September 30, 2008

Looking Ahead to October 5, 2008 -- 21st Sunday After Pentecost, Worldwide Communion Sunday

This Sunday we will join with our brothers and sisters around the world as we celebrate the Sacrament of Communion.

The Scripture Readings this Sunday are:
  • Exodus 20:1-4, 7-9, 12-20 (this will be used during Children's Time)
  • Psalm 19 (VU p.741)
  • Matthew 20:1-16
The Hymns this week are:
  • 402 We Are One
  • 356 Seek Ye First
  • 457 As We Gather At Your Table
  • 468 Let Us Talents and Tongues Employ
Following the sermon we will hear a report from last weekend's Presbytery meeting.

The sermon title is Prodigal Pay
Early Thoughts: How does GOd's economy work? Is it based on merit or on works or on something else?

Can you imagine the next union meeting? OR the shareholders meeting? Everyone paid the same regardless of how long they worked or what they contributed to the project! Not only does it not make sense, it just seems terribly unfair.

But is the Reign of God about fairness or about justice? (and no they are NOT the same thing) The labourers in this story are landless, jobless peasants. THey rely on finding work each day to be able to buy food. THere is no social safety net, no government aid, no other choice. THe usual daily wage was likely just enough to survive for another day. The landowner makes the choice that all get what they need to eat for that day. The folks hired at the 11th hour likely thought this was great, those hired first grumbled. It was not "fair", it was not "right" but it was "just", at least by the standards of GOd's economy.

In the economics we are used to pay is based on many things. It may be related to our years of experience, or on our level of responsibility, or on our training/education. But it is not often based on what we need as a minimum to live on. SOme say this is the intent of minimum wage legislation but minimum wage falls far short of that survival level. Our economics are really based on pulling ourselves up by our own bootstraps, on maaking he best for ourselves. Our economics quickly turns into dog-eat-dog.

But the economy of God, as revealed by the Torah, by the JEwish prophets, and by Jesus is different. THe economy of God does not declare wealth in and of itself to be evil. But the economy of GOd also makes it clear that all are to get what they need for life. God's economy is based on life for all, survival for all as a starting point. Until that goal is met one should not worry about accumulating wealth.

God's economy guides our gathering at table. As we gather at Christ's table we open it to all who wish to eat and drink. Christ's table does not require us to pass a fitness test or present a fancy invitation. Christ's table is one where all can be fed, and all can be fed equally, given what they need for sustenance. At Worship MAtters last June TOm Long told of a communion celebration where the presider was heard to ask "have all been fed?". The question was meant at the time to ask if all present had been served. BUt TOm points out that it is a far deeper question. Have all been fed? Have all got what they need? Has the basic goal of God's economy been met?

COme join us as we ask these questions and as we share the meal that feeds us all on Sunday.

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