This post is based on Jesus’ parable of the labourers in the vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16), as I am preaching on it on Sunday. If you think it reads like a sermon, that's because it is one. It draws on a number of New Testament scholars.
The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire labourers for his vineyard.
My wife Marguerite retired a few weeks ago. She was looking forward to it, but just as it happened we had a succession of funerals to attend. It was as though we were given a reminder: with retirement, death approaches.
My own retirement was some time ago, in 2002. I was younger, but in poor health. In my mind I was crossing things off the list of things I hoped to do in the future, since I would never be well enough.
It is a while since we had to consciously brace ourselves for the worst before watching the evening news.
We, who live in areas which are free from conflict and lawless anarchy, are not used to feeling the grip of that cold ‘something’ which is the fear of real and immediate danger. Perhaps we should be used to terrorism by now. It has become the norm in many countries.
Richard Dawkins has achieved another piece of self-publicity. A woman said she would face a real ethical dilemma if she became pregnant with a baby with Down’s syndrome. He replied ‘Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice’.
Naturally there was an outcry, and Dawkins published one of those non-apologies that we often get from public figures these days.