Welcome to your online worship from St. Mark’s for Sunday September 24, 2023.
As we conclude our celebration of the Season of Creation, I would remind us that in the parable of the Labourers in the Vineyard, we witness the landowner’s remarkable generosity and his willingness to treat all labourers equally, regardless of the hours they worked. This powerful message transcends the boundaries of time and resonates with our contemporary world, especially as we confront the urgent crisis of climate change. Just as the landowner saw the worth and dignity of each worker, we are called to recognize the intrinsic value of every individual on this planet. In the face of climate change, where the impacts are far-reaching and affect people from all walks of life, we, as Stewards of Creation, are compelled to adopt a similar spirit of inclusivity and generosity. By acknowledging the interconnectedness of our global community and striving for equitable solutions that benefit all, we can better care for our planet and create a sustainable future where no one is left behind.
Today’s Opening Sentence
Open our hearts, O Lord, to give heed to what is said by your Son.
Today’s Reading – Matthew 20:1-16
“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. When he went out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace; and he said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went. When he went out again about noon and about three o’clock, he did the same. And about five o’clock he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, ‘Why are you standing here idle all day?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard.’ When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, ‘Call the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and then going to the first.’ When those hired about five o’clock came, each of them received the usual daily wage. Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received the usual daily wage. And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”1
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Reflection questions for the week:
- In your own life, have you ever felt like the labourers who worked all day and were upset by the landowner’s generosity? Reflect on a time when you may have measured your worth or effort in comparison to others. How does this parable challenge your perspective?
- Consider the idea of God’s economy of love and grace. How does this differ from the world’s economy that often values competition and individual achievement? How can you align your own values and actions more closely with God’s economy in your daily life?
- Think about instances when you may have felt envious of others or sought special recognition. How does the parable of the Labourers in the Vineyard speak to these feelings and desires? What steps can you take to cultivate humility and gratitude in your heart?
- Jesus reminds us that “the last will be first, and the first will be last.” How can you apply this teaching to your interactions with others and your understanding of worth and value? What changes can you make in your life to reflect this principle more fully?
This week music is again provided by Ryan Van Dijk, our Music Director, and the choir. Thank you to them all for their ministry of music!
A continued reminder that if you are at all uncomfortable being in-person for worship, or if you are not feeling well, please join us here online.
Thank you again for joining with your parish family in our online worship today.
Find out how you can support our ministry and good work in the community here.
God Bless you and have a blessed week. Be well!
The Rev’d Canon Rob Park
- Scripture quotation is from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.