From the Pastor:    “This Ain’t Fair!”                  Rev. Marshall Murphy Jr September 24, 2023


September 24, 2023

Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost


Processional                                                                      “Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken”


Invocation: Welcome to this Glorious Sunday!

As your beloved children, be with us and strengthen us on our journeys. Through our time of worship and our companionship with one another, teach us to recognize Christ in everyone we meet. Help us offer holy hospitality wherever it is needed, and be a blessing for others. Amen.


Call to Worship

L: Come! Now is the time to worship!
P: We come to worship God who provides!

L: Jesus tells a story of vineyard workers, some who work all day and some who work mere hours, yet the generous landowner paid all of them equally.
P: God provides in unexpected ways.

L: Come! Now is the time to worship!
P: We come to worship and partner with God who provides for the long haul!


Words of Welcome and Parish News


*Gathering Hymn:                             “Come Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy”                     UMH 340


Silent meditation

Prayer Focus: Fun


Lord’s Prayer

Our father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.


Old Testament Lesson:                                                          Psalm 145

The Greatness and the Goodness of God

Praise. Of David.

I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever.
Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever.
Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised; his greatness is unsearchable.

One generation shall extol your works to another and shall declare your mighty acts.
They will recount the glorious[a] splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works I will meditate.
They will proclaim the might of your awesome deeds, and I will declare your greatness.
They shall celebrate the fame of your abundant goodness and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.

The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.


New Testament Lesson:                                                          Matthew 20:1-16

The Laborers in the Vineyard

20 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius for the day, he sent them into his vineyard. When he went out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and he said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went. When he went out again about noon and about three o’clock, he did the same. And about five o’clock he went out and found others standing around, and he said to them, ‘Why are you standing here idle all day?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard.’ When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, ‘Call the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and then going to the first.’ When those hired about five o’clock came, each of them received a denarius. 10 Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received a denarius. 11 And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, 12 saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ 13 But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for a denarius? 14 Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. 15 Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?’[a] 16 So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”[b]


 Choir Anthem:                                                                                                                    “Agnus Dei”


The Message                                        “This Ain’t Fair!”                  Rev. Marshall Murphy Jr

This ain’t fair are words spoken often by children. However, we see tension between the labor movement and many companies. This parable would not be popular after trying to comprehend that some laborers were paid the same for doing less work. What does that mean?  Think about our sisters and brothers doing volunteer work in specific places. However, people sometimes can’t see that, for many of God’s children don’t get the same opportunities in life as some people. In Matthew verses 6 and 7 And about five o’clock he went out and found others standing around, and he said to them, ‘Why are you standing here idle all day?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard.’  There is a question that should have us pause about current life situations. The landowner asks why are you standing idle all day? The people said because no one has hired us. I’m reminded of watching children in a school outside playing during recess, and some children stand along a fence alone. This happens sometimes because they were not asked to play. There is something in giving people an invitation. But that’s just on the surface. Some people don’t have transportation or a public transportation system but can go to various surrounding cities to gain employment. Sometimes, people are blessed with resources. Have you ever heard how people have inside connections when applying for a job? This parable makes me understand why Jesus always said he was here for the sinners. People had written off some people for various reasons, reputations, and just because they could pick and choose. But, thanks to this landowner saying to the last, go into the vineyard. How can we tell God what to do and do who? Praise God for the unconditional love and grace! Amen.


Offertory Invitation

Faithful Giver of Life, you have done great things for us. In the life and teaching of your Son Jesus, you welcome us into your heart. Help us open our hearts to others, that we may be ever more willing to offer our hospitality, our support, and our material resources wherever they are needed.

Offertory Music:                                                                    “O Master, Let Me Walk with Thee”


*Doxology:                                                                                                                 UMH 95

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow; praise him, all creatures here below; praise him above, ye heavenly host; praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.                                                                                                                


*Unison Prayer of Dedication:

May the offering we bring today be an act of praise. May it find its way to bring comfort to your children who have little or nothing; and when that happens, may it be joy for your eyes and ears. In Christ, we pray. Amen.


Closing Hymn:                          “O Jesus, I Have Promised”                                            UMH 396


Sending Forth:

Go out from here as workers in God’s upside-down kingdom, where the last are first and the first are last, where needs are met in miraculous ways, and there is grace enough for all! And may the blessing of God, the love of Jesus Christ, and the presence of the Holy Spirit surround you and sustain you in the coming days. Amen.


Recessional:                                                                                                    “My Jesus, I Love Thee”

(Please remain seated to meditate and reflect on the music

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