country also has a problem of uneven redistribution of food and resources.  We live in one of the wealthiest nations in the world and yet numerous children are suffering from the absence of basic necessities in their lives.  Here, I am not referring to an X-Box, HDTV or iPads. Too many are going to school every morning on an empty stomach and holes in their shoes.  They live the equivalent of a Reader’s Digest Condensed version of a life.  Do you remember these books who were cheap abbreviation sold to those who could not afford the real thing?  That’s their daily reality.


What am I addressing this issue today you might wonder?  It is Thanksgiving weekend.  What began as a mix of a harvest festival and a religious expression of gratefulness for the blessings the people have received during the year has become a true festival of abundance and excess.  According to what we see on TV and read in magazines, every family and friends in the country gather around a large table thoughtfully decorated with seasonal objects and thematic colours.  In the middle of it, we can find the biggest turkey we can imagine, surrounded by potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, apple salad and pumpkin pies.  When everything is ready we eat, drink and maybe watch a football or baseball game.  At the end of the day, all we want is to sit down, unbuckled our belt and rest from this orgy of indulgence.


Yes, all of this feels good on the moment.  And yet, unless we are completely oblivious of what is going on in the world, we cannot but sense a discomfort when we think about the poverty and hardship that surround us.  Of course, we want to celebrate our personal achievements, rewarding jobs and precious relationships, but what about those who are currently walking through dark valleys, who are the victims of systemic injustice or do not know if there will be enough food for the coming week?  Should we refrain from feasting on Thanksgiving?  Would it make a difference?  What should we do?  How should we behave?


In his letter to the Philippians, Paul gives us the beginning of an answer to these difficult questions when he claims: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice”.  These words might surprise many of us because Paul does not have the reputation to suffer from Pollyanna, this disposition that leads someone to think good things will always happen and find something good in everything.  In his letters, he sounds more like a man who would pick an argument with everyone he met.  On top of this, from what we can understand from the New Testament, Paul wrote his epistle to the Philippians from jail.  I do not know about you, but “rejoice” would not be a word that comes to mind if I was in imprisoned.  However, Paul states not once but twice to rejoice in the Lord.  To all of those women and especially men who made us feel that church was about keeping us from doing what makes us happy, to all of those religious leaders who taught us that joy, laughter and pleasures were sins, to all of those who told us that we should be ashamed of being proud of the accomplishments of a loved one, Paul claims, “No!  God wants us to be happy!  The Lord wants us to rejoice.”  And the joy he promotes is not the absence of pain, fear or struggles, but the capacity to find satisfaction in everything and everyone.  We can all rejoice because Christ is a remote judge always watching over us, but someone is close at hand, dwelling in our midst, near to each and every one of us.


Paul also says, “Do not worry about anything”.  Please, my friends, stop living in fear.  Stop being anxious about everything.  It seems we live in a world of constant suspicions and distress and the worst part is that we create most of them for ourselves.  We have come to believe that at every corner there is someone or something that could attack us.  The human race survived in worst conditions than ours for hundreds of millennia, but we think destruction and doom are imminent.  Just to give you an example.  The other morning, I was late to drop my son to school.  I stopped our car not in the recommended parking lot, but on the street where it is perfectly legal.  I walked with him to the main entrance.  In the afternoon I received a message telling me that since the school want to ensure the safety the children, I better not doing this again because between the street and the main entrance one has to cross a lane where the buses stop to drop the kids.  I said to myself, I taught to my son what a school bus is, to always look at both sides of the streets and to always cross them in the presence of an adult.  I believe I did my job as a parent.  But no!  How dare you lousy and irresponsible father put your beloved son in such dangerous situation?  Stop being afraid of everything.


Well… what about those who might have a good reason to worry?  What about those who are anxious because they are regularly confronted with poverty, hunger, injustice, racism, discrimination and the other troubles of life?  Paul tells us, not them, us, to let our gentleness to be known to everyone.  We are in this together.  We cannot turn a blind eye when our brothers and sisters are suffering.  We cannot remain silent when oppression and darkness surround us.  We cannot stay put when resources are unjustly distributed.  We are called to be kind, considerate, mild, magnanimous and generous.  We should not be anxious about sharing our resources and abundance with those who have less.  Sharing generously does not diminish our assets; it is often the other way around.  There is grace to gain with giving, offering and letting go our fear of emptiness.


