Sermon Notes for September 18, 2011

Scriptures for the 14th Sunday after Pentecost (Year A, Proper 20)

Exodus 16:2-15
Psalm 105:1-6, 37-45
Philippians 1:21-30
Matthew 20:1-16

 

  • Good story, good message. The complainers in the wilderness.  “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.”  This is pretty much how the people of God have always dealt with their blessings.  We forget; we are reminded of how blessed we are; and God continues to provide.  This may be a good Sunday to recall the overarching story of God’s complainers (don’t forget to recall our own generation), and how God continues to provide “manna.”
  • “Manna”- there is a bit of humor tucked into this story when you uncover the term used for bread in the wilderness–“What is it?”.  Exactly.
  • The Epistle is a classic lesson. “For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain…”  Paul is writing from prison to the Philippians, and speaks eloquently about Christian existence in this life, and the one beyond this life.  The Philippians (and we) are called to live a life worthy of the Gospel at all times.
  • Here is a link to some brief but good materials on all the lessons from the Anglican Church in Montreal Commentary on the Lessons.
  • Another link from Working Preacher by David Fredrickson-definitely read 2nd Lesson commentary
  • I lean toward preaching the Gospel Lesson for this week-the parable of the landowner.  It works well with the complainers of the Old Testament lesson. A generous God gives grace beyond measure, and God’s people look for fair and equitable.  I have seen this at work in the Church for most of my life…we have received grace and blessing in powerful ways, and yet we are often the first to withhold grace and mercy to others.
  • Here is another excellent commentary from Dan Clendenin (I recommend bookmarking his work): “‘Are You Envious Because I Am Generous?’ The Economy and Geography of God’s Grace
  • Personal note- How many of us have experienced earthly generosity that gets under our skin?  That young professional that gets a prized promotion before he/she has paid their dues…that lazy roommate from college who is now making six figures while you are still getting paid like, well, a Methodist preacher…the time when the board or vestry or congregation openly discussed your salary and they concluded that maybe they should pay you more, but that it wouldn’t be fair to give you 5% more because nobody at the mill/factory got a 5% raise (but nobody brought up the fact that you were already making 10% less than the average mill employee).  We can identify with the unfairness that is ever present, can we recognize the generosity that is always  around us?

 

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