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PROLOGUE TO THE WORD


September 24, 2017

RADICAL EQUALITY

Jonah 3:10-4:11
Many are familiar with the fascinating story of Jonah. Prior to this week’s verses, Jonah, a prophet of God, has been asked by God to go to the city of Nineveh, a city of wickedness, in order to deliver a message of repentance. Instead, however, Jonah tries to flee from God, leading to Jonah being swallowed by a large fish during a storm at sea. Eventually saved from the fish, Jonah is given a second chance to warn the people of Nineveh. The people repent and God shows mercy on them. But in this week’s verses, now Jonah is angry at God because he thinks Nineveh should be punished. God says to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry?”

Philippians 1:21-30
Paul writes this letter to the church in Philippi from prison where Paul’s fate is uncertain. It is a letter of friendship in which Paul thanks the Philippians for caring for him, encourages them to live in a manner “worthy of the Gospel of Christ”, and comforts them in light of persecution. The letter is a call to stand firm in faith and in loving unity with each other, and to find joy and peace no matter what their circumstances.

Matthew 20:1-16
The Gospel lesson for this week is the parable of the laborers in the vineyard. Jesus tells the story of a landowner who goes out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. The landowner goes out again at 9:00 AM and at noon and at 3:00 and at 5:00, each time hiring more laborers. At the end of the day, all of the laborers are paid the exact same amount, even the ones who only worked an hour. This causes much grumbling from the laborers who had put in a full day’s work, but the owner responds, “I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you.”

Sermon Notes
The Gospel lesson this week contains the familiar verse, “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” I look forward to exploring this verse further. In both the passage from Jonah and the passage from Matthew there are those who are angry that God is showing mercy to the “last.” What does that have to say to us and how we feel about God’s “radical equality”?

Shalom, Pastor Lisa Bowersock