Our mission is to explore and celebrate God’s infinite grace, acceptance, and love.

We aspire to worship weekly, pray daily, learn constantly, serve joyfully, and live generously.

  Scriptures & Reflection

 

 The Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Proper 20, Track 1, September 24, 2017 – Year A

How to use this page:

Read a different passage each day and think about it.  Some questions are offered to help stimulate your reflection.  You’ll find your experience of worship on Sunday will be intensified.

For a method to read and pray with the scriptures you might try to use the ancient practice of Lectio Divina (Divine Reading).  We’ve written some instructions on how to useLectio with the Sunday Scriptures at the following link:Using Lectio Divina to pray the lections

We use the Episcopal Revised Common Lectionary.
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Exodus 16:2-15
Psalm 105:1-6, 37-45
Philippians 1:21-30
Matthew 20:1-16

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Collect

Grant us, Lord, not to be anxious about earthly things, but to love things heavenly; and even now, while we are placed among things that are passing away, to hold fast to those that shall endure; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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A Reading from Exodus (16:2-15)
The whole congregation of the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate our fill of bread; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”
Then the Lord said to Moses, “I am going to rain bread from heaven for you, and each day the people shall go out and gather enough for that day. In that way I will test them, whether they will follow my instruction or not. On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather on other days.” So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, “In the evening you shall know that it was the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, and in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your complaining against the Lord. For what are we, that you complain against us?” And Moses said, “When the Lord gives you meat to eat in the evening and your fill of bread in the morning, because the Lord has heard the complaining that you utter against him-what are we? Your complaining is not against us but against the Lord.”
Then Moses said to Aaron, “Say to the whole congregation of the Israelites, ‘Draw near to the Lord, for he has heard your complaining.'” And as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the Israelites, they looked toward the wilderness, and the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud. The Lord spoke to Moses and said, “I have heard the complaining of the Israelites; say to them, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread; then you shall know that I am the Lord your God.'”

In the evening quails came up and covered the camp; and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. When the layer of dew lifted, there on the surface of the wilderness was a fine flaky substance, as fine as frost on the ground. When the Israelites saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, “It is the bread that the Lordhas given you to eat.

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The spiritual journey of transformation involves loss and sacrifice. It also involves trusting God to supply our essential needs — a new diet. 
In what ways are you still in Egypt?  …complaining in the desert?  …feeding on God’s gifts?
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Psalm 105:1-6, 37-45                                        St. Helena Psalter
  
We give you thanks, O God, and call upon your Name; *
     we make known your deeds among the peoples.
We sing to you; we sing your praise *
     and speak of all your marvelous works.
We glory in your holy Name; *
     let the hearts of those who seek you rejoice.
We search for you and your strength; *
     we continually seek your face.
We remember the marvels you have done, *
     the wonders and the judgments of your mouth.
We, the offspring of Abraham, your servant, *
     We, the children of Jacob, the chosen ones.
You led out your people with silver and gold; *
     in all their tribes there was not one that stumbled.
Egypt was glad of their going, *
     because they were afraid of them.
You spread out a cloud for a covering *
     and a fire to give light in the night season.
They asked, and quails appeared, *
     and you satisfied them with bread from heaven.
You opened the rock, and water flowed, *
     so the river ran in the dry places.
For you remembered your holy word *
    and Abraham your servant.
So you led forth your people with gladness, *
    your chosen with shouts of joy.
You gave your people the lands of the nations, *
     and they took the fruit of others’ toil,
That they might keep your statutes *
     and observe your laws. Alleluia!
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How can you look back upon your life an see God’s hand at work in your journey? 

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A Reading from  Paul’s letter to the Romans  (1:21-30)
To me, living is Christ and dying is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which I prefer. I am hard pressed between the two: my desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better; but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you. Since I am convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with all of you for your progress and joy in faith, so that I may share abundantly in your boasting in Christ Jesus when I come to you again.
Only, live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that, whether I come and see you or am absent and hear about you, I will know that you are standing firm in one spirit, striving side by side with one mind for the faith of the gospel, and are in no way intimidated by your opponents. For them this is evidence of their destruction, but of your salvation. And this is God’s doing. For he has graciously granted you the privilege not only of believing in Christ, but of suffering for him as well– since you are having the same struggle that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.
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For Paul, Christ is in our struggles and our suffering just the same as Christ is in our successes and our joys. How do you cope with your struggles and suffering? 

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The Gospel according to Matthew (20:1-16)
Jesus said, “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.”
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Jesus teaches of the radical equality of God. 

What do you think about this reading from the perspective of God’s dealing with our lives?
What do you think about this reading from an economic perspective?