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Resources 25th Ordinary – 24 September 2023

The Late-arriving Workers

Let us pray (in silence) [that we may live as forgiven people]


Merciful God,
grant to your faithful people pardon and peace;
that we may be cleansed from all our sins
and serve you with a quiet mind;
through Jesus Christ
who is alive with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

This collect has a long, shared history which you can find here with commentary and reflection: Ordinary 25 or below.

Lectionary Readings Introduction

This site provides something different: many sites and books provide a brief summary of the reading – so that people read out or have in their pew sheet an outline of what they are about to hear. They are told beforehand what to expect. Does this not limit what they hear the Spirit address them? This site provides something different – often one cannot appreciate what is being read because there is no context provided. This site provides the context, the frame of the reading about to be heard. It could be used as an introduction, printed on a pew sheet (acknowledged, of course), or adapted in other ways.

Exodus 16:2-15

The Hebrew people came out of their tents and asked “What is it?” ie. “manna?”. Each morning they would gather their what’s-it.

Jonah 3:10-4:11

In the children’s version of the Jonah story Jonah’s anger and God’s reproving of him is regularly missed out. 

Isaiah 55:6-9

The final words of Deutero-Isaiah are possibly addressed to those of the Hebrew people in Babylonian exile who are not following the call to return to Jerusalem.

Philippians 1:21-30

Over the next four Sundays we read Paul’s letter to the Philippians. Philippi was a Roman colony in Macedonia. Around the year 50 CE, Paul, Timothy, Silas, and others had visited Philippi during Paul’s second missionary journey founding a church there (Acts 16:11-40). This was Paul’s first church foundation in Europe – a predominantly gentile church for whom Paul had special affection. Paul is writing from prison, but the particular imprisonment and hence dating of this letter is disputed (mid 50s to early 60s). Paul’s urging to the equivalent of “live as citizens” (1:27) is within the context of Philippi being a Roman colony in which some would have Roman citizenship.

Matthew 20:1-16

To the first workers the vineyard owner promises the “usual daily wage”, to those he employed later he promised “I will pay you whatever is right.” To the later ones he gives a denarius, acting as patron, treating them as if they were family. The resulting envy from those hired first is a desire to acquire that very vineyard – ie. to see the vineyard owner dead.

Today’s readings online

Creation Season 2023

Many, at this time, celebrate Creation Season.

A creation reading of the lectionary for the Sunday between 18 and 24 September:
The Exodus reading speaks of food and hunger and addresses having enough. Jonah addresses the variability of creation which is picked up in the Matthew reading where our working the land again leads to results that are not in proportion to our efforts. Philippians speaks of our physical life on this planet.

Other resources, if you are celebrating Creation Season.

Please add, in the comments below, any further creation insights from the lectionary readings, as well as other creation resources that will be useful this month. 

Reflection on the Collect

The collect is drawn from the September masses of the Gelasian Sacramentary:

Largire, quaesumus Domine, fidelibus tuis indulgentiam placatus, et pacem: ut pariter ab omnibus mundentur offensis, et secura tibi mente deserviant.
Per Dominum… 

My rendering, above, is the same as found in NZPB (1989-2005) p. 577b. A literal translationof the Latin is:

Having been appeased, impart to Your faithful, O Lord, we beseech You, remission and peace: so that in an equal measure they may be cleansed from all sins, and may zealously serve You with a mind free from anxiety.

From the Sarum Missal until the 1928 BCP it was the collect for Trinity 21. First translated 1549 as:

GRAUNT we beseche thee, merciful Lord, to thy faithfull people pardon and peace, that they maye bee clensed from all. their synnes, and serve thee with a quiet mynde. Through Jesus Christ our Lorde.

Following contemporary liturgical practice, “…that they may be cleansed from all their sins…” was changed to “…we…” The Latin original had “secure” where we have “quiet”.

Philosophically, materialism is the belief that all can be reduced to physical particles and the laws of physics that govern them. Atheistic materialism, to be consistent, has no room for free will – even of the most limited kind: the free will to choose if I will raise my hand now or not. For them, the raising or lowering of my hand is determined by the movement of particles in my brain. For materialists to turn to Quantum Theory that we cannot determine both velocity and position of particles is not to make room for free will – it merely results in a theory that our hand goes up and down randomly! Christian belief in free will is a belief that cause and effect is broken by free human beings – in the image of a free God. 

Forgiveness is another break in the chain of cause and effect. The bad that has happened in the past continues on into the future. Forgiveness breaks that chain reaction. Forgiveness to be effective needs to face the past (“pardon”) and the future (“peace” – reconciliation).

Roman Catholics use it from the 1962 Missal in the Extraordinary Rite on Pentecost 20.

NZPB (2020) has it on p633 Year B Ordinary 7 where it is also in Te Reo Māori:

E te Atua aroha,
hōmai ki āu hunga pono he murunga me te rangimārie;
kia pūrea ai ō mātou hara katoa
kia mahi ai mātou i runga i te whakaaro māhaki;
Ko Īhu Karaiti tō mātou Kaihoko.

Common Worship Trinity 21:

Grant, we beseech you, merciful Lord,
to your faithful people pardon and peace,
that they may be cleansed from all their sins
and serve you with a quiet mind;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

South African Anglican Prayer Book Epiphany 4:

Merciful Lord you are the only giver of pardon and peace:
cleanse us your faithful people from our sins 
that we may serve you with a quiet mind;
through Jesus Christ our Lord…

Resources off this site:
Resourcing Preaching Down Under
Girardian reflections on the Lectionary

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