Paul also reminds us that in everything and every situation by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, to let our requests be known to God.  Let’s be clear.  No one should not be grateful for being poor or ask for more hardship.  It is just that since we feel Christ constantly near us, since we believe in an all-encompassing loving of God, since The Holy Spirit caries and inspires our thoughts and prayers, we should not be afraid to address the Holy One.  In good times and also in bad times, we can look up to God and says I am offering this to you.  These are my hopes, my demands, my requests for me, my loved ones and even for people I do not know.  And let your will be done on earth and heavens because I am not afraid; I trust you.


On Thanksgiving weekend as well as one every other day of the year, we can rejoice and celebrate without anxiety because we know the Lord is with us.  We can be generous and gentle to all of those who need our help without being afraid for our security.  We can offer all that we have and also lack in a prayer of thanksgiving and supplication.  We can do all of this, and much more, because regardless of our situation or origin, we are never alone.  God is with us on this day of rejoicing.  Amen.



2 Timothy 1: 1-14 - Luke 14: 15-24


Earlier this week we have learnt that The Lion King is the next Disney animated classic to be made into a live action film.  I do not know.  Does it make me a conservative or a purist if I am not sure it is a great idea?  For those who might not have seen the movie, The Lion King tells the story of Simba, a young lion who is to succeed his father, Musafa, as King of the Pride Lands.  However, after Simba’s uncle murders Musafa, Simba is manipulated into thinking he was responsible, and flee into exile.  The clip I would like to show you this morning is one of the pivotal in the movie.




Remember who you are.  These words could easily be the subtitle of the first biblical text we read this morning.  The second letter to Timothy is another epistle written using the voice of Paul, probably a generation or two after the dead of the apostle.  It is also different from the others because Paul’s letters sound like by-laws of a church or attempts to solve the problems of the first Christian communities.  The beginning of Second Timothy is more intimate.  It is almost if we are reading someone else’s personal mail.  Here the author exhorts Timothy to remember where he came from.  He is encouraged to remember the faith he received from his grandmother Lois and mother Eunice.  He is called to remember the gift of God that is within him.  Timothy, says the author, remember who you are.


I believe the lectionary could not have given us a better gift on this Sunday morning during which we invited to remember the first worship service of Kanata United Church.  Anniversaries are always a great time to look back and contemplate all the amazing achievements a group or a community.  Some of us can testify of the incredible journey that led this church from a community centre, to two different schools, and finally to this building.  Many remember with fondest past ministers, interns and students who took care and fed the people.  Many stories could be told about choir practices, Sunday school classes, Marriage Encounter evenings, lectures by John Shelby Spong and John Bell, and many other amazing events during the last 50 years.  We can remember our story that shaped us and made us who we are today.


However, anniversaries could also be a mix blessing.  As we look at the great achievements of our past and compare it to today’s reality, we cannot but notice signs of wear and tear.  With all this negative narrative we hear these days about the decline and the death of the church we begin to wonder.  When we look at the empty pews on ordinary Sunday mornings, the financial challenges to remain open and the aging of our membership, we start to doubt.  We not sure if we have the strength to continue.  We do not know if we have the courage to go on.   We wonder if we should simply move on and let the past be the past. 

And yet, we have moments, maybe like this morning, when we remember who we are.  We remember our purpose as a church in this community.   And we say to ourselves that this cannot be the end.  It cannot finish this way.  No!  We are not dead; we are still alive.  We are still filled with hope, ideas and projects.  Yes.  We can be a thriving church regardless of our number or age.  We can raise capital money to repair this organ because we want it to hear it for the next 25 years.  We can respond faithfully to the needs of our neighborhood.  We can find ways to overcome the obstacles we encounter on our path.  We can wake up and get all fired up about our church.  And you know what?  We can organize a great celebration.  We can send beautiful invitations to many, like the mayor, our MP, and other dignitaries in our community.  It will be an amazing party.  It will be huge.  It will be like Jesus’ parable of the great banquet in the Gospel according to Luke. 


