1-2 "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.
3-4 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.5-7 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.'8 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.'9-11 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.'13-15 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?' 16 So the last will be first, and the first will be last."
Thoughts from Laz: To those who have been counted out, left behind, made to feel small or ashamed or too broken or unworthy or less, running for your life to a safer place outside, recovery circle, church, town, shelter (all of us now or in the future if we live long enough to see it) -
You who have been made last by the demands of a society, family, church, job that named you as wretched, sinful, broken, dangerous, lost, hopeless-
God calls you worthy, of immense value - and in this text - first. By being human, by risking significance by being fully yourself with all your scars in all the places you were told not to be- your presence and persistence declare that in the economy of God everyone belongs and is worthy of love and a safe place to belong and belly full of food.
We who are scarred join a scarred God in claiming our place previously denied and declaring our belovedness. We bear in our bodies and our stories that nothing, no nothing, can separate us from the love of God. May you this week proclaim this good news of worth beyond shame to yourself and those you love and serve.
Outward Mindset Application
Ask three coworkers for advice about something this week.
Pathways Toward Centeredness
Contemplation (Loving God through Adoration):
Repeat a simple on-sentence prayer that begins with a biblical name of God that is meaningful to you; follow the name with a word or a phrase expressing a deep God-given desire; connect the prayer to your breathing and return to it throughout the day until it becomes a soul reflex.
Questions for Reflection
Have you ever received a generous gift that you felt you didn't deserve? How did it change the way you saw your place in the world?
Does anyone in your life currently need to be told how valuable they are?
“Liturgy” refers to the habits and practices humans use to form community around shared values and meaning. At Church at the Park, we desire to be a community of practice, becoming people who see the world through the eyes of the marginalized, making meaning through the lens of pain and suffering, and committing ourselves to non-violence in a wounded world. This weekly email is intended to provide pathways of practice for becoming the type of people who embody these values.
Many of our reflections on each week's text come from other sources. If you're interested in reading more of what inspires us, here our our two favorite reflections.
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