Sunday, October 8, 2017

The Daily Readings for SUNDAY, October 8, 2017 - 18th Sunday after Pentecost

The Parable of the Wicked Tenants
Opening Sentence
Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
and with fear and trembling stand;
Ponder nothing earthly-minded.
For with blessings in his hand
Christ our God to earth descendeth,
our full homage to command.
Amen.

~ from the Liturgy of Saint James

Confession and Forgiveness

Let us confess our sins against God and our neighbor.
God is light; in him there in no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him, yet walk in the darkness, we lie and son not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
~ John 1:5b-8

Most holy and merciful Father, We confess to you and to one another, that we have sinned against you by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart and mind and strength. We have not fully loved our neighbors as ourselves. We have not always had in us the mind of Christ. You alone know how often we have grieved you by wasting your gifts, by wandering from your ways. Forgive us, we pray you, most merciful Father; And free us from our sin. Renew in us the grace and strength of your Holy Spirit, for the sake of Jesus Christ your Son our Savior. Amen

Sunday Morning Prayer
God, as you gave us the sun to lighten our days, so you have given us your Word to lighten our minds and our souls. I pray that you will pour out on me your Spirit as I pray today, that my heart and mind may be opened to your Word, and that I may learn and accept your will for my life.

Shine within my heart, loving God, the pure light of your divine knowledge; open the eyes of my mind and the ears of my heart to receive your Word, this day and always, Amen

The Psalm
Psalm 80:7-14
7   Restore us, O God of hosts; show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.
8   You have brought a vine out of Egypt; you cast out the nations and planted it.
9   You prepared the ground for it; it took root and filled the land.
10   The mountains were covered by its shadow and the towering cedar trees by its boughs.
11   You stretched out its tendrils to the Sea and its branches to the River.
12   Why have you broken down its wall, so that all who pass by pluck off its grapes?
13   The wild boar of the forest has ravaged it, and the beasts of the field have grazed upon it.
14   Turn now, O God of hosts, look down from heaven; behold and tend this vine; preserve what your right hand has planted.

The Lessons

A reading from Isaiah 5:1-7
Let me sing for my beloved my love-song concerning his vineyard: My beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile hill. He dug it and cleared it of stones, and planted it with choice vines; he built a watchtower in the midst of it, and hewed out a wine vat in it; he expected it to yield grapes, but it yielded wild grapes. And now, inhabitants of Jerusalem and people of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard. What more was there to do for my vineyard that I have not done in it? When I expected it to yield grapes, why did it yield wild grapes? And now I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard. I will remove its hedge, and it shall be devoured; I will break down its wall, and it shall be trampled down. I will make it a waste; it shall not be pruned or hoed, and it shall be overgrown with briers and thorns; I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it. For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the people of Judah are his pleasant planting; he expected justice, but saw bloodshed; righteousness, but heard a cry!

A reading from Philippians 3:4-14
even though I, too, have reason for confidence in the flesh. If anyone else has reason to be confident in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, a member of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.

A reading from Matthew 21:33-46
"Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a watchtower. Then he leased it to tenants and went to another country. When the harvest time had come, he sent his slaves to the tenants to collect his produce. But the tenants seized his slaves and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. Again he sent other slaves, more than the first; and they treated them in the same way. Finally he sent his son to them, saying, 'They will respect my son.' But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, 'This is the heir; come, let us kill him and get his inheritance.' So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?" They said to him, "He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the harvest time." Jesus said to them, "Have you never read in the scriptures: 'The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord's doing, and it is amazing in our eyes'? Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom. The one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and it will crush anyone on whom it falls." When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they realized that he was speaking about them. They wanted to arrest him, but they feared the crowds, because they regarded him as a prophet.

Here ends the Readings.


Click HERE to read today's Holy Gospel Lesson message

The Apostle's Creed
I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen

Prayer of the Day
Oh Christ, you are continually worshiped in heaven and on earth, in all times and at all hours; you are patience, compassion and mercy; you love the righteous, you have mercy on sinners, and you call all men to salvation, promising them all things to come: Receive my prayers, this Sunday, as I celebrate Your resurrection; make my life conform to your will; sanctify my soul and body, order my thoughts, and give me victory in all trials and sadness, both today and in the week to come; protect me and bless me, and all of those who worship you this day, so that we may come to unity of faith and knowledge of your glory. For you live and reign, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, God now and forever, Amen
Let us bless the Lord. Alleluia!
Thanks be to God! Alleluia!