Yes, like Jesus’ parable in Luke we also read this morning, we worked hard to prepare a great celebration.  We invited many.   And when we say, “Come for everything is ready”, our guesses do not show up as we expected.  “I have bought a piece of land, and I must go out and see it.”  “I have bought five yoke of oxen and I am going to try them out.”  “I have just been married, and therefore I cannot come.”  “I do not need to show up since my children are all grown up.”  “I still remember when one of my projects was turned down by the Board.”  “I cannot accept that gays and lesbians are allowed to be married inside our church.”  “No, I am not coming to your celebration.  I am staying home.”  And suddenly, our beautiful party does not go as well as we planned.


Desperate, we look at each other and we say, ‘What is wrong with those people?’  Do they know hosting a party is not so easy?  Are they realizing the number of hours we gave to prepare this?  We had to invite the “right” guesses who might get along.  We had to select a menu the people would like.  We worked on a schedule of activities.  And we have not yet even touched on the actual act of inviting strangers into your house, in our intimacy.  We are taking a significant risk by exposing ourselves to the expectations, judgments and critics of others.


You know what?  We should not even have to send them invitations.  Don’t they know they are already invited? The prophet Isaiah said clearly that all are invited.  “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat!  Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.”  What else need to add?  If those people would come to church more often, read their bible regularly and really committed to our congregation, they would know they are welcome in our non-judgmental church.


Are all invited in our churches?  Yes… in theory.  In reality, it is complicated.  After all, we have rules and membership.  Furthermore, Christianity carries a long history of exclusion based on age, status, disabilities, language, origins or the amount of pigments in our skin.  Many were made felt uncomfortable because they were not wearing right clothes, using the right words, knowing exactly when to stand up or sit down.  They left our midst feeling they were valuable enough.  You know what I am talking about.  I am deeply convinced that all of us experienced this feeling one way or another at least once in our lives.  We know how it feels to be left out by our peers because you were not good enough.  We remember how we felt when at school, when it was time to pick up for team, we were always selected last.  We know how it feels to be the only of our circle of friends not invited a dinner party.  We do not need many words to get that we do not belong.  I sure there are some people outside who would like to come in.  There are some people who would like to bring their contributions.  But they do not come in because they are too shy, they do not believe they are allowed to show up, nobody cared enough to invite them personally.


It is exactly in those moments and situations that we ought to remember who we are.  As Christians, as disciples of Jesus the Christ, we are called not to wait patiently for guests to arrive, but to reach out to the forgotten, the marginal, the excluded, the unloved, the poor…  Our call is to follow the example of the parable and to go out at once into the streets and lanes of the town and bring in those who are not necessarily valued and accepted by our churches, our communities or our world.  And when we noticed that there is still room, we need to double down and reach out even further until all are invited, until all are told they can come in.


Today is not just the 50th anniversary of the first worship service of Kanata United Church.  It is also World Communion Sunday, a day set aside during the year when all Christians from around the world are invited to partake in this sacrament.  The bread and the cup shared during the last meal Jesus had with his friends are traditionally understood as a representation of the heavenly banquet we will experiment in the after world.  However, the more I think about it, the more I believe it is the other way around.  We celebrate the sacrament of communion in our churches to remember the sacredness of sharing food with family and friends around the same table.  Have you ever noticed we have our best conversations when we eat with people we love?  When we gather around the same table we are often the best version of ourselves.  Our tables are safe spaces when we can share our sorrows and joy.  Our meals once a month before choir practice, our church potlucks, coffee times and cake after church reinforce our community.  Each time we pull an extra chair, each time we invite one more individual to join us because we believe in abundance, each time we share our bread and cups, we remember who we are.  We remember our purpose in this world.


