16th Sunday after Trinity: 27th September 2020
Philippians 2: 1 – 13; Matthew 21: 23 – 32
Matthew 21: 23 – 32
When he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him as he was teaching, and said, ‘By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?’ Jesus said to them, ‘I will also ask you one question; if you tell me the answer, then I will also tell you by what authority I do these things. Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?’ And they argued with one another, ‘If we say, “From heaven”, he will say to us, “Why then did you not believe him?” But if we say, “Of human origin”, we are afraid of the crowd; for all regard John as a prophet.’ So they answered Jesus, ‘We do not know.’ And he said to them, ‘Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.
‘What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, “Son, go and work in the vineyard today.” He answered, “I will not”; but later he changed his mind and went. The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, “I go, sir”; but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?’ They said, ‘The first.’ Jesus said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, the tax-collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax-collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him.
We are of course continuing with Creationtide, which we will finish with Harvest next week. And our illustration is of some wonderful grapes grown by my friends in Cornwall!
Last week saw the autumn equinox. And, as the weather forecasters said, when we were in the middle of another hot spell, “autumn is truly here”. Perhaps so. But we begin to see, as we are commanded to care for the beautiful world in which God has set us, that we are responsible for, and must do all we can to ensure that our ever-changeable weather is not affected by our actions here on earth.
I certainly believe that it is true that the poisonous gases that we produce are likely to affect the balance of the environment for many years to come. Perhaps we should all listen more carefully to the messages of Extinction Rebellion. We have seen areas in the world where pollution is considerably worse that it is in the UK, and we have also rejoiced in the purity of the atmosphere during the strange times of the ‘lockdown’. But our lifestyles in the here and now can be damaging, and deserve thought and care as we move forward into another new season.
Let us rejoice in all that God gives us, and care for it in our love for him.
We pray together….
Lord, make us people who recognise,
nurture and act towards a more sustainable world
for the benefit of all who draw life from this planet.
Raise up campaigners who will speak out for wisdom, restraint and compassion.
And teach us to partner you in protecting this precious world
and the lives of our most vulnerable global neighbours. Amen
who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever.
Go in the peace of Christ
Thanks be to God