the Word: 16th Sunday after Pentecost

God speaks this week through these scriptures:

Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25-32The fairness of God’s way
Psalm 25:1-9Remember, O LORD, your compassion and love.
Philippians 2:1-13Christ humbled to the point of death on a cross
Matthew 21:23-32A parable of doing God’s will

All of this week’s readings reveal the way in which all humans are equal in the eyes of God…and we are reminded that all people stand in need of God’s grace.

In Ezekiel the people question whether the ways of the Lord are unfair. Ezekiel proclaims God’s invitation, “Turn, then, and live” (Ezek. 18:32). This is an invitation that extends to all people, from a God deeply desiring a loving and life-giving relationship with humanity.

Paul urges us to look to Christ as a model of humility, looking to the interests of others above our own. He reminds us of Jesus’ act of grace on the cross, emptying himself, becoming sin so that all creation might be redeemed through him. In response, we discover a vision of the day in which all creation speaks with a unified voice, declaring Jesus Christ is Lord.

Jesus tells a parable about two sons who don’t do what they say and he invites us to choose between them when neither fully does the will of their father. In this, Jesus reveals surprises in the reign of God, such as prostitutes and tax collectors going before others into God’s kingdom. Here Jesus makes the point that we are all equally in need of God’s grace…we have all sometimes said No to God, and then later regretted it.

Come to worship and hear about God’s welcome to us. Come to worship and join as we confess our need for God and to discover again God’s grace outpoured to all. Come to worship and receive God’s welcome at the table of holy communion. Nourished by the broken bread and shared cup, we offer our lives for the sake of our needy world and share God’s grace with all people.

–From and Gail Ramshaw–

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