Yesterday during the worship service, we began a series on the parables from the Gospel of Matthew. We’ll be looking at these stories until Easter. Beginning next week, we’ll spend several weeks in Matthew 13. This chapter is often called “The Great Sermon in Parables.” Jesus uses several parables and also explains the meaning of two of them to his disciples.
At one point in this sermon, Jesus’ disciples ask why he speaks to the people in parables. Jesus quotes Isaiah 6 in a somewhat surprising answer.
“This is why I speak to them in parables:
‘Though seeing, they do not see;
though hearing, they do not hear or understand.
In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:
‘“You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
For this people’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.”’” (Matthew 13:13-15, NIV 2011)
We may often think that Jesus used parables in order to make things clearer. What he indicates to his disciples is that he uses these stories so that things are not quite clear. Jesus’ parables draw us in and require us to think through their meaning. It’s an opportunity for us to go beyond simply understanding Jesus’ words, but to allow Jesus’ words to form us. These powerful stories can help change not only our minds, but also our hearts.
I want to encourage you to think about ways that you can commit to serve at North Danvers in the upcoming year. What has God gifted you to be able to do? We are short on volunteers for child care both during the Sunday School hour and the Worship Service. We also are in need of some additional people who would be willing to offer an occasional Children’s Story during the Worship Service. You can either contact me or Terri, if you are interested in signing up. We also always have room in our choir and our choir chimes if you are musically talented. There are lots of other opportunities to use your time and ability. Our congregation functions best when we are all working together.