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getting out the WORD - the 18th sunday after pentecost
Written by Pastor Bob   
Thursday, 12 October 2017 18:38

the PRAYER...
Beloved God, from you come all things that are good. Lead us by the inspiration of your Spirit to know those things that are right, and by your merciful guidance, help us to do them, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.

the READING...
Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom.

Matthew 21:33-46

the DEVOTION...
The church has been around for a long time. Two thousand years, so far! And in all that time, there has never been one moment we got it right! Don't get me wrong. We do our best! We try our hardest! But in the end, when everything's done and said, we're never more than just people! Plain! Ordinary! Everyday! So if god is all that concerned with whether or not we "produce fruit," then all god will ever be doing is taking the kingdom from one and giving it to another... and taking the kingdom from that one and giving it to another... and taking the kingdom from that one and giving it to still another... on and on and on... over and over and over... again and again and again...

Bottom line, no one is fruitful! We might have our moments. But one time or another, we're going to fall short. And and miss the mark. After all, we're just people! No worse, no better than billions of others. Fortunately, god's not as harsh as Matthew would like us believe. Gentle! Kind! Not insisting on god's own way! Truth is, once god gives, god never takes away! God is here! With us! For us! When we fall, god picks us up! When we tire, god carries us. When we wander off, god finds us. So when we don't "produce the fruits" and someone better comes along - but that's the funny part - no one ever does!

Bob Barndt, pastor

 
getting out the WORD - the 17th sunday after pentecost
Written by Pastor Bob   
Wednesday, 04 October 2017 12:44

the PRAYER...
God of love, giver of life, you know our frailties and failings. Give us your grace to overcome them, keep us from those things that harm us, and guide us in the way of salvation, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.

the READING...
"What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, 'Son, go and work in the vineyard today.' He answered, 'I will not'; but later he changed his mind and went. The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, 'I go, sir'; but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?"

Matthew 21:23-32

the DEVOTION...
It's natural. What's to be expected, actually. Especially after all the lines that have been drawn in the first twenty chapters of the book. Between fruitful and unfruitful. Grain and chaff. Wheat and weeds. Forgiving and unforgiving. Righteous and unrighteous. Good and evil. The former destined for glory, the latter consigned to the outer darkness, to the fire that never goes out. Natural and to be expected, as well, to read a parable like this one and imagine it does the same thing. One brother rewarded, the other punished.

Truth is, in this parable, the two are brothers when the story begins and they're still brothers when the story ends! Sure, one does what the father asks, while the other doesn't. But they're still family! They still both belonged! Not because of. Not in spite of. But because they're sons of the same father!

So they go into the kingdom... TOGETHER! One, apparently, ahead of the other. But they enter because of the father's love! For each! For both! For ever!

Bob Barndt, pastor

 
getting out the WORD - the 16th sunday after pentecost
Written by Pastor Bob   
Wednesday, 27 September 2017 14:22

the PRAYER...
Almighty and eternal God, you show perpetual lovingkindness to us your servants. Because we cannot rely on our own abilities, grant us your merciful judgment, and train us to embody the generosity of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.

the READING...
[Jesus said to the disciples:] "So the last will be first, and the first will be last."

Matthew 20:1-16

the DEVOTION...
A little over eight years ago, Disney released the animated comedy Up; a story of an old man and a young boy who team up for an adventure in the jungles of South America. Along the way, they meet Dug the talking - but easily distracted - dog who has a habit, in the middle of a sentence, of quickly looking off into the distance and saying, "Squirrel!"

Well, the gospel, this week, is Matthew's squirrel-moment! For fifteen verses, Jesus has been telling his disciples a parable about the laborers in the vineyard. Five groups of workers hired throughout the day who, in the end, are paid the same amount! It's all about generosity! But for some reason, Matthew ends by saying, "So the last will be first, and the first last!"

The way the workers are paid, though, is only a way of building up the anticipation of those hired early in the morning. As group after group receive a full day's wage, they become more certain they'll be paid more. When they don't, they grumble. Bigheartedness and openhandedness, not chronology! But Matthew tosses this shiny object into the air and we follow it every time! Sidetracked! Distracted! But then, I guess it's always a whole lot easier to worry about your place in line, than admit we, too, are envious of god's generosity.

Bob Barndt, pastor

 
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