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for Sunday, September 24th, 2017

Matthew 20:1-16

The Generous Landowner!

"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 the usual daily wage, 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 the usual daily wage. Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received the usual daily wage. And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, 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.' But he replied to one of them, 'Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?' So the last will be first, and the first will be last."

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The pay is the same, admittance into heaven. It doesn't matter how long we've been with the program! Some may take this as a sign that there is no hurry to get with the program, but hopefully most will see it as an opportunity to get on the right track earlier! It's not the destination, it's the journey.

Lectionary for this Month (with cartoon links):

Sunday

Old Testament

New Testatment

Gospel

Sunday 9/3 Exodus 19:1-9 Rom 12:1-13 Matthew 16:21-28 
Sunday 9/10 Exodus 19:16-24 Rom 13:1-10 Matthew 18:15-20 
Sunday 9/17 Exodus 20:1-20 Rom 14:5-12 Matthew 18:21-35 
Sunday 9/24 Exodus 32:1-14 Phil 1:21-27 Matthew 20:1-16 
Sunday 10/1 Exodus 33:12-23 Phil 2:1-13 Matthew 21:23-32 

Exodus 32:1-14

The Golden Calf

When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered around Aaron, and said to him, "Come, make gods for us, who shall go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him." 2 Aaron said to them, "Take off the gold rings that are on the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me." 3 So all the people took off the gold rings from their ears, and brought them to Aaron. 4 He took the gold from them, formed it in a mold, and cast an image of a calf; and they said, "These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!" 5 When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation and said, "Tomorrow shall be a festival to the LORD." 6 They rose early the next day, and offered burnt offerings and brought sacrifices of well-being; and the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to revel. 7 The LORD said to Moses, "Go down at once! Your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have acted perversely; 8 they have been quick to turn aside from the way that I commanded them; they have cast for themselves an image of a calf, and have worshiped it and sacrificed to it, and said, 'These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!'" 9 The LORD said to Moses, "I have seen this people, how stiff-necked they are. 10 Now let me alone, so that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them; and of you I will make a great nation." 11 But Moses implored the LORD his God, and said, "O LORD, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? 12 Why should the Egyptians say, 'It was with evil intent that he brought them out to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth'? Turn from your fierce wrath; change your mind and do not bring disaster on your people. 13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, how you swore to them by your own self, saying to them, 'I will multiply your descendants like the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have promised I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.'" 14 And the LORD changed his mind about the disaster that he planned to bring on his people.

God Give Me Patience NOW!

ot_exodus_32_golden_calf.tif

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Musings

If the people were worried about why Moses was delayed you would think they'd organize a search party, instead they sought to replace him as a messenger of God with a golden calf. Some see this as idolatry but some think that the golden calf was not going to be worshipped as a god, but rather as a pedestal or intermediary in Moses' absence. Maybe it was just a good excuse to have an orgy (the work translated as "revel" has sexual connotations). Interestingly God tells Moses to go down at once to your people (as opposed to "my" people). God is pretty annoyed at them and while Moses talks God out of simply wiping them out, there will be consequences.

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