In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
It is a great joy to be speaking to you from the nave of Emmanuel today. The stained glass windows, the organ, the high altar with the unique Sarum frontal, the Lady Chapel. It is all still here and such a pleasure to be in it. The quiet, calm as the sun streams through bouncing colors on the walls bring such a peace as I sense the “great cloud of witnesses” who have prayed in this space over the past 100 plus years. We have received a true gem from those who have come before us; the corner of State and University has been a beacon of Christ’s love in the downtown area for all these many years. And as has been said before, now it is our turn to see that this very special place continues to reflect Christ’s light and love into the world. Circumstances have changed since the early 1900’s and circumstances have certainly changed since March 2020 but the church’s mission and God’s love for us remains the same. God’s arms remain open to hold and help us and yes, to push us to show His love to the world. It is here for the experiencing.
This morning’s gospel contains a parable that Jesus told near the end of his life on earth. He told it to those closest to him; those who would become the church, his body on earth, once he was crucified and risen. I would like to look at this lesson with this in mind. Hear it as a parable given then to the church that would be, and today as a parable given to this church, Emmanuel, at this specific time, the time of pandemic.
Upon first read the gospel this morning seems to be contradictory of what we know from other scripture about Jesus and his teachings. What is a talent anyway, what is the point Jesus is making? Are these lessons about capitalism, investment strategies, how to deal with a floundering stock market, or what? This is a difficult parable, I admit, made up of powerful images, both literal and metaphorical, and one that will lend its gems only when we have worked at it some. We will need to dig a bit to see its beauty and to see what it means for us.