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Pentecost Year A

Proper 20 - Ordinary Time 25- Pentecost +18

Gospel Reflection

Based upon Matthew 20:1-16. Copyright Katherine Hawker, 2002.

A grueling day in the vineyards

bone weary

grateful for the waning sun

proud of the accomplishments

superior even.


Imagine the suprise

the last receives as the first

all compensate equally

not equitably.


How then is justice defined?

Is there no reward for the toil?


Haunting words are all that's left

an echo reverberating over time

"the last shall be first and the first shall be last"


Call to Worship

Based upon Matthew 20:1-16 (with echos of Micah 6:8). Copyright Katherine Hawker.

Already overburdened with the demands

of work and leisure, family and friends,

we come to this place in search of rest.

May we find here the strengh to work for justice.

Forgiveness is elusive and anger is justified,

too often we settle for the sweet fleeting fruit of revenge.

May we find here the patience to embody mercy.

Deluded by the world in which we live

receiving power and prestige and money as just reward

missing the Spirit's call

to a life grounded in humble service.

May we find here the wisdom to walk in the Spirit.


Confessional Prayer for Peace

Based upon the Parables. Copyright Katherine Hawker, 2002.

As sabers rattle in lands both close and distant

we confess that we are in pain,

fear has taken root in the souls of our being.

Even as we turn to the parables ,

familiar stories that we thought we loved,

we find troubling stories offering ever more questions .

Lord have mercy,

lord have mercy,

have mercy upon us.

We are loathe to take account of the many ways

in which we unwittingly profit

from the machinery of war and greed.

Still we read the parables of Jesus

which fly in the face of social convention

offending those who dare to listen.

Christ have mercy,

Christ have mercy,

have mercy upon us.

Believing that we are insignificant,

and at the same time fearful that we might become so,

we are timid to use our voices to speak truth to a world of war.

Now the parables of Jesus offer a new vision;

now the servants dine and the masters serve,

now the last becomes and the first becomes last.

Lord have mercy,

lord have mercy,

have mercy upon us.

Hear the good news of the Story

that no sheep is unworthy of rescue,

no coin too small to be missed.

Hear the good news

that love is stronger than hate

and that this power is alive within you

now and forever.



Call to Worship

Based upon Exodus 16. Written for Evangelical United Church of Christ, September 1999. Copyright Katherine Hawker.

The promise land

just around the corner

dripping with milk and honey.


The promise land

sacrificing security

embracing the dream.


The promised land

milk and honey vaporize

as the dream comes alive.


The promised land

where faith meets hunger

and ideology gets personal.


The promised land


and taunts.


The promised land

just around the corner.


Prayer of Confession

Based upon the series of readings from Exodus. Copyright Katherine Hawker, 1999.

The Pharaoh decrees death to the foreigner.

The power of fear and hate rage surround us.

In the face of evil

Forgive us our complacency.

The burning bush flickers beside us.

The presence of God invites us.

In the presence of the holy

Forgive us our lack of notice.

The Red Sea waters stand at attention.

The threshold of grace is breath-taking.

In the company of grace

Forgive us our reticence to embrace.


Invitation to Pardon

Based upon the series of readings from Exodus. Copyright Katherine Hawker, 1999.

Hungry bellies and grumbling souls

are not the final word.

Manna and quail and water

fill the bellies and calm the souls.

The gifts of God reign

o’er the people of God.

Come for all things are ready.