Closing Prayer
May the God of hope fill me and all of us with the joy and peace that comes from believing, so that we may abound in hope, by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with us all evermore. Amen
~ 2 Corinthians 13:14

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The New Revised Standard Version Bible may be quoted and/or reprinted up to and inclusive of five hundred (500) verses without express written permission of the publisher, provided the verses quoted do not amount to a complete book of the Bible or account for fifty percent (50%) of the total work in which they are quoted.

"The Parable of the Tenants" - The Sermon for SUNDAY, October 8, 2017 - 18th Sunday after Pentecost

Matthew 21:33-46
"Listen to another parable: There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place. When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit. “The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way. Last of all, he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said. “But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance.’ So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. “Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” “He will bring those wretches to a wretched end,” they replied, “and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time.” Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: “‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? “Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. Anyone who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.” When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus’ parables, they knew he was talking about them. They looked for a way to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowd because the people held that he was a prophet.
~ Matthew 21:33-46


"The Parable of the Tenants"

Grace and Peace to you from our Lord and Saviour, Jesus who is the Christ. Amen


Deep in our DNA is a propensity for self-centeredness. Selfishness is a dominate gene in the human race. Perhaps, in the past, self-centeredness was necessary for our survival. Now it is a characteristic that nullifies our witness of God's grace and love. It denies the truth that God truly is the provider of our daily bread, and it robs us of our experience of the abundant life. Finding something bigger than ourselves in which to believe--such as becoming a disciples of Jesus Christ--is essential for our happiness. Self-centered egotistical people score lowest in any test for measuring happiness.

Our Lord is experienced in dealing with self-centered people, though. Today's parable gives us a clear picture of how God intercedes in the lives of the egotistical, self-centered, selfish people.

Jesus and the chief priests (and other religious leaders) continue to be in a argument over Jesus' authority. Jesus tells the parable in that context.

There are several different perspectives from which to view this parable. Many in the crowd, who heard this parable, thought that the wicked tenants were obviously the religious and political leaders of the day. The chief priests placed themselves in the role of the landowner. (Many of them were absentee landlords). The Christians of the early church and we, ourselves, might think that we are the inheritors of the kingdom; once the landlord deals with the wicked tenants he will give the vineyard to us.

Nobody sees themselves as the wicked tenants. Jesus ends his conversation with the chief priests by accusing them of being the wicked tenants, who have killed the prophets and also killed the son. We can't turn our backs on this parable easily. If we make more than a passing glance at this Scripture passage we will see ourselves.

Our God has given us life itself. Yet, rather, than offer ourselves as living sacrifices, as Paul instructed the Roman Christians in his letter to them, we live our lives for ourselves. We do our own thing. We seek our own goals, set our own priorities, and chart our own course. We may not rough up those who advise us to change our ways, but we certainly yield to the temptation to ignore them.

In Genesis the Lord tells Abraham and Sarah that he has blessed them to be a blessing. In a consumer orientated society, we tend to keep our blessings to ourselves. We can't lend a deaf ear to the hundreds and thousands of advertisements that we see and hear each day. All of us have a list (some much longer than others) of what we want and feel we need in order for our lives to be happier, more comfortable, and more what we believe we are entitled to.

Though the concept of tithing is encouraged throughout the Scriptures, most of us can confess along with a majority of Christians that we do not practice tithing in our personal lives and finances.

In the first chapter of Genesis, God gives the world to manage and care for. Our response has been everything from pollution and global warming, to the elimination of animal species, to the hoarding of the earth's resources.

Like the wicked tenants, we stand judged and condemned.

When asked what they would do, if they were the landowner, the chief priests and other religious leaders cry out that they would take up arms, kill the tenants and give the vineyard over to other, better tenants.

That's not what God did. When faced with rebellious tenants he sent his son. There was no army. There was no judgment. There was only an act of love and redemption.

God didn't do the logical thing. The reasoning that the tenants would respect the son even after they had beaten up and killed those who had gone before him was a little faulty. God did the wild and crazy thing. He loved us and sacrificed all for us.

God continues to astound us by acting in a wild and crazy manner throughout our lives. Though we are doubtful, hesitant, rebellious and even unloving, God continues to call us his own. God infuses us with his Holy Spirit--so that we can be a part form him. God answers our prayers differently than what we ask for. God turns bad into good. The Spirit nudges us along paths that we had no idea were there and he blesses us in ways that are beyond our comprehension.

We may ask ourselves how we are to live our lives in light of this parable. This story certainly invites us to stand against the "wicked tenant" that is in all of us. It encourages to be open to forgiveness and expectant for God's wild and crazy movement in our lives.

