So, last Sunday we had a little look at Matthew 18 in order to hear his sheep parable in a wider, textual context. We thought a little bit about what the postulate of a Matthean community, or at least a local gathering of believers in Jesus for whom this particular gospel was constructed, rather than some mythical target audience (let alone an 'ideal reader' for those, like me, who get side-tracked with literary theory). Next Sunday our broad banner is 'stories Jesus told about plants' and we are staying in Matthew to pick up three parables with a clear agricultural/horticultural basis. As is often the case, variants of these parables are found in the other synoptics, so once more part of thinking has to be, why does this gospel writer put the story in this place? But also maybe we need to go a bit further and say, how does what we learn hear fit with what we learned last week?
I am having fun playing with the stories, and also mildly amused that those of my collegues/friends in churches and traditions that use the RCL will be pondering some of the same material, as this is the year of Matthew, and the chapter we will be visiting (chapter 13 if anyone wnats to read it ahead of time) currently has a starring role in the Lectionary.