Services in our four parish churches have been cancelled for the time being.
For Sunday 20th September (Trinity 15) Revd. Andrew Dawson has written a message based on Matthew 20 1-16
A Message for Trinity 15
Matthew 20. 1-16
‘For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire labourers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the labourers 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 market-place; 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 labourers 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.’
On the face of it this parable seems hardly to be a defence of Zero Hours Contracts! Or, for that matter, an exposition on the merits of hiring a workforce as individually self-employed contractors. Easy come, easy go. In the modern workplaces we are familiar with, the idea of paying someone who has done virtually nothing the same as the person who has grafted from six in the morning hardly seems an appropriate way to convince people of the huge value God places on those who ask to enter the Kingdom of Heaven even at the very last hour?
We know that we are living in a time when many people have lost jobs because their ‘vineyard owner’ has themselves run out of funds despite various loans or furlough funding. When furlough funding comes to an end it seems we are some way off the vineyard owners recovering sufficiently to prevent losing more jobs. It would seem like a bitter pill for those modern day workers to find their employer has paid the same to someone fresh to the job — not far off a full day’s wages for zero hours! This story is difficult to embrace.
But what if we look at this story another way? Whatever time the workers started, the vineyard owner contracted with them to pay them ‘whatever was right’. So when he asked the foreman to pay the workers, he was paying them what he himself had in mind when he took them on. The classic interpretation of this passage is that, irrespective of when we ask to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, God will receive us just the same. He will treat those who have lived a long Godly life the same as those who have only just come to the Light. And it is not worthy for those who have lived a long Godly life to ask for more or to feel envy. Echoes of the Lost Sheep and the Prodigal Son? We don’t earn God’s Grace — it is His abundant gift. And perhaps we should ask ourselves — just who are the latecomers?
The post communion prayer for Trinity 15 is:
Keep, O Lord, your Church, with your perpetual mercy; and, because without you our human frailty cannot but fall, keep us ever by your help from all things hurtful, and lead us to all things profitable to our salvation; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Blessings to you all,
No services in our parishes on Sunday 6th.
Revd. Andrew Dawson has written a sermon based on Matthew 18:15-20 in which he says..
'if we have differences ..... we need to keep the goal of resolution in our sights.'
It can be downloaded from our website
Services on 16th August in Llanvetherine and Llantilio are cancelled.
Revd. Andrew Dawson has written a message for our four parishes. This message can be read on our website https://t.co/E88prHEkPj
'only with uncertainty are we required to examine our faith and trust in God'
In normal times we would be worshiping today in Llanvetherine and Llantilio.
For today Revd. Heidi has given us some of her thoughts on life and death.
“For life and death are one, even as the river and sea are one.”
Download her thoughts on our website.
Our visiting preacher this week is Revd. Michael Marsden, who is the hospital chaplain in Nevill Hall. In his sermon he recounts an encounter from his days as a curate in the parish of Neath. "Do you know him?" Download his sermon from our website.