Please Jesus PLEASE, No Parable Today!

Well it’s finally here!  The day so many have looked forward to for two years!  Mid-Term Election Day!  Happy Happy!  

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Because the past two years have been doused in intense, angry, bitter, never-ending conflict, partisanship and emotion, this day has an apocalyptic feel.  It’s either:  “The evil GOP will finally lose its majority grip and with it the ability to immorally bully and flaunt injustice not only on the nation, but the world!” Or “The evil Democrats will finally FINALLY have to put a sock in it and realize the program - thank God - is not in their court anymore!”   

No matter who wins tonight, someone is going to get to sing “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead!”

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And both sides are salivating at the chance.

For Christians, it can - should - beg the question, “What Would Jesus Do?”

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Would he be reminding us that our ultimate responsibility is to caring for the poor, the stranger and the sick, so no matter what happens, we must always keep sacrificially fighting for that, for them?

Would he be reminding us that no matter what, now matter how much love we share, we are called to follow the Law - every jot and tittle of it?

Would he be reminding us that no matter what happens, this but one sign of the End Time?

If the Jesus we’d meet today is anything like the Jesus we’d meet today, perhaps….

However, I, and the the Comic Lens, will stake our claim on the thing Jesus most usually did when he wanted to teach people what to think, and do and act.  Especially at an moment of ethical and/or emotional crisi

He’d tell a parable.

ARGHH!  NOT THAT!  PLEASE, NOT THAT!!!

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As has been discussed here before, the word “parable” is related to the word “parabola.”  And as you probably know, the latter is a simple figure beginning with a line moving one direction, curving around and moving back in the direction it came from…sort of…. The line of a parabola eventually shoots out from the opposite direction of its origin, moving who knows where into the great unknown.  Rather than creating a nice, neat circle, a parabola fashions a mystery.

And that’s what parables are.  Seemingly nice neat little easily observational tales that suddenly take a crazy, confounding turn.

“Riddle” is another word for parable.  And Jesus liked to leave right after the set-up, so his hearers could (would have to?) figure out the punch line for themselves.  While scratching their heads bloody.

ARGHH!  NOT THAT!  PLEASE, JESUS, NOT NOW, MORE OF THAT!  

I can’t help but think today Jesus reminds us of one of his simple little, horrible conundrums.

He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well. And the slaves of the householder came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from?’ He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The slaves said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he replied, ‘No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’”
— Matthew 13:24-30

What?  We have to live with our deadly, blood-sucking bullying enemy until the end-time?  And intertwined and completely interdependently?  Why?  How?

A couple of helpful hints, perhaps, and mentioned in a previous blog:

One, the monarch butterfly feeds only on noxious milkweed as it prepares to make its transformation from caterpillar to majestic work of art.

Another hint…consider this modernized parallel:  

   “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who planted MSN on cable television to bring the proper perspective on world events to viewers 24-7. But while everyone was asleep, an enemy came and plopped Fox News into the channel just next to it. This is how it must be until the end of time for without Fox News MSN will die.”

“The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who planted MSN on cable television to bring the proper perspective on world events to viewers 24-7. But while everyone was asleep, an enemy came and plopped Fox News into the channel just next to it. This is how it must be until the end of time for without Fox News MSN will die.”

So there’s that.

Then there’s the parable of the “leaven.

And again he said, “To what should I compare the kingdom of God? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.”
— Luke 13:20-21

Also, as previously discussed in the Comic Lens, while the usual explanation of this parable is that it reminds us that with but a little faith in God, things can grow and grow and grow, so let’s put a little faith in God in everything we do.

 So SO many good things come from just a little bit of leaven, right???

So SO many good things come from just a little bit of leaven, right???

That’s all very nice and good, but this doesn’t sound much like a punch line, nor does it engage enough head-scratching to mess one’s hair.

However, if we remember that Jesus hearers…who are Jewish….would have heard that word “leaven” in a much different way.  After all, it was UNLEAVENED bread that was holy, that represented what faith in God can do, ie save His people from slavery in order to bring them into the Promised Land.  

Leaven, on the other hand, represented the unholy, what the Chosen People aren’t.  It represented sin. As Paul so passionately pleaded:

Your boasting is not a good thing. Do you not know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? Clean out the old yeast so that you may be a new batch, as you really are unleavened. For our paschal lamb, Christ, has been sacrificed. Therefore, let us celebrate the festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
— 1 Corinthians 5:6-8
 In other words….

In other words….

So what in the world is Jesus talking about, insisting that the Realm of God becomes the Realm of God when plenty of leaven is added to make it bigger and bigger and bigger?  How can the Realm of God be the Realm of God when it’s full of so many sinners, so much sin?

ARGH!  PLEASE JESUS, NO PARABLES TODAY!!!

It can remain the biggest irritant, hearing Jesus tell his community that he planned to teach in parables and why?

And Jesus said to his disciples, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside, everything comes in parables; in order that

‘they may indeed look, but not perceive,
and may indeed listen, but not understand;
so that they may not turn again and be forgiven.’”

[Apparently, the parables are indecipherable even for the disciples, for this is what Jesus says next:]

”And he said to them, ‘Do you not understand this parable? Then how will you understand all the parables?’
— Mark 4:11-13

Jesus liked to make everything sound so impossible. Beyond the realm of reason and even decency. Beyond what we believe should happen, especially when we think we’re the one who’s got the goods to be in the know.

 Republican or Democrat? Before parable or after?

Republican or Democrat? Before parable or after?

But maybe that complete lack of expectation is a very helpful approach, when things are already impossible. If we think what happens after this election is going to be the mitigating factor changing the way we love our enemy - the ultimate test of Christ-following - or change the way our enemy loves us - and how to live in that hell is the other side of Christ-following - we probably need to think again.

However, after completely mucking up the works with his horrible (!) parables, Jesus would throw out a lifeline. He’d say (or at least infer) “With God all things are possible.”  

After all, God NEVER acts in ways we expect or can even imagine. Maybe, especially today, (and after we vote!) we need to more than anything let go and let God

Can all of us do that?  No matter who is singing??

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