If Jesus were telling about the labourers waiting at the pick-up spot to be hired for work today, I reckon he might tell it differently. Maybe like this: about how there is this big city & 100s of would-labourers are gathering at the usual pick-up spot where intending hirers drive up in their cars or trucks, pick the ones they'll hire today & drive off with them to wherever the worksite is. & here they all are gathered this day when a fellow drives up in his car & calls out for those who want a job working for him to gather round; & they come running up to his car & when they all gather round he blows them all up with a bomb. BOOM.

That was this last Wednesday in Baghdad. The 1st died on the spot; the last are still dying in hospital. The lesson Jesus wants us to learn raws from the Gospel yarn is something like: What kind of God is it who acts in such a way out manner in paying them all from earliest starters to last the same wage? An unbelievably Generous God who is the God of the last people in life's line as well as the 1sts. God of the littlest, down the bottom of the heap people as well as those who can look after themselves thank you very much cos they're somewhere up on top of life's pile! I suspect Jesus would draw a similar kind of bow in response to this week's ghastly blowing up of those would-be workers in Baghdad. Maybe: What kind of God do people who do that kind of thing to others actually believe in? Not the absurdly generous God we see in Jesus in the Gospel! Or Why do what they've done to people who're last in everybody else's line? Because they don't count! Human beings don't count! To get inside Jesus (if I can put it like that) & everything he's on about in what he says & does, look at the first thing he says in today's yarn: `The kingdom of God is like.....' & the last words he puts into the mouth of the fellow who hires the workers: `Are you envious because I am generous? The last shall be 1st & the 1st last'. The way to get our hearts as well as our heads round that is to get inside Jesus & thus get inside God, & thus get inside every other human being, a 1st or a last. Get inside God & we become as generous as God. Then we can get inside any & every other human being & find there are no lines, no piles, no 1sts, no lasts - us or anyone else. But if we only listen to the Gospel story from the outside, with our heads, despite our best efforts we will never unlock the deep things of God because the the key to unlock them is in God's  heart & in our hearts & it only works from the inside where God is & where God's image lives in us. How does Jesus start today's yarn? "The kingdom of God is like"; or better, God's Rule is like; or better still, God is like. That's where Jesus want us to live & move & have our being: inside God's Kingdom, inside God's Rule, inside God, inside God's way of looking at things, inside God's way of doing things. Jesus can do it, & what point is there in his coming among us if we can't do it too by His Spirit? Let me share an insight that helped me when I found it some time back in a story of the ancient pre-Christian Irish Celts & their spirituality. It goes like this: How many directions are there? Any fool knows there're 4: NSEW. But the ancient Celtic way of looking at things is that there's another, a 5th direction: `Here'. Where Here is always the Centre of things, where we're looking from; where Here is our Focus. It seems to me that's a useful understanding of God & God's Rule. God doesn't live or operate in the N or S or E or W. God is always Here & Here is where God rules. The more deeply we enter into God the more we operate from God's Here too, where Here = God, & God's Rule & what God is like, & God is like & what we are like once we've become like Jesus & therefore like God. That makes God & us vulnerable to car bombs & a whole lot more, but from God's Here we live with each other more imaginatively, more generous ly than we've ever been able to do before by purely human means. You see, in God's Here there are no 1sts & no lasts; not us, not anyone else. In Beacy, in Baghdad, in anywhere else. That way even those of us who think of ourselves as lasts become 1sts, even if that also means that some of us who think we're 1sts might be in for a bit of a shock! Be glad, rejoice. God isn't the God of the N or the S or the E or the W. Nort even of up there some where. God is the God of here. Where we are. Where every human being is, living loving hurting dying. Here is where we all become as generous as God & we can't tell 1sts from Lasts any more than God can. & that's Gospel!

Page updated February 19, 2006