Amen


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Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Prayer of the Day for SUNDAY, October 8, 2017


Oh Christ, you are continually worshiped in heaven and on earth, in all times and at all hours; you are patience, compassion and mercy; you love the righteous, you have mercy on sinners, and you call all men to salvation, promising them all things to come: Receive my prayers, this Sunday, as I celebrate Your resurrection; make my life conform to your will; sanctify my soul and body, order my thoughts, and give me victory in all trials and sadness, both today and in the week to come; protect me and bless me, and all of those who worship you this day, so that we may come to unity of faith and knowledge of your glory. For you live and reign, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, God now and forever, Amen

Verse of the Day for SUNDAY, October 8, 2017


Isaiah 43:11-12 (NIV) I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from me there is no savior. I have revealed and saved and proclaimed—I, and not some foreign god among you. You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “that I am God.

Read all of Isaiah 43

Listen to Isaiah 43

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Un Dia a la Vez - Oración por perdón


Oración por perdón

Ten compasión de mí, oh Dios, conforme a tu gran amor [...] Lávame de toda mi maldad y límpiame de mi pecado.
~ Salmo 51:1-2 (NVI)

Padre, gracias por tu presencia en mi vida. Vengo ante ti porque quiero reconocer que he sido una persona negativa y me he dejado llevar por esa manera dañina de ser. No solo les he hecho daño a los demás, sino a mí mismo. He afligido a los seres más queridos con palabras que han salido de mi boca, con las que he maldecido sus vidas, los he humillado y, sobre todo, te he faltado a ti.

Señor, te pido me ayudes y me des la fuerza para pedirle perdón a cada uno de los que les he faltado el debido respeto y les he atado con mis palabras.

Dios mío, permite que puedan perdonarme y tú cancela con tu poder cualquier maldición o atadura declarada sobre sus vidas.

Gracias por abrir mi entendimiento y mostrarme mis errores.

Me comprometo, Jesús, a cuidar mis palabras y a callar aun cuando no me guste algo.

Bendice mi vida, bendice a mi familia, a mis hijos y a mi cónyuge. Dame el favor y la gracia para restaurar las relaciones con mis seres queridos.

Te lo pido con todo mi corazón, amén y amén.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón

Standing Strong Through the Storm - October 08, 2017


CHOOSING NOT TO HATE

And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
~ Romans 5:5 (NIV)

Rami Ayyad was assassinated a few years ago on October 7th for his work as the head of the Bible Society in the Gaza Strip. His murder left his wife, Pauline, burdened with three young children and a heart full of hatred for his killers.

While Rami was locking up the bookstore owned by the Palestinian Bible Society in Gaza, a vehicle pulled alongside him, and several men forced him in the back seat. Rami, remaining calm and trusting in the Lord, was allowed to call his wife. “I’m going with some young men somewhere, but I’ll be home soon,” he tried to reassure her. That was the last time Pauline would hear her husband’s voice.

Hours later, his body was found. He had been brutally tortured and shot twice, a bullet in the chest, and one in the head. A spokesman for the Palestinian Bible Society said, “He’s a martyr for Christ.” Pauline recalls, “I was so broken after the death of my husband, and I hated the people who did it.”

There has been no progress in the hunt for Rami’s killers. A local Christian commented, “Many of the Muslims believe that Rami was evangelizing people so it was OK to kill him.”

In such an environment of hatred, Pauline’s resentment festered. However, the Holy Spirit in His gentle but insistent way kept whispering to her until she could carry the hatred no further. “It was then,” she recalls, “that the Lord poured over me forgiveness for those who killed Rami and those who I used to blame.” Her heart was set free and she heard the Lord say, “It’s not everybody who gets to be called a martyr’s wife.” Deep in thought, she reflected, “That’s a great honor.”

Brother King from International Christian Concern (ICC) writes, “Pauline’s experience reflects that of the persecuted church in general. Abused, spat upon, beaten, tortured, raped, and killed, these believers suffer as Jesus did. Sometimes they respond in very human ways, but when they listen to and follow the Holy Spirit, a great power comes into them and they possess what they could not have imagined previously – peace, love for their enemies, and forgiveness for those who delivered only pure evil to their lives…This is the gift of the persecuted church. In the furnace of affliction, the Spirit of God is set ablaze in their hearts. In turn, their hearts become a beacon to all they come in contact with.”

RESPONSE: Today I will thank God for the gift of His Holy Spirit. I will listen to Him and follow Him.

PRAYER: Thank You, Lord, for the example of Pauline. Strengthen her as she raises her children.