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Weekly Liturgy : September 25 - October 1

The Parable of the Two Sons Andrei Mironov ©2013
The Parable of the Two Sons Andrei Mironov ©2013
Matthew 21:23-32

NIV Translation

23 Jesus entered the temple courts, and, while he was teaching, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him. “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you this authority?”

24-26 Jesus replied, “I will also ask you one question. If you answer me, I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. John’s baptism—where did it come from? Was it from heaven, or of human origin?” They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ But if we say, ‘Of human origin’—we are afraid of the people, for they all hold that John was a prophet.”

27 So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”

Then he said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.

28-32 “What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’ “‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go. “Which of the two did what his father wanted?”

“The first,” they answered.

Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.



Thoughts from Monica: I usually love Jesus' words, but there in that last sentence is a tough one for me: the word "repent." It can be a bit triggering.  I’m guessing I’m not alone, as it’s been misused by religious folk to shame, coerce, and ostracize. 

But I offer here something that's been helping me lately as I rethink my own faith and practice. Repent in the scriptures comes from the Greek word "metanoia," and is better translated as "changing one's mind." The spirit of the statement then moves from a “shame on you” or a “do better” to an invitation to rethink our lives and what we’ve been told. It’s what is depicted here by the first son in Jesus’ parable, and in real life by the actual tax collectors and prostitutes who he consistently welcomes to the table. 

We are invited to actively and continually be open to changing our minds about ourselves and others. That might translate to a deeper following of the way of love–to believe we are deeply loved (this is a journey), and that we can extend that love to others (one at a time) as we love ourselves (these go hand-in-hand).

May we open our minds today, a little bit wider, to the depth that we’re already loved, completely. 



Outward Mindset Application

Find someone (a co-worker, friend, or maybe family member) who you have made an assumption about. Go out of your way to ask them an open-ended question and then listen deeply.

Pathways Toward Centeredness

Contemplation (Loving God through Adoration):

Schedule a chunk of time this week to be by yourself and silent. Set a timer, set your phone aside and just be still. Take some deep breaths and open your hands as a way of receiving direction toward a possible change of heart or mind.

Questions for Reflection

If you feel safe, get brutally honest with yourself. Where do you feel stuck? Maybe write down broad areas or specific examples. Where do you sense an invitation to set aside a certainty and be more open to a change of mind?


“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.

Copyright (C) 2023 Church at the Park. All rights reserved.

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