St. Andrew Presbyterian Church
Bulletin and SermonTo View the Zoom Recording Click HereSERVICE FOR THE LORD’S DAY
SIXTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST
SEPTEMBER 20, 2020
WORSHIP LEADERS:Rev. Jason Santalucia, Pastor
Mr. David Warfield, Director of Music Ministry
Elder Dave Gaiewski , Liturgist Gathering
(We prepare ourselves for worship by acknowledging who we are,
and receiving the assurance of God’s grace.) PRELUDE “Prelude on ‘Praise to the Lord, the Almighty’” J. WAYNE KERR
GREETING & ANNOUNCEMENTS
CALL TO WORSHIP
Give thanks to the Lord.We will call on God’s name and make known God’s wonderful works. Seek the Lord continually.We will watch and listen for sign of God’s grace.Together let us worship God!Let us rejoice in God’s presence and praise God’s holy name.
* HYMN 35 “Praise Ye the Lord, the Almighty” LOBE DEN HERREN
Praise ye the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation!
O my soul, praise him, for he is thy heath and salvation.
All ye who hear, now to his temple draw near;
join me in glad adoration!
Praise ye the Lord, who o’er all things so wondrously reigneth,
shelters thee under his wings, yea, so gently sustaineth!
Hast thou not seen how thy desires e’er have been granted
in what he ordaineth?
Praise ye the Lord! O let all that is in me adore him!
All that hath life and breath, come now with praises before him!
Let the amen sound from his people again;
gladly for aye we adore him.
This very strong 17th century German hymn employs many phrases from the psalms, especially Psalms 150 and 103:1-6. It did not receive an effective English translation until the mid-19th century, but has remained popular ever since, thanks in part to its stirring tune.
TIME FOR CHECKING IN
PRAYER OF CONFESSION
God, you are the giver of all good gifts, yet we confess that our own generosity is limited. We share what we have, but often reluctantly. We complain when we think we’ve been treated unfairly. We compare ourselves to others and see what they have that we lack. We fear running short on things rather than trusting your attention to our needs. Forgive us our worries about tomorrow, and give us generous hearts that trust in you today. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
ASSURANCE OF GRACE
SIGNING OF THE PEACE (USING AMERICAN SIGN LANGUAGE)Hearing
(We hear God’s word, written & proclaimed. God’s word is central to our faith;
hence we put it at the center of our worship.)FIRST READING Exodus 16:2-15
The whole congregation of the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate our fill of bread; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”
Then the Lord said to Moses, “I am going to rain bread from heaven for you, and each day the people shall go out and gather enough for that day. In that way I will test them, whether they will follow my instruction or not. On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather on other days.”
So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, “In the evening you shall know that it was the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, and in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your complaining against the Lord. For what are we, that you complain against us?” And Moses said, “When the Lord gives you meat to eat in the evening and your fill of bread in the morning, because the Lord has heard the complaining that you utter against him—what are we? Your complaining is not against us but against the Lord.”
Then Moses said to Aaron, “Say to the whole congregation of the Israelites, ‘Draw near to the Lord, for he has heard your complaining.’” And as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the Israelites, they looked toward the wilderness, and the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud. The Lord spoke to Moses and said, “I have heard the complaining of the Israelites; say to them, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread; then you shall know that I am the Lord your God.’”
In the evening quails came up and covered the camp; and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. When the layer of dew lifted, there on the surface of the wilderness was a fine flaky substance, as fine as frost on the ground. When the Israelites saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, “It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat.”
The word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
SECOND READING Matthew 20:1-16
“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. When he went out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace; and he said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went. When he went out again about noon and about three o’clock, he did the same. And 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?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard.’
“When 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.’ When those hired about five o’clock came, each of them received the usual daily wage. Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received the usual daily wage. And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, saying, ‘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.’
“But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
The word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION Sermon given by Rev. Jason Santalucia, Pastor
September 20 , 2020
“Lessons From the Divine Economy”
The economics of God are not like our human economics. We humans don’t get the economics of God. In the scripture readings today, we have reminders of the ways we miss the point about God’s economics. We also have a way through our incomprehension to a deeper understanding and a better way to live.
The Israelites have been through the exodus. God has brought them out of the false economy, the slave society, known as Egypt. Despite the odds, they’ve escaped from the grasp of the Pharaoh administration. And what happened at the Red Sea is still fresh in their minds. With the Egyptian cavalry in hot pursuit, the Israelites saw the waters part, giving them dry passage to the opposite shore. The first person to walk across the sea bottom, with the waters piled up on either side, was surely a person of great faith. And once the whole group had made it safely across, then the sea came crashing down on the Egyptians and washed away every last soldier. It was a stunning moment. And yet almost immediately comes the episode we hear about in the first reading.
What do the Israelites do within days of their deliverance? They forget. They complain. They accuse. “If only we had died in the slave economy,” they say, “where there was no freedom but plenty of food! But you, Moses, you’ve brought us out to the middle of nowhere so we can starve to death.” They’re like people of faith everywhere—including ourselves at times. They quickly forget the first lesson from the divine economy: Remember the Lord’s goodness and be thankful.
Because the people aren’t really grumbling against Moses. They’re really grumbling against God, the one who dreamed up this whole plan, the one who orchestrated this whole exodus. And God responds, not by losing his temper, not by lashing out, but by giving the Israelites something they need, something their lives depend on. God gives them bread from heaven.
