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March 24, 2004
Today's eMo is a meditation on lectionary texts for this Sunday. As with all the eMos, preachers and teachers are welcome to borrow, with the usual attribution. No further permission is necessary.


A man planted a vineyard and let it out to tenants, and went into another country for a long while.
Luke 20:9

Oh, so that's it -- God's out of town. We were wondering how everything got so out of hand.

But wait -- God can't be out of town. So that's not it.

No, it's something simpler. Why does violence overtake us? Why do we repeatedly meet violence with violence and then wonder why people die the streets?

It's because God does not compel us to listen and learn. We are free to remain in ignorance, and then we are free to pay the price of doing so. And the price of ignorance is huge. But we would rather pay it than do the work of learning peace.

And God does not compel us to share the world's goods. We can hoard them, if we want to, or waste them. It's completely up to us. The price of our hoarding and wasting is huge. But we would rather pay it than share.

God does not compel us to see the good in the stranger. We are free to view with suspicion those who differ from us, and then wonder why they suspect us. The price of doing so is huge, but we pay cheerfully to remain convinced that our way is always the right way, rather than learn to see another way.

What did Jesus do, that caused people to react so violently against Him? For the life of us, we can't see it -- He asked people to share, asked them to be at peace, asked them to remember that this physical world is not all there is and that they needed to trust God. What's so terrible about all that?

It's terrible if you're in love with something you'd have to give up if you listened to Him. If you're in love with power. Or wealth. If you view your right to these things as absolute, and would kill -- or turn away while someone else kills for you -- rather than do without your love.

We are not aware of how passionate our attachment to those things we love really is. Of how we cling to them, how jealously we guard them. We treat our wealth and power like treasured family members, parts of our own bodies. I'll die if I can't have all my things.

But will you kill to keep them? Or allow someone else to kill in your name? The choice is ours.
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