Join in worship by Zoom with Christ on Capitol Hill. Our theme this month is Learning to Love Our Enemies and today’s focus is Learning Mercy and God’s Higher Calling.
Matthew shares one of Jesus’ controversial parables in which Jesus says that the reign of God is like that of a landowner who pays his workers the same wage no matter what time of day they began to work. That may sound unfair but shows how God is gracious and merciful, abounding in steadfast love. We receive the grace of God that is freely given to all. As Martin Luther wrote, in the presence of God’s mercy we are all beggars.
We are also moving back into weekly Communion this fall, so take a moment to gather bread and a cup if you would like to join in today. You may have something that you prefer for communion but remember, you don’t need special religious bread – Jesus would come and share whatever you eat as your daily bread. You don’t have to have wine or grape juice. Jesus is happy to share whatever is your festive drink. Christ comes to you where you are, shares what you have and makes the ordinary blessed.
Prelude – Jazz Ensemble
Song – Golden Breaks the Dawn – Worship 852
Qing zao qilai kan
Qing zao qilai kan, hong ri chu tongfang,
xiongzhuang xiang yongshi, meihao xiang xinlang;
tian gao feiniao guo, di kuo yehua xiang,
zhao wo qin gongzuo, Tianfu you enguang.
1 Golden breaks the dawn, comes the eastern sun;
like a rider strong, set the course to run.
Birds above me fly, flowers bloom below;
through the earth and sky God’s great mercies flow.
2 Holy, living God, keep me safe today;
though I weary plod, make me kind, I pray.
Let me guide our youth, honor weak and old;
let me serve with truth, and God’s love unfold.
3 Give me daily bread, while I do my part;
bright skies overhead, gladness in my heart.
Simple wants provide, evil let me shun;
Jesus at my side, till the day is done.
Text: Tzu-chen Chao; para. Frank W. Price, 1885-1974
Text © 1977 by Chinese Christian Literature Council Ltd, Hong Kong, admin. Augsburg Fortress.
Prayer of the Day
Almighty and eternal God, you show perpetual lovingkindness to us and call us your friends. Because we cannot rely on our own abilities, grant us your merciful judgment, and train us to embody the generosity of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.
First Reading – Jonah 3:10-4:11
A reading from Jonah
10When God saw what [the people of Ninevah] did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it.
4:1But this was very displeasing to Jonah, and he became angry. 2He prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord! Is not this what I said while I was still in my own country? That is why I fled to Tarshish at the beginning; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and ready to relent from punishing. 3And now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.” 4And the Lordsaid, “Is it right for you to be angry?” 5Then Jonah went out of the city and sat down east of the city, and made a booth for himself there. He sat under it in the shade, waiting to see what would become of the city.
6The Lord God appointed a bush, and made it come up over Jonah, to give shade over his head, to save him from his discomfort; so Jonah was very happy about the bush. 7But when dawn came up the next day, God appointed a worm that attacked the bush, so that it withered. 8When the sun rose, God prepared a sultry east wind, and the sun beat down on the head of Jonah so that he was faint and asked that he might die. He said, “It is better for me to die than to live.”
9But God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the bush?” And he said, “Yes, angry enough to die.” 10Then the Lord said, “You are concerned about the bush, for which you did not labor and which you did not grow; it came into being in a night and perished in a night. 11And should I not be concerned about Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also many animals?
Word of God, word of Life. Thanks be to God.
Children’s Time –Vicar Anne
Alleluia Worship 175
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel: Matthew 20:1-16
[Jesus said to the disciples:] 1“The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. 2After agreeing with the laborers for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. 3When he went out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace; 4and he said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went. 5When he went out again about noon and about three o’clock, he did the same. 6And about five o’clock he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, ‘Why are you standing here idle all day?’ 7They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard.’ 8When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, ‘Call the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and then going to the first.’ 9When those hired about five o’clock came, each of them received the usual daily wage. 10Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received the usual daily wage. 11And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, 12saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ 13But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? 14Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. 15Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ 16So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
The gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, O Christ.
Message – Vicar Anne Wickland
Song – There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy – Worship 588
1 There’s a wideness in God’s mercy,
like the wideness of the sea;
there’s a kindness in God’s justice
which is more than liberty.
There is no place where earth’s sorrows
are more felt than up in heav’n.
There is no place where earth’s failings
have such kindly judgment giv’n.
2 There is welcome for the sinner,
and a promised grace made good;
there is mercy with the Savior;
there is healing in his blood.
There is grace enough for thousands
of new worlds as great as this;
there is room for fresh creations
in that upper home of bliss.
3 For the love of God is broader
than the measures of our mind;
and the heart of the Eternal
is most wonderfully kind.
But we make this love too narrow
by false limits of our own;
and we magnify its strictness
with a zeal God will not own.
4 ‘Tis not all we owe to Jesus;
it is something more than all:
greater good because of evil,
larger mercy through the fall.
Make our love, O God, more faithful;
let us take you at your word,
and our lives will be thanksgiving
for the goodness of the Lord.
Text: Frederick W. Faber, 1814-1863, alt.
Confession and Forgiveness
All may make the sign of the cross, the sign marked at baptism, as the presiding minister begins.
Blessed be the holy Trinity, ☩ one God,
who creates, redeems, and sustains us and all of creation. Amen.
Let us confess our sin in the presence of God and of one another.
Silence is kept for reflection.
have mercy on us.
