Rev. Chelsea Simon
Sunday, September 4, 2022 at 9:30 am
While it doesn't necessarily feel like summer is coming to a close, the start of school and church activities picking back up alert us to the fact that it is September already. And how appropriate that we would read the parable entitled "The Workers in the Vineyard" (or alternatively “The Generous Landowner”) on this Labor Day Weekend.
This parable has a lot to teach us about our concepts of fairness, equality, and deservedness. As Jesus typically does in his teachings, he takes the ideas that are ingrained in our individual and collective psyches and flips them on their head. He takes something that is commonplace or widely accepted and says, "No, there is more, there is better in God's Kingdom."
Parables are short stories that Jesus used to convey his teachings and message. Parables are not to be read literally. They are not these universal moral lessons that hold only one meaning. They are complicated and perplexing and have a lot to unveil to us.
As A.J. Levine says in her book Short Stories by Jesus, "“What makes the parables mysterious, or difficult, is that they challenge us to look into the hidden aspects of our own values, our own lives. They bring to the surface unasked questions, and they reveal the answers we have always known, but refuse to acknowledge. Our reaction to them should be one of resistance rather than acceptance.”
It can be unsettling to have our preconceived notions questioned by these short, seemingly simple stories. But it can also be freeing and life-giving. When we come to better understand Jesus’s teachings and God’s intention for the world, our hearts expand as we grow closer into the Beloved Community that God so desperately desires for us.
I hope you will join us at 8 a.m. for our shortened Communion service in the Chapel, worship hour at 9:30 a.m. in the Sanctuary, or Livestream the service at 9:30 a.m., which will be on our YouTube page later in the day.
Hope to see you Sunday!
Peace in Christ,
P.S. Rabbi Mark Blazer will join us in Rooms 11 &12 to share a presentation on our Interfaith trip to Israel. Even if you can't join us on the trip, he'll be happy to answer any questions about life in Israel.
P.P.S. Sunday school, Youth Group, and the Nursery are happening throughout the morning and afternoon, and I hope you'll encourage your family and neighbors to join these wonderful ministries.