Shipley Church Self-Service
Sunday 20th September 2020
Thought for the Week – The last will be first, and the first will be last.
A spectacular reversal of fortune occurred two weeks ago when the number “one” professional tennis player in the world, Novak Djokovic, was disqualified from the US Open Tennis Tournament for an infringement of the rules. The first became last! We were reminded of the need for taking responsibility for our own actions, whatever their consequences.
“It’s not fair!” is a phrase well known to all parents and those who work with children, and it’s a sentiment felt keenly by the farm workers who - in the parable of labourers in the vineyard – had joined late in the day but received an equal reward with those who had been faithful the longest. The Jewish religious leaders, whom Jesus was addressing, expected to be first to enter the kingdom of heaven as a mark of their privileged position in society. But salvation is not earned by one’s status in life. Eternal life is not a pensionable benefit determined by age, length of service or a final salary calculation, but is promised by God to those who can be either first or last in the pecking order, and who believe in Jesus, trust and depend on him, and are committed to repentance of their sins. That can be a difficult message to hear, yet it is a challenge we are called to embrace. (Matthew 20: 1-16)
Lord, enthroned in heav’nly splendour,
First begotten from the dead,
Thou alone, our strong defender,
Liftest up thy people’s head.
Jesu, true and living bread.
We pray for those who minister justice in our society, that they may be granted the spirit of wisdom and discernment enabling them always to distribute fairness and compassion in God’s name
Note: The Readings and Gospel set for today can be downloaded from the top left of this page