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February 4, 2021
The 10:30 service can be viewed online at:https://boxcast.tv/channel/bzioh0xyyacgq5fmjnoi
11:30 a.m. Virtual Fellowship: https://zoom.us/j/153605864?pwd=M2VSRjZsRDdFd1Q4bms0RExzam5SUT09&status=success PW: 007681
The Tuesday morning Bible study group has been having a lively discussion on the parables of Jesus. This week we explored the parable of the laborers in the vineyard. In the story, a landowner hires various workers throughout the day. Some work all day. Some work half a day. Some work for an hour. At the end of the day they all get paid the same amount.
For many of us, the immediate reaction to this parable is, “Not fair!” We identify with those laborers who worked all day and then somebody else comes in and gets all the same credit. Brings back bad memories of group projects in school.
The parable is disturbing because it forces us to think outside the box of what is fair or not fair. Professor Amy Joe Levine, whose book we are using as a resource for this study, asks us to approach the parable with a different point of view. Can we think beyond what is fair or not fair? Can we consider the generosity of the landowner? Can we consider that everyone ought to have a daily wage sufficient for living? Can we look at this parable through the lens of justice?
She also raises a question about living in community. What may have prevented those first hired from saying to the landowner, “Hey, my friends over there need work, too.”
We spent a lot of time trying to wrap our heads around those perspectives. And especially about the perspective of a landowner who chooses to be generous and how we react when someone gets more than we do.
Whatever made us think that life is fair? I once heard a speaker say that we have to get over that concept because the more we try and make life fair the more frustrated we get. Life, as we know it, is not fair.
Levine asks us to focus on generosity. Sometimes we are the recipients of generosity that to others may not seem fair. At other times, we may be the ones who share and consider the others in our community who may need more in order to live.
What might our lives look like if we gazed through a lens of generosity and justice rather than fairness?
Worship Notes Fifth Sunday after Epiphany
The readings today affirm the importance of prayer in keeping our focus for ministry. Restored by God’s transforming love, we are reshaped as messengers of good news. In our Gospel lesson, Mark 1:29-39, as Jesus is seeking rest at the home of Simon and Andrew, he is called upon to heal Simon’s mother-in-law. Crowds begin to press in around the house, demanding more words and deeds of power from Jesus. Isaiah 40: 21-31 calls God’s people to remember that God – who created the universe and rules everything within it – is their source of strength. We will share in communion this morning.
Food for Thought:
“Fair doesn’t mean giving every child the same thing, but giving every child what he or she needs.” (Rick Lavoie)
Rev. Dr. Barbara Kershner Daniel, Senior Pastor
Evangelical Reformed Church, United Church of Christ
15 West Church Street, Frederick, MD 21701