In a few minutes, we will celebrate communion with Christians from all around the world.  And as we will experience the sacredness of eating from the same bread and drinking from the same cup, maybe we will remember all of our forefathers and foremothers who were there for us in the past and helped us to understand the gifts God places in each of us.  Maybe we will remember those who cannot be with us on this morning because they are deceased, moved away or did not accept our invitation for many different reasons.  We will also open those doors in a few minutes and maybe our children and grandchildren will help us to remember all of those who are excited to be invited to join us, who are truly hungry for more, who want to experience something special.  Maybe we will remember we are part of a continuum, a great circle of life that began before us and will continue after.  Maybe we will remember to live between memory and hope.  On this Sunday, on this special day, maybe we will remember who we truly are.  Amen.


Six of our youth along with Bev Buckingham went to Halifax Go Project this summer - Dalton Douthwright, Jacob Kelk, Alicia Doner-Freire, Devon Wanner, Megan Wagner, and Brynn Fortier.

On Sunday, September 25 the youth along with Bev, led the worship service and talked about their involvement in the Go Project in Halifax.   Here is a video that shows some of the interesting things that happened. 



Luke 16: 1-13


Once in a while I like to share with you one of the rules I created for myself.  So far I have 13 of them.  Today, let’s talk about rule number 5: Sometimes you have to choose the less damaging option.  I know.  It is not very positive or uplifting.  It is sounds more like a variation on the concept of catch 22, the proverb “Damned if you do, damned if you don’t” or the myth of Inakalé.  Let me explain this last one… of better, since we have the data projector installed in our sanctuary for my presentation about the future of the United Church right after our worship service, let me show it to you.  I did my first Master’s degree in African History.  My director had a huge collection of popular paintings from central Africa, and one of the recurrent themes in those paintings was the myth of Inakalé.  On this painting we can see a man in a very dangerous situation.  He is at the top of a tree that is about to fall.  On another branch we can see a snake.  The man cannot jump on the land because there is a lion waiting him.  He cannot either jump into the river because of the crocodile.  The man cannot stay put, and every possibility in front of him does not seem to offer a better solution.  Sometimes you have to choose the least damaging option. 


I taught of this rule after reading today’s text from the Gospel according to Luke.  During his ministry, Jesus told many stories we often call parables.  The meaning of some of them is quite straightforward while others are a little more obscure.  This parable is probably the strangest of the New Testament and it has left a great number of commentators perplexed.  Maybe this is why this story has so many different titles.  Some Bibles used the subheading ‘the Parable of the Dishonest Manager’.  However, in others we can read, ‘the Unjust Steward’, ‘the Clever Manager’, ‘the Shrewd Manager’, ‘the Resourceful Stewart, and ‘the Crafty Manager.  The Common English Bible version, probably confused by all of this, prefers the title ‘Faithfulness with Money’.



Let us look back at this story.  This parable has two main characters who are the owner and the manager and neither are not necessarily likable.  First we have a rich man whose story is unknown beside the fact that many are significantly indebted to him and the owner does not seem to lose much sleep over this situation.  Then we have a manager who is charged with squandering the property of the rich man.  Without any form of investigation or further questioning, the rich man fires his manager.  You’re fired!  Facing impeding unemployment, our manager who does not want to work in the field or beg on the streets of the city, decides to do some dealing.  He goes to a few of the owner’s clients and settles their debt at much lower conditions.  You own 100 of jugs of olive oil?  Write down fifty.  And you, how many containers of wheat?  100?  It’s 80 now.  We should remember that the manager is not making deals with his own money.  Also he does not have authority to reduce these debts.  Nevertheless, he does it because he figures that the clients will be grateful and take care of him in the future.  His apparent generosity is highly motivated by his own welfare.  Then, the owner shows up and begins to praise his manager for doing exactly what led to the manager’s dismissal, squandering the resources of the owner.  The manager who shows no regret, transformation or change of behaviour, moves from scumbag to hero.  Everybody seems to be happy.  The end. 


Many has tried to analyze this parable through the lens of economic justice.  As the expression says, money is the root of all evil.  The broken relationships in the community and the manager’s arguable behaviour are caused by greed.  Since we cannot serve two masters, we ought to choose God over Mammon.  This interpretation is interesting if one overlooks the fact that the people’s debts are not completely erased.  Others have come to this parable by trying to find God in this story.  If God cannot obviously be the questionable manager, God has to be the rich owner… who does nothing to forgive or reduced the debts of the people.  Once again we have a problem.  The more I look at it, the more I am convinced that this parable has nothing to do with money.  It is not about God either.  This story is about all of us and our inability sometimes to keep our eyes on the big picture.


