The workers in the Vineyard
Church News | Tuesday, 26 September 2017 |
Today’s 10.30pm Service was very exciting – It all seemed to start off as usual, other than that Carolyn announced that a very successful Quiz Night raised around £380 pounds and an equally successfully run Macmillan Coffee morning which was held at Trudy’s house raised around £480 (this was for Cancer research of course) but very exciting all the same. Revd Julie read the Gospel story from Matthew 20: where Jesus tells the Parable of the landowner going out into the market place early in the morning to hire workers to work in the vineyard. This would have been hard work, out in the blazing sun all day; and that they would receive the daily wage.
In her address, Revd Carolyn said that Jesus came into the world to turn man’s thinking upside down. We live by our own expectation but Jesus taught us that we don’t always get what we expect. God has his own plans for us and if we listen intently we can hear what he is saying to us, even if we don’t listen that hard, he has a way of pushing us onto the path he wants us to go… In which case, Revd Carolyn turned to the path that our Reader Diana has followed over the years. Baptised here in St Mary’s, Diana was licenced as a reader around 25years ago and eventually felt that God was calling her to a more active position in the church, so last year she went to selection and has since advanced towards ordination that will take place at Chelmsford Cathedral on 30th September this year. Some of St Mary’s ladies have been busy making her a special stole for her ordination service and this was presented to her at the service – Revd Carolyn symbolically removed Diana’s blue readers’ stole and handed over the new Curates stole while giving her a blessed sending-out. Carolyn also showed us the ordination stole that had been worked by the same ladies that is to be presented to Philip Howlett before he too is ordained priest next Saturday.
At the end of the day, the workers are paid in reverse order, so the parable tells us - the last are paid first and the first are paid last. The workers who were hired last receive the same daily wage as all the other workers, no matter what time they began work. Although that doesn’t seem fair from our way of thinking the Parable is not about physical money – this Parable is about how God accepts us all into his kingdom no matter at what time of our life we turn to him. God makes a promise/covenant with us that we are forgiven and loved; we receive his amazing grace, which is far more valuable than any money.
Who are we to judge how God should treat each worker? We are too quick to judge what is fair - faith is about trusting God, knowing and believing that he is just and true. Some theologians believe that those who turn to Him at the last will be regarded as first in line to meet God, because they have had the least time with Him, whereas those who have known God all their lives will be happy to wait until last. Revd Julie