But when they see it on the ground in the morning, they don’t know what it is. They say to each other, “Manna?” which means something like, “What is this stuff?” And so “manna” becomes its name. And it sustains them, even though at first it didn’t look edible to them. Another lesson from the divine economy: Too often God’s gifts go unrecognized.
God gives them miraculous food—enough to sustain them day by day. And yet their lives are about more than just subsisting. On the sixth day, God tells them they can gather a double portion to tide them over on the sabbath, the day of rest. More lessons from the divine economy: God provides—enough to meet our needs but not our greeds. And: We don’t live to work. We work to live. We need periods of time for resting and rejoicing with God and one another.
So if we live gratefully, aware of God’s generosity and trusting in God’s goodness, then we’ve learned the lessons of divine economics. And if these lessons take root in our hearts, we won’t slip back into the economics of Egypt, but instead progress toward the deeper freedom for which we were made.
Now let’s look at the second reading.
Jesus tells a story that reveals a few more things about God’s economy. It’s basically a story about labor management. A landowner hires a bunch of laborers, and he pays them all the same, even though some started work at dawn and others were hired later in the day, some as late as five o’clock in the evening, only an hour before quitting time. But regardless of how long they worked, each laborer receives the same amount, which doesn’t seem right to the ones who started early. They start grumbling about being treated unfairly.
But the landowner has a different perspective. As far as he’s concerned, he gave each laborer enough to live on for that day. Nobody got anything less than what they were promised, and nobody has to go home and tell their family, Sorry, but no dinner tonight. Justice for the landowner is about more than being fair. He cares about keeping the laborers (and the ones who depend on them) alive because in his mind life is more important than money. A final lesson from the divine economy: God cares about everyone’s welfare, loving us all without discrimination and recognizing in each human being a dignity that reflects the divine character.
So these two stories together teach us a lot about the economics of God.
Remember the goodness of God and be thankful.Too often God’s gifts go unrecognized.God provides—enough to meet our needs but not our greeds.We don’t live to work, we work to live.God cares about everyone’s welfare, not just the people at the front of the line.
But we have such a hard time learning those lessons. We’re like the Israelites in the wilderness. We quickly forget about God’s faithfulness in the past, and we look right past God’s gifts in the present. And we’re like the laborers who put in a full day’s work. We’re scandalized by God’s justice, and we can’t stop howling about how unfair it is long enough to stop and count our own blessings.
I think a lot of our trouble comes from the fact that we live in a world that by-and-large practices a very different kind of economics—one that tells us human life isn’t worth very much, and the bottom line is ultimately what matters, and in the end it has to be one or the other.
But Sunday after Sunday, we come together to learn, and learn again, the economics of God. In the scripture readings, we see a way of ordering our lives that reveals God’s kingdom, and a way of being in relationship that reflects God’s values.
And the hope is that we don’t just leave that perspective behind when we leave the sanctuary,
but we carry it into the rest of our lives and pursue here on earth the way that prevails in heaven—the way that Jesus taught his disciples, and the way the prophets proclaimed before him, all the way back to Moses.
God didn’t go to all the trouble of making us so we could live our lives in Egypt. God made us for something more, and anyone who tells us different is lying to us. I think that’s what both scripture readings today come down to: a simple reminder of our human dignity and the truth that every single one of us is beloved in God’s eyes. Amen.
(God has spoken, and we respond. We affirm our faith, pray for the world, re-commit ourselves to mission, present our tithes & gifts, and offer thanks that God continues to speak today.)*AFFIRMATION OF FAITH from A Brief Statement of Faith
In life and in death we belong to God. Through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, we trust in the one triune God, the Holy One of Israel, whom alone we worship and serve. Amen.
* HYMN 415 “Come, Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy” RESTORAT
Come, ye sinners, poor and needy, weak and wounded, sick and sore;
Jesus ready stands to save you, full of pity, love and power.
I will arise and go to Jesus; he will embrace me in his arms.
In the arms of my dear Savior, O there are ten thousand charms.
Come, ye thirsty, come, and welcome; God’s free bounty glorify,
true belief and true repentance, every grace that brings you nigh.
Come, ye weary, heavy laden, lost and ruined by the fall;
if you tarry till you’re better, you will never come at all.
Let not conscience make you linger, nor of fitness fondly dream;
all the fitness he requireth is to feel your need of him.
The differing voices of this text indicate that its parts were not created together. The stanzas are cast in the voice of a preacher or exhorter, but the refrain (added later) takes the voice of a penitent heeding that call in language like that of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:18).
MOMENT FOR MISSION One Great Hour of Sharing
PRESENTING OUR TITHES & OFFERINGS(If you’re joining us via Zoom,
we invite you to make your offering online.
Thank you to everyone for your generous support!) PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING & DEDICATION
Gracious God, you are the source of all good things, of life itself and all that sustains it. Bless the gifts we offer to you and multiply them, so that they will support your purposes in the world you love in the name of Christ, our Savior and Friend. Amen.
SHARING OUR JOYS & CONCERNS
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE & THE LORD’S PRAYER
(We hear the charge, receive the benediction,and are sent to carry God’s Word into the world.)CHARGE & BENEDICTION
POSTLUDE “Toccata on ‘Praise tot he Lord, the Almighty’” J. WAYNE KERR
* Please rise in body or in spirit.