The Collect and Bible Lessons for Proper 20A, 9/20/2020

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Prayer to collect our thoughts on today's theme: Grant us, Lord, not to be anxious about earthly things, but to love things heavenly; and even now, while we are placed among things that are passing away, to hold fast to those that shall endure; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Exodus 16:2-15 – “The LORD Sends Food from Heaven”

2 “There in the desert the Israelites started complaining to Moses and Aaron, 3 ‘We wish the LORD had killed us in Egypt. When we lived there, we could at least sit down and eat all the bread and meat we wanted. But you have brought us out here into this desert, where we are going to starve.’ 4 The LORD said to Moses, ‘I will send bread down from heaven like rain. Each day the people can go out and gather only enough for that day. That's how I will see if they obey me. 5 But on the sixth day of each week they must gather and cook twice as much.’ 6 Moses and Aaron told the people, ‘This evening you will know that the LORD was the one who rescued you from Egypt. 7 And in the morning you will see his glorious power, because he has heard your complaints against him. Why should you grumble to us? Who are we?’ 8 Then Moses continued, ‘You will know it is the LORD when he gives you meat each evening and more than enough bread each morning. He is really the one you are complaining about, not us; we are nobodies but the LORD has heard your complaints.’ 9 Moses turned to Aaron and said, ‘Bring the people together, because the LORD has heard their complaints.’ 10 Aaron was speaking to them, when everyone looked out toward the desert and saw the bright glory of the LORD in a cloud. 11 The LORD said to Moses, 12 ‘I have heard my people complain. Now tell them that each evening they will have meat and each morning they will have more than enough bread. Then they will know that I am the LORD their God.’ 13 That evening a lot of quails came and landed everywhere in the camp, and the next morning dew covered the ground. 14 After the dew had gone, the desert was covered with thin flakes that looked like frost. 15 The people had never seen anything like this, and they started asking each other, ‘What is it?’ Moses answered, ‘This is the bread that the LORD has given you to eat.’”

Psalm 23 – “The Good Shepherd” (KJV)

(We are using the 23rd Psalm- KJV until the COVID- 19 crisis is over.)

1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,

As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever.

Philippians 1:21-30 – “What Life Means to Paul”

21 “If I live, it will be for Christ, and if I die, I will gain even more. 22 I don't know what to choose. I could keep on living and doing something useful. 23 It is a hard choice to make. I want to die and be with Christ, because that would be much better. 24-25 But I know that all of you still need me. That's why I am sure I will stay on to help you grow and be happy in your faith. 26 Then, when I visit you again, you will have good reason to take great pride in Christ Jesus because of me. 27 Above all else, you must live in a way that brings honor to the good news about Christ. Then, whether I visit you or not, I will hear that all of you think alike. I will know that you are working together and that you are struggling side by side to get others to believe the good news.”

Matthew 20:1-16 – “Workers in a Vineyard”

Deacon: 1 “As Jesus was telling what the kingdom of heaven would be like, he said: Early one morning a man went out to hire some workers for his vineyard. 2 After he had agreed to pay them the usual amount for a day's work, he sent them off to his vineyard. 3 About nine that morning, the man saw some other people standing in the market with nothing to do. 4 He said he would pay them what was fair, if they would work in his vineyard. 5 So they went. At noon and again about three in the afternoon he returned to the market. And each time he made the same agreement with others who were loafing around with nothing to do. 6 Finally, about five in the afternoon the man went back and found some others standing there. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’

Congregation: 7 ‘Because no one has hired us,’

Deacon: they answered. Then he told them to go work in his vineyard. 8 That evening the owner of the vineyard told the man in charge of the workers to call them in and give them their money. He also told the man to begin with the ones who were hired last. 9 When the workers arrived, the ones who had been hired at five in the afternoon were given a full day’s pay. 10-11 The workers who had been hired first thought they would be given more than the others. But when they were given the same, they began complaining to the owner of the vineyard. 12 They said,

Congregation: ‘The ones who were hired last worked for only one hour. But you paid them the same that you did us. And we worked in the hot sun all day long!’

Deacon: 13 The owner answered one of them, ‘Friend, I didn't cheat you. I paid you exactly what we agreed on. 14 Take your money now and go! What business is it of yours if I want to pay them the same that I paid you? 15 Don't I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Why should you be jealous, if I want to be generous?’ 16 Jesus then said,

Congregation: ‘So it is. Everyone who is now first will be last, and everyone who is last will be first.’”

Next Week’s Lessons- Proper 21A

Exodus 17:1-7 – “The LORD Gives Water from a Rock”

Psalm 25:3-9 – “A Prayer for Guidance and Help”

Philippians 2:1-13 – “True Humility”

Matthew 21:23-32 – “A Question about Jesus' Authority” and “A Story about Two Sons”

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