Wednesday, March 19, 2014

When we are offered a job at the end of the day and invited to the wedding feast

We will be offered the job and I hope we are prepared for it. And we are already at the wedding feast.

There is a discussion going on over at about the recent actions of the Ordain Women movement. As I read through the responses there, I think the question is not whether or not women should be ordained. The question is what is a christian response to the question about the ordaining of women, particularly on the part of those who believe that it should or will occur. (The question of what the christian response of those who do not, would be is a very good one too but I won't address it here.)

I personally believe that women in the church should be prepared to officiate in priesthood ordinances. I believe that some of us are prepared to do so and some of us are not. Those of us who are not should prepare. When we will be asked to do that officiating, I have no idea. But it's clear to me that failing to be prepared to do so is foolish.

I also believe that celestial life is one of full equality. “Joint heirs” with Christ means equal amounts of everything, (including equal responsibilities and equal godly power that we call priesthood and every other good thing) if you have to quantify it, which, if you are celestial, you probably don't need to. But none of us are celestial, yet.

I think two of Jesus' conversations particularly apply to the current OW movement as well as many, many other similar situations.

The first is the parable of the lord of the vineyard who hires workers to work in his fields for the remainder of the day. (Matthew 20) He hires them at various times, some in the morning, at noon, in the afternoon and at the end of the day. And then he pays every single one of them a full day's wage. (To the great dismay of the workers who had been working since the early morning.) Whether the worker is hired early in the day or an hour before quitting time makes no difference in the wages/blessing/gifts/results for the workers. And the lord of the vineyard is the one who decides who gets hired when for that job. I think in a situation like that the workers in the marketplace hoping to be hired who had to wait until the afternoon or the end of the day were probably anxious or upset or hot or concerned about unemployment and money for themselves and/or their also-waiting workers or something similar as the day wore on. But they did get hired and did work, and they did receive, for that work, the same benefits from the lord that all the other workers received.

The second is Jesus remarks to his disciples about choosing where to sit at a feast. (Luke 14) He tells them not to expect or head to the seats in the upper room where the more recognized guests were seated, assuming that such is your due. He says it is wiser to seat yourself in the lower room and be subsequently invited to the upper than it is to insist on sitting at the upper and be asked to move.

Both the parable and the piece of advice fly directly in the face of what one would assume when one is in the process of trying to attain something, be it good wages or a seat in the upper room or anything else.  But as in-efficacious and contrary to current cultural norms as they may seem, and whether or not you think they should apply here, I think they are what Jesus hopes of us.

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