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3rd Sunday After Pentecost - June 13, 2021

Updated: Jul 6, 2021



Parables… what strange creatures they are to us… most of us grew up with our English teaches and professors explaining to us about allegories …

So when we read or hear a parable, we immediately think allegory, but parables are indeed different

Jesus, in particular, uses parable with great artistry and skill…when you hear or read His parables…think of a brief narrative that forcefully illustrates a single idea…

Listen to the parable, be still and let the words and the story flow over you…turn it over in your mind as you go about your daily life; your prayers; your times of contemplation…

Do not complicate the story…just Listen

PAUSE

I had the great privilege when I was growing up of being the daughter of a story teller…Of course, at the time, I was unaware that everyone did not have a storyteller for a father…

My Daddy grew up as the grandson of immigrants from Wales… His grandmother, Jo, was a storyteller of the highest degree …she spoke in that wonderful lilt and sing song manner of English that the transplanted Welsh folks do…It is as though they are singing the words

And she told captivating parables…

So Daddy did the same and if we were lucky enough to catch him off guard, he would become The Story Teller

The stories would captivate all of us and when I went to seminary and began to study parables, I realized that he and of course his Grandmother, Jo, were masters with the genre of parable…

The stories were so fantastic and his voice so captivating that we all listened time and time again…

And out of that storytelling, I began to tell my students first at All Saints School in Lubbock and then here at St. Andrew’s School…Dr. Dan stories…

To illustrate what we were reading in the scriptures, I told stories of Dr. Dan’s childhood and my observations of him throughout my life with him

They were parables…pure and simple… a story that hopefully captivated the children and they in turn would draw there own conclusions…

My favorite is Dr. Dan learning to run again after having crippling polio at the age of five

He lived near Avondale Park in Birmingham, Alabama… There was an elephant in the park who was quite tame…

Her name was Miss Fancy and if you have read Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, by Fanny Flagg, then you have been introduced to Miss Fancy

Daddy and his brother walked to school through Avondale Park…Mama Roberts would give them peanuts to feed Miss Fancy as they passed by her

But Daddy would mix rocks in with the peanuts to see what Miss Fancy would do…

And indeed, the elephant was clever and she spit… or whatever elephant do when they project objects or water through their trunk…the rocks at the boys…

Daddy got hit every time…not his brother…Frank outran the rocks

So Daddy decided to learn to outrun the elephant’s throw…over and over; day after day; week after week; he struggled…

His lameness kept Miss Fancy the winner for a very long time…then one day after months of struggling…the rocks and the peanuts were offered and Daddy took off as fast as he could move… and he FINALLY outran the elephant…

And as a child and as I stand here with you today, I am delighted for that little boy… But I must say that the parable teaches me more than delight in a child and for a child…but I leave that to you to ponder or dismiss…

PAUSE

Jesus so masterfully tells his parables in Mark…one of the parables…about the mustard seed is seen only in Mark

How many of us had mustard seed necklaces when we were teenagers? How many of us knew the charm symbolized a story so beautifully and powerfully told by Lord…

We often imagine Jesus as someone less than the sophisticated Pharisees, Sadducees, and Lawyers…that would be a mistake

Perhaps we need to rearrange our thinking or imaginings and consider the gift the Jesus was to Israel and then to us

Mark, with his “in your face” Gospel presents us with a powerful and brilliant Savior in Jesus

A man who could …with a phrase… cut off the questions and comments of the leaders of Israel

One who could tell us powerful stories that sustain us throughout our lives…

One who could face death because it was required for the revelation of God’s kingdom in the world

Make no mistake…the ability to turn a world and civilization right side up requires the best…the best God has to offer us.

Frederick Buechner tells us a story in his book, Buechner 101, of a letter that he received from a person who was hearing one of his lectures for the very first time…

It describes beautifully how I feel when I remember Dr. Dan parables or much, much more so when I hear Jesus’ parables:

“…I have learned that it is only when I give my full attention to what it means to be human that I am granted a glimpse of what it means to be divine.

I have learned that the only limit to revelation going on all around me is my willingness to turn aside and look.

I have learned that language itself is revelatory, with power to ignite hearts, move mountains, and save lives.

I have learned that the Good News is not the cheerful news but the dismantling news of what it is like both to love and to betray the Holy One who has given me life, only to hear the saving question anew, for the umpteenth time, “ you, you child of mine, Do you love me?’’…”

Listen…what is God telling each of us about loving, about struggling to be who God created us to be, about the kingdom….

The noise around us is loud and profound…It invades our very being, clouds our thinking…

but thank God there are storytellers and parables aplenty… give yourself a gift of life…rid yourself of the noise and listen carefully.

Amen

Buechner, Frederick, Buechner 101, 2014.




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