Many years ago, when I still had time to watch day time television, I came across an episode of Dr. Phil who was talking with a young couple.  The wife was complaining because her husband was absent and never took her out.  The man who was working 12 hours a day was saying he was too busy or too tired to find a restaurant, make reservations and plan everything.  Dr. Phil suggested to the couple that the wife could choose a day she would like to go out, select two or three restaurants she would like to have dinner and the man would pick up the phone and make the rest of the arrangement.  The wife replied that it was not very romantic.  Dr. Phil looked at her and said, ‘Do you want to be right or do you want to go out?’  Do you want to be right or do you want to go out?  This sentence stayed with me since then.  Just ask the staff about the amount of time they heard me saying, ‘Do you want to be right or do you want to win?’  ‘Do we what to hold on to your principles at all costs or do we want to see this project being accomplished?’


Let me give you another illustration.  On September 4th, the Roman Catholic church has canonized Mother Teresa, meaning her life should be considered to be an example for all believers.  If the wide majority agrees with this statement, some has raised concerns about some of her questionable relationship with some dictators like Haiti’s Jean-Claude Duvalier or Albania’s Enver Hoxha.  Others highlighted that Mother Teresa’s order accepted money from the British publisher Robert Maxwell, who stole 450 million pounds from his employees’ pension funds.  There is also the case of Charles Keating who donated millions of dollars to Mother Teresa and had lent her his private jet when she visited the United States.  Keating was charges with fraud following high-profile business failures.  Should have Mother Teresa accepted this tainted money from questionable individuals who were trying to use her for public relations?  Was she right to deal with political realities of the time in order to lobby for her causes?  And yet, what was the alternative?  Doing less work with limited resources?  Letting the people die literally in the street of Calcutta in the name of some sort of purity?  Which is the less damaging option, getting a bad name or the suffering of vulnerable people? 


Of course, in a perfect world, we would not have to choose.  Everyone would do the right thing for the right reason.  Every project would follow the proper process.  Every individual would be generous without being reminded.  Every good initiative would receive the appropriate funding.  Unfortunately, it is not always the case.  Large corporations offer to give money to universities if they name a building after them.  Organizations like the Canadian Cancer Society have to sell tickets offering the possibility to win trips and cars in order to raise money.  Some people hit the jackpot at the casino and want to share their good future with their church.  What should we do?  Should we stay pure and adopt a holier than thou attitude?  Should we remain on our moral high ground?  Most importantly, what would be the cost of our rigidity?  Will we have to choose eventually between our organ or our youth ministry?  Will we have to decommission this building because the roof is leaking and we are unable to adapt to a new reality?  Who will help the vulnerable in this neighbourhood?  How important is the sustainability of our congregation?


Don’t get me wrong.  I am not saying that we have to sell out.   I am not saying that everything goes as long as the money comes in.  It is just that sometimes we need to be pragmatic.  We need to keep our eyes on the big picture.  In today’s parable, the manager is a self-interested man.  His motivations are less than pure.  He forgives the debts of the clients for all the wrong reasons.  Nevertheless, at the end of the day, the actions of the manager made a difference.  The level of debt of a community was reduced.  For some family, maybe it meant being able to buy enough food, helping a sick neighbour or pulling resources together to upgrade local facilities.  It would have been great if the manager had a change of heart and give unselfishnessly his own money.  But even if it was not the case, something good emerged.  Maybe it was a bit messy, but the lives of many were improved.  Imperfect actions led to positive outcomes.


Today’s parable featuring an unrighteousness manager helps us, Church people, to remain focus what is really important.  Do you want to be right and do everything according to what we consider the proper reason and way, or do we want to build what Jesus called the kingdom of God?  In our imperfect world, sometimes we have to choose the less damaging option.  Sometimes we have selected the best means to do all the good we can.  By all the means we can.  In all the ways we can.  In all the place we can.  To all the people we can.  With every imperfect individual we can find.  Amen.