Worship at Home
Worship for 20th September 2020
The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard
Try our dial-in service to listen to the sermon and a hymn – 01604 266000.
Sunday 20th September 10:30 AM
(or whenever you wish)
This week’s message has been prepared by Rev Phil Snelson.
This short act of worship is for use from home. Pause to settle yourself in God’s presence, knowing that other people are sharing in worship with you.
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Our Call to Worship
Call to Worship – Psalm 105: 1-5
1 “O give thanks to the Lord, call on his name,
make known his deeds among the peoples.
2 Sing to him, sing praises to him;
tell of all his wonderful works.
3 Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
4 Seek the Lord and his strength;
seek his presence continually.
5 Remember the wonderful works he has done, his miracles, and the judgements he has uttered,.”
StF 332: Lord, I lift your name on high
Lord, I lift your name on high;
Lord, I love to sing Your praises.
I’m so glad You’re in my life;
I’m so glad You came to save us.
You came from heaven to earth
to show the way,
From the earth to the cross,
My debt to pay.
From the cross to the grave,
From the grave to the sky,
Lord, I lift Your name on high.
We thank you, Lord, for you are gracious.
You have loved us from the beginning of time.
and you remember us in times of trouble
and of joy.
Your love endures forever
We thank you Lord,
for coming to us in Jesus Christ,
who has redeemed the world
and saves us from our sins.
Your love endures forever
We thank you Lord,
for sending your Holy Spirit,
who comforts us and leads us into all truth.
Your love endures forever.
God of mercy,
Your love for us is strong,
But our love for you is weak.
You call us to follow Jesus,
But we are slow to obey.
You care for all you have made,
But we ignore the needs of others
And misuse your creation.
Forgive us, and free us for joyful obedience, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Made alive in Christ
2 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesha]”>[a] and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
The parable of the workers in the vineyard
20 ‘For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. 2 He agreed to pay them a denarius[a] for the day and sent them into his vineyard.
3 ‘About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the market-place doing nothing. 4 He told them, “You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.” 5 So they went.
‘He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing. 6 About five in the afternoon he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, “Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?”
7 ‘“Because no one has hired us,” they answered.
‘He said to them, “You also go and work in my vineyard.”
8 ‘When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, “Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.”
9 ‘The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius. 10 So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. 11 When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 12 “These who were hired last worked only one hour,” they said, “and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.”
13 ‘But he answered one of them, “I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? 14 Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. 15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?”
16 ‘So the last will be first, and the first will be last.’
Message from Rev Phil Snelson
Last week Matthew’s gospel brought us Jesus’ teaching on forgiveness, that we either live under God’s forgiveness and extend it to those who sin against us too, or it is neither – we cannot expect God to forgive us if we are living in unforgiveness toward others. God is not a hypocrite; he won’t keep double-standards with us!
This week Jesus is teaching us that God is not fair. Yes, you read that right, God is NOT FAIR! What do you think when you hear me say that? Is it not instinctive to us that being fair is a good thing and surely therefore, if anything, God must be fair!
Once again Jesus brings teaching to his followers through a parable, this time of an owner of a vineyard. To us a vineyard is… well… a vineyard, but to Jews the vineyard was one of the key symbols in the scriptures used of Israel. The temple in Jerusalem had a big vine carved over the entrance. For Jesus’ listeners, he was talking about them directly.
The owner of the vineyard is clearly God and we need to look a little closer and think more carefully about what is actually happening in Jesus’ parable. A denarius (silver coin) was considered a fair day’s pay, enough to feed a family, a bit like the Living Wage (the proper one, not the government one). So the owner agrees to pay the first recruits a denarius for their day’s work – excellent they think, THAT’S REALLY FAIR!
Then the owner goes again and again. Five times he goes. Five! And he goes himself, not just at the beginning of the day, but every time to find workers. Wouldn’t you expect him to send his foreman, or another servant? Would you hire someone for the day an hour before closing?
Come pay time at the end of the day the last recruits are paid a full day’s wage just like everyone else – SO UNFAIR!
It all points to the owner’s genuine concern for, and his generosity toward these people who have no work. No work, no pay, no food for the family. So, he ensures that everyone has enough, what they need, whether they’ve earned it or not. It’s not fair… it is so much more than that. It’s REALLY GENEROUS! When you think about it, none of them had work at the beginning of the day, and it was the owner who came and found all of them and invited them to come to work for him. He had been generous to them all.
And that’s the whole point. This is a story about God’s grace. Grace is closely partnered with forgiveness: both are undeserved, generous, and complimentary, for where forgiveness is about “wiping the slate clean”, grace is about generous provision and equipping to live for God and His purposes for us in this life.
Let us wonder, receive and enjoy God’s forgiveness and grace, and always remember to share what we have received, generously, to those around us, in church, neighbourhood and – yes – even in Church Council!
Take a few moments to reflect, then…
Prayers of Intercessions:
Use the prayer points to bring your prayers.
God our Father, grant us the help of your Spirit in our prayers for the salvation of all people.
Pray for …
- Guidance and direction for your Church Council and stewards as we emerge from the COVID-19 restrictions.
- For local authorities, medical and support services still working to contain the virus.
- Fresh, united vision from God for our way forward as a Circuit
- For children and young people connected with your church and the Circuit.
- For people in your congregation, and neighbourhood, family & friends, their needs, their encouragement and spiritual growth, knowing the presence of God and expressing his generosity and grace more fully.
- For the ministers and circuit stewards.
- …anything else you feel led to pray for
- For yourself, to grow in faith to trust God for his provision, to express His grace to others, any other response you wish to make.
The Lord's Prayer
Please use the version that you prefer
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy Name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever.
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be your name,
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done,
On earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
As we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial
And deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power
and the glory are yours
Now and for ever.
Hymn: Amazing Grace
Amazing Grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me;
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear,
The hour I first believed!
My chains are gone,
I’ve been set free,
My God, my Saviour has ransomed me.
And like a flood His mercy reigns,
Unending love, amazing grace.
Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
’tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
and grace will lead me home.
The Lord has promised good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures.
The Earth shall soon dissolve like snow
The sun forbear to shine
But God, Who called me here below
Will be forever mine. Will be forever mine
You are forever mine
When we’ve been there ten thousand years
bright shining as the sun,
we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
than when we first begun.
A Final Prayer
God of all goodness and grace,
we offer ourselves a fresh to you.
We ask that you fill us with your Holy Spirit
and pray that our whole life may be used
in your service and bring you glory and praise;
through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Park Avenue’s Wayside pulpit
After worship today, why not take a few minutes to phone someone you haven’t spoken to for a while.
Service, Message and format by Revd Phil Snelson
Prayers adapted from Methodist Worship
Webpage: Paul Deakin