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Parable-of-Workers-in-the-Vineyard-from-the-lectionary-of-Henry-III-ca-1050-by-an-unknown-

September 24, 2023

The Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost

We learn today that God is not interested in playing counting games. 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. When God changes His mind about punishing Nineveh for their evil ways, Jonah is angry. Yet God is gracious and merciful, abounding in steadfast love. Any claim to partiality, any impulse to keep score, is undercut by the grace of God freely given to all in word and sacrament. As Martin Luther wrote, in the presence of God’s mercy we are all beggars.

PRAYER OF THE DAY

Almighty and eternal God, You show never-ending love to us Your servants. 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 Lord. Amen.

Jonah 3:10—4:11
Psalm 145:1-8
Philippians 1:21-30
Matthew 20:1-16

Festivals and Commemorations this week

The faithful are remembered on the day of their death, the day they are born anew in heaven. The "c" indicates an approximate date.

September 25  Sergius of Radonezh, Abbot of Holy Trinity, Moscow, 1392

The people of Russia honor Sergius as the most beloved of all their saints and a model of Russian spiritual life at its best. At the age of twenty he began to live as a hermit, and others joined him. From their monastery in the forest, Sergius led the renewal of Russian monastic life. His monastery, the Monastery of the Holy Trinity, was a center for pilgrimage where people came to worship and receive spiritual support. Sergius was also a peacemaker whose influence stopped four civil wars between Russian princes. Sergius left no writings, but his disciples founded seventy-five monasteries and spread his teachings.

September 28  Jehu Jones, missionary, 1852

A native of Charleston, South Carolina, Jones was ordained by the New York Ministerium in 1832, and was the Lutheran church’s first African American pastor. Upon returning to South Carolina he was arrested under a law prohibiting free blacks from reentering the state, so was unable to join the group of Charlestonians he had been commissioned to accompany to Liberia. For nearly twenty years Jones carried out missionary work in Philadelphia in the face of many difficulties. There he led the formation of the first African American Lutheran congregation, St. Paul’s, and the construction of its church building.

 

September 29  St. Michael and All Angels

On this festival day we ponder the richness and variety of God’s created order and the limits of our knowledge of it. The scriptures speak of angels who worship God in heaven, and in both testaments angels are God’s messengers on earth. They are remembered most vividly as they appear to the shepherds and announce the birth of the savior. Of the angels who appear in the biblical narrative, only four are given names: Michael (Hebrew, “Who is like God?”) and Gabriel (“God is my strength”) are named in the canonical Scriptures; Raphael (“God heals”) in the deuterocanonical book of Tobit; and Uriel (“God is my light”) in 2 Esdras and in the apocryphal Book of Enoch and the Testament of Solomon. Michael is an angel whose name appears in Daniel as the heavenly being who leads the faithful dead to God’s throne on the day of resurrection. In the Book of Revelation, Michael is the principal warrior of the heavenly host against the dragon (Satan), who was “thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him” (Revelation 12).

              Sing “Ye watchers and ye holy ones” (LBW 175) in gatherings today. The hymn delights in the presence of the whole heavenly host of seraphs, cherubim, thrones, archangels, virtues, and angel choirs all led in praise of God by Mary, the “bearer of the eternal Word.”

 

September 30  Jerome, translator, teacher, 420

Jerome is remembered as a biblical scholar and translator. Rather than choosing classical Latin as the basis of his work, he translated the scriptures into the Latin that was spoken and written by the majority of people in his day. His translation is known as the Vulgate, which comes from the Latin word for “common.” While Jerome is remembered as a saint, he could be anything but saintly. He was well known for his short temper and his arrogance, although he was also quick to admit to his personal faults.

              Thanks to the work of Jerome, many people received the word in their own language and lived a life of faith and service to those in need.

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