Ordinary 29 C – October 20, 2019

Luke 18:1-8

Sorry, one of those golf/wife jokes:

A golf fanatic had always dreamed of playing at St. Andrews, and finally got the chance. Going with his wife, they teed off and he proceeded to play the best game of his life. After 9 holes, he was 2 strokes over par, and was on cloud nine. On the back nine, he started playing even better, getting back to even by the 16th hole.

He was so excited that he ended up slicing the shot on the 17th tee, and as he walked up to it, saw that his ball was behind a small shack for the groundskeepers.

Now he started to worry that his score would go up, but his caddy came up to him and said “Sir, this may sound like a tough shot, but if you put it through that window, the ball should go through the window on the other side, and if you’re lucky, the ball will roll onto the green. The way you’ve played today, I think you can make it.”

So the guy takes a look and sees that it’s a tough shot, but possible, so he tries it. But his shot just misses the window, hits the window frame, and strikes his wife right in the head, killing her instantly.

Years go by and the man can’t forget that horrible day. People he tells the story to all sympathize with him, but he just has no will to live. But then he realizes what he must do – Face his nightmare!

He travels back to Scotland and plays another round at St. Andrews, and miraculously, he is playing another stellar game. He starts to feel better about himself as the round goes on, but when he approaches the 17th hole, he gets so nervous that he slices his shot to the same spot.

As at his ball lying there behind the shack, his caddy says “Sir, the way you’ve been playing, why not try a trick shot. Some of the other caddies say if you can get it through that window, it will follow through the one opposite it and roll onto the green.”

The guy says “Are you out of your mind? The last time I tried that I got an 8!

Perhaps, a Tom Long story would help:

There’s a famous story about a young boy named Frank who was walking along the bank of the Mississippi River and he noticed in the river another boy about his age wrestling with a homemade raft. He said to him, “What are you doing?” He said, “I’m going to take this raft out to that island in the middle of the river. I dare you to go with me!” Well, Frank couldn’t resist the dare so he scrambled down the bank and got on the raft. The two boys headed out to the middle of the river but the current was swift and strong. As they approached the island, the raft broke up and sank and they had to swim to the island. And there they were, abandoned on an island, late in the afternoon. Nobody knew where they were. What would they do?

Right at that moment, one of those paddle-wheel steamers started coming down the river and Frank ran to the edge of the island and began screaming and waving his hands, “Help! Help!” The other boy said, “Don’t waste your breath. They can’t hear you and even if they could they wouldn’t pay any attention to boys like us.” But just at that moment the paddlewheel steamer turned toward the island. The boy said to Frank, “How did you do that?” And Frank said, “Well, there’s something you don’t know. The captain of that boat is my father!”

Well, the captain of the universe is our father and how much more will one who has formed us in the womb respond to our every cry. So pray always and don’t lose heart. Tom Long

I suspect that our difficulty with the parable is that we feel this need to make God the judge. It is useful to remember that the “they” here are the Pharisees, and perhaps the parable is about getting justice in an unjust world.

Have a great week – Laurin