We confess that we are captive to sin and cannot free ourselves. We turn from your loving embrace and go our own ways. We pass judgment on one another before examining ourselves. We place our own needs before those of our neighbors. We keep your gift of salvation to ourselves. Make us humble, cast away our transgressions, and turn us again to life in you through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.
God hears the cries of all who call out in need, and through his death and resurrection, Christ has made us his own. Hear the truth that God proclaims: Your sins are forgiven in the name of ☩ Jesus Christ. Led by the Holy Spirit, live in freedom and newness to do God’s work in the world. Amen.
Prayers of the People
Drawn together in the compassion of God, we pray for the church, the world, and all those in need.
A brief silence.
Generous God, you make the last first, and the first last. Where this gospel challenges the church, equip it for its works of service. Strengthen those who suffer for Christ.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
Sun and wind, bushes and worms, animals and great cities—nothing in creation is outside your concern, mighty God. In your mercy, tend to it all. Give us a spirit of generosity toward all you have made. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
Where we find envy and create enemies, you provide enough for all. Bring peace to places of conflict and violence. Inspire leaders with creativity and wisdom. Bless the work of negotiators, peacekeepers, and development workers. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
Reveal yourself to all in need as you are gracious and merciful, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love, ready to relent from punishing. Accompany judges and lawyers, victims of crime and those serving sentences. Give fruitful labor and a livelihood to those seeking work. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
Even beyond our expectations, you choose to give generously. Grant life, health, and courage to all who are in need (especially those we think of now ……………………………….).
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
We praise you for the generations that have declared your power to us. Give us faithfulness to follow them, living for Christ, until you call us to join them in the joyful song around his throne. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
All these things and whatever else you see that we need, we entrust to your mercy; through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Johm riab sua.
The peace of Christ be with you all. And also with you.
Offering – Jazz Ensemble
Blessed are you, O God, maker of all things. You have set before us these gifts of your good creation. Prepare us for your heavenly banquet, nourish us with this rich food and drink, and send us forth to set tables in the midst of a suffering world, through the bread of life, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.
It is indeed right that we should at all times and in all places give thanks and praise to God who is the giver of all good things and who revealed this abundance again with feeding the multitudes, who loved to the point of death and who beyond death, was raised from the dead and appeared to many, breaking bread with them in their homes, so that we might believe.
Remember, beloved ones… how in the night in which he was betrayed our Lord Jesus took bread, and gave thanks; broke it and gave it to his disciples saying: Take and eat; this is my body, given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me.
Again, after supper, Jesus took the cup, gave thanks and gave it for all to drink, saying: This cup is the new covenant in my blood, shed for you and for all people for the forgiveness of sin. Do this for the remembrance of me.
O God of resurrection and new life: pour out your Holy Spirit on us and on the gifts of bread and cup. Bless this feast. Grace our tables with your presence. Reveal yourself to us in the sharing of the bread. Raise us up as the body of Christ for the world. Breathe new life into us. Send us forth, burning with justice, peace, and love.
With your holy ones in all times and places, we praise you, O God, blessed and holy Trinity, now and forever. Amen.
Invitation to Communion
Come to the banquet table Christ gives himself as food and drink.
Now, if you are gathered with others, when the music begins, please share with one another first the bread and then the cup with the words,
The body of Christ, given for you. The blood of Christ, poured out for you.
If you are by yourself, I offer this invitation…
Receive the body of Christ, given for you.
Receive the blood of Christ, poured out for you.
And if for any reason you will not receive Communion bread & cup today, a blessing for you…
May God fill you up with the Holy Spirit and give you all that you need.
Communion Song – By Your Hand You Feed Your People – Worship 469
1 By your hand you feed your people,
food of angels, heaven’s bread.
For these gifts we did not labor,
by your grace have we been fed:
Christ’s own body, blessed and broken,
cup o’er flowing, life outpoured,
given as a living token
of your world redeemed, restored.
2 In this meal we taste your sweetness,
bread for hunger, wine of peace.
Holy word and holy wisdom
satisfy our deepest needs. Refrain
3 Send us now with faith and courage
to the hungry, lost, bereaved.
In our living and our dying,
we become what we receive: Refrain
Text: Susan R. Briehl, b. 1952
Text © 2002 GIA Publications, Inc., 7404 S. Mason Ave., Chicago, IL 60638. www.giamusic.com. 800.442.3358. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
Prayer after Communion
We give you thanks, gracious God, that you have once again fed us with food beyond compare,
the body and blood of Christ.
Lead us from this place, nourished and forgiven, into your beloved vineyard to wipe away the tears of all who hunger and thirst, guided by the example of the same Jesus Christ and led by the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.
Cambodian Lord’s Prayer
Mothering God, Father, ☩ Son, and Holy Spirit,
bless you and lead you into the way of truth and life. Amen
Song – On Our Way Rejoicing – Worship 537
1 On our way rejoicing gladly let us go.
Christ our Lord has conquered; vanquished is the foe.
Christ without, our safety; Christ within, our joy;
who, if we be faithful, can our hope destroy?
On our way rejoicing; as we forward move,
hearken to our praises, O blest God of love!
2 Unto God the Father joyful songs we sing;
unto God the Savior thankful hearts we bring;
unto God the Spirit bow we and adore,
on our way rejoicing now and evermore. Refrain
Text: John S. B. Monsell, 1811-1875, alt.
Go in peace. Remember the poor. Thanks be to God.