Diocese of Los Angeles Bishop Suffragan Diane Bruce preached Sept. 21 at Church of the Advent in Taiwan, where the Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops in meeting Sept. 17-23.
Proper 20A 2014 — Church of the Advent, Taiwan
In the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit — Amen.
I bring you greetings from the House of Bishops and from the people of the Diocese of Los Angeles — it is a great honor to be with you this morning, preaching here at the Church of the Advent.
Today’s readings are all about economics. Not just any kind of economics, though. Today’s readings are about a special kind of economics — God’s economics.
Starting with the reading from Exodus, God provides enough food for a grumbling crowd. Remember, the Lord said to Moses, “I am going to rain bread from heaven for you, and each day the people shall go out and gather enough for that day.” Do you remember what happens in the verses that follow this one? When the people try to gather more than they need, the food spoils.
Enough. God provided enough for the Israelites. God provides enough for us. But how does this work?
I think a clue comes in the Gospel lesson today.
I must admit, before I talk about today’s gospel, that whenever we come to this parable in the cycle of readings …. the parable of the vineyard owner, I can’t help but smile. It’s not our economics, is it?
在討論今天的福音書之前，我必須承認一件事，那就是每次循環讀經讀到這段經文的時候。 。 。也就是葡萄園主的比喻這一段，我都忍不住會笑起來。因為這肯定不是我們概念中的經濟學。
I remember the first time I heard it – I mean really heard it. I was a manager with a staff of about 75 people working under me. I thought to myself….wait a minute…this isn’t fair! The workers that came last should receive less money than the workers that started early in the morning and toiled all day in the vineyard. How is that fair?
我記得當時的想法是。 。 。這在我工作的銀行里是絕對行不通的。之後我就想到，我用的是銀行經理的思考方式，而不是基督徒更不是耶穌基督的思考方式。這段經文深深地震撼了我，直到現在，我每次聽到這段經文時，依然同樣感到震撼，只是原因不盡相同。
For you see, in God’s economy, no matter when we start to work or what kind of work we do, we are to be cared for the same as anyone else. Everyone is entitled to have enough.
That’s really hard for people to understand, because, for us as human beings, it doesn’t make common sense, but it does make God-sense.
Friends in Christ, Jesus died so that we all might have life, and have it abundantly. And living with a sense of abundance in our lives we have a responsibility to live abundantly.
How do we live our lives with a sense of abundance? I think the key is again in the readings today: Everything we have, everything we are, everything we do is a gift from God, and it is a gift that is meant to be shared.
Let me repeat that: Everything we have, everything we are, everything we do is a gift from God, and it is a gift that is meant to be shared.
It means trusting that we will have ENOUGH — it may not be a lot, but it will be enough. That’s God’s promise.
這意味著我們相信我們會有足夠多 — 也許不是非常多，但會是足夠多。這是上帝的應許。
God gave God’s first fruits — Jesus, God’s Son — the greatest gift we could ever be given. We are called to give from our first fruits — not the leftovers or the dregs from the bottom — but our best.
上帝賜給我們他初熟的果子– 他的聖子耶穌基督–這是我們能夠得到的最好的禮物。上帝也呼召我們給出我們初熟的果子– 不是挑剩下的，也不是盤底的碎渣– 而是我們最好的。
I learned this at a very early age, for you see, I grew up with a mother who understood what living with a sense of abundance meant. My mother was just like the vineyard owner — loving equally, treating people equally no matter when they came into her life, who they were or what they did.
She always gave our best to our guests as they came, and she always shared whatever she had — including her time, talent, and treasure. She modeled God’s economics. My most vivid memory among all of the small kindnesses, the sharing out of our abundance was the way she showed kindness to the men who picked up our trash each week.
每當有客人來訪，我母親總是拿出她最好的來招待他們，總是分享她自己擁有的一切– 包括她的時間，才能，和金錢。她為上帝的經濟學做了最好的示範。在所有細小的善意之舉中，也就是把我們的豐盛分享出去的事情上，最讓我記憶猶新的, 就是她向每週為我們收垃圾的工人顯示慈愛的方式。
If the pickup was in the morning in the winter, she’d offer the men cups of hot coffee. If it was in the afternoon, mugs of hot chocolate. In the summer, it was ice water or lemonade in the morning, and in the afternoon lemonade, and on occasions if they were at the end of the route on a hot summer’s day, she offered them ice cold beer.
The men would take a break when my mother brought out the drinks, and they would talk.
My mother understood that their work was hard and sweaty — it was before the days of, at least where I live, the man in the truck with the automatic grippers that pick up your trash.
Some of the men working on the garbage truck couldn’t read or write. They brought any documents they were asked to sign to my mother to look at for them. She always did, and she often saved them money or stopped them from entering into a deal that was questionable.
The men gave to my mother out of their first fruits as well — coming by to help her move heavy objects, or picking up extra trash for her without extra charge. Both my mother and the garbage men experienced God’s economy — and God’s love and grace.
同樣的，那些工人也給予了母親他們初熟的果子– 過來幫忙搬重的東西，或是收取多出來的垃圾而不額外收費。我的母親和這些垃圾工人一起體驗了上帝的經濟學– 就是祂的慈愛和恩典。
Friends in Christ, growing up we never had a lot of things in our lives, but we always had enough. We lived with a sense of abundance and never feared that we would run out of what we needed. My mother taught us to trust that we would always have what we needed as long as we were as generous to others as God had always and is always generous to us. We always did. And I still always do.
May today’s readings bring you into a deeper relationship with the one who loves you so much, he sent his Son for you. And may you always remember that everything you have, everything you are, everything you do is a gift from God, and it is a gift that is meant to be shared.