Community of Christ

Worship Resources - 24 September 2017

Worship Suggestions

Ordinary Time (Proper 20)

Matthew 20:1–16/20:1–15 IV

God’s Generosity

Additional Scriptures

Jonah 3:10—4:11, Psalm 145:1–8, Philippians 1:21–30


Prelude

Welcome

Community Communications

Sharing of joys, concerns, and how God’s generosity has come into our lives this week. Ask congregants to continue thinking about how God’s generosity has touched their lives so they are prepared to share during the Disciples’ Generous Response.

Pastoral Prayer

Call to Worship

Psalm 145:1–8

Hymn of Praise

“Praise with Joy the World’s Creator” CCS 57
OR “Sing of Colors/De colores” CCS 332

Prayer of Praise and Invocation

Response

Responsive Reading of Confession

Leader: Lord, I do not understand your great generosity and forgiveness. You told me to teach the people about judgment and yet you forgive them over and over.

Congregation: Jonah, why are you so angry?

Leader: Lord, you told me that I was to teach about judgment. I feel foolish now, I think I would rather die.

Congregation: Jonah, why are you so angry?

Leader: Your love and generosity confuses me Lord. Forgive me. I will try to see others through your eyes.

Congregation: We are all your children, Lord. We confess our shortsightedness. Help us understand your generosity.

—based on Jonah 3:10—4:11

Hymn of Confession

“O God We Call” (sing through twice) CCS 195
OR “The Weight of Past and Fruitless Guilt” CCS 214

Disciples’ Generous Response

Video

“How Is God Calling You to Be Generous?” (http://www.cofchrist.org/resources?tags=English-Home-Resource#/1956/how-is-god-calling-you-to-be-generous)

Blessing and Receiving of Mission Tithes

Ask the children in the congregation to receive the offering as the congregation sings the following song.

Hymn of Generosity

“From You I Receive” (Sing this hymn in all four languages or sing through four times in English.) CCS 611

For additional ideas, see Disciples’ Generous Response Tools at www.CofChrist.org/disciples-generous-response-tools.

Dwelling in the Word: Matthew 20:1–16/20:1–15 IV

Ask the congregants to relax and, perhaps, close their eyes as the scripture is read.

First Reading

Just listen to the words without analysis or critique. (pause)

Sung Response

“O Senhor é a minha força/In the Lord I’ll Be Ever Thankful” CCS 129

Second Reading

Listen to the scripture again. What emotions or feelings does this text raise in you? (pause)

Sung Response

“O Senhor é a minha força/In the Lord I’ll Be Ever Thankful” CCS 129

Third Reading

Listen to the scripture again with this question in mind: What does this scripture say to you about God’s generosity? (pause)

If time permits, ask people to share insights they had about the scripture text.

Hymn of Expectation

“Sometimes We Wait, Expecting God” CCS 304
OR “Put Peace into Each Other’s Hands” (stanzas 1, 2, 4, 5) CCS 309

Sermon

Based on Matthew 20:1–16/20:1–15 IV

Prayer for Peace

Light the peace candle.

Prayer

Lord, we pray today for the countries of the world that are crying out in need. We ache for those who are living in unpeaceful situations. We remember that the last will be first and the first will be last. Teach us, and hold us accountable for our blessings. Help us find ways to gift that blessedness to others. Hear our prayers, Lord. Give them the power to change lives. We pray in your Son’s holy name. Amen.

For more ideas: The Daily Prayer for Peace services offered at the Temple in Independence, Missouri, can be found on the church’s website as Calendar Events at www.CofChrist.org/daily-prayer-for-peace.

Hymn Committing to Generosity

“I’m Gonna Live So God Can Use Me” CCS 581
OR “Your Cause Be Mine” CCS 639

Benediction

Response

Postlude


Sermon Helps

Ordinary Time (Proper 20)

MATTHEW 20:1–16

Exploring the Scripture

“But that is just not fair!” could go through a person’s mind when reading this scripture passage. The idea that someone who works only an hour or so gets paid the same as people who have worked longer is not just, or fair. This passage lifts up the tension between grace and justice.

Matthew is speaking to a group that is a mixture of lifelong Jewish Christians and those who have just joined the movement. There is within the group a sense of ranking that is beginning to occur between those who have served the longest and those who have just come to know God through Jesus Christ.

Jesus tells the story of a landowner hiring workers at the beginning of the day for one denarius. He goes back to the market later in the day and hires more workers. And once again, the landowner hires more workers, just as the day is ending. When it comes time to pay the workers, the landowner paid them all the same. The workers that had worked all day were angry, thinking that they would get paid more. The landowner asked them if they had agreed to the payment. They replied “yes.” The landowner then paid those who went to work in the field the same wage.

The landowner asked if he could not choose what he paid. “Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me?” And then he says, “So the last will be first; and the first will be last.”

The landowner, God, offers grace freely, without cause or merit. The parable explains that those who are new to life as a disciple and respond will come into the kingdom before those who have known for a long time.

Is God a God of grace? Yes, God hired day laborers at the end of the day, and then paid a normal wage. And the commitment was fulfilled to those who were first, which was also a normal wage. Is God a God of justice? Yes, to those who worked, whether it was all day long or just at the end.

Central Ideas

  1. God is a just God. God gives all their daily bread.
  2. God’s grace is given freely without reservation or cause.

Questions to Consider

  1. When have you received God’s generous grace?
  2. Have you experienced a time when radical justice was offered to you or another person you knew? How did the radical justice affect the lives of people who were witnesses?
  3. Does our sense of what is fair get in the way of understanding God’s infinite generosity and grace?
  4. When have you been “the last”? How did it feel? When have you been “the first”? How did it feel? Which do you think was better?