‘Follow me’, by Casting Crowns. You can also find this video directly at YouTube:
Let us pray,
Holy God, you welcome us into your creation too vast and wonderful to understand. Jesus, you welcomed and ate with those who were friends and those who didn’t even like you. And now you still welcome us into your love and presence as we share with the Spirit. As we come together today, old or young, sure or uncertain, peaceful or troubled, hopeful or doubtful, we give thanks that you welcome us into your self and into your love.
Forgive us for our acts that mean that we are less than open to your presence within our lives. Forgive us for the ways open and hidden where we do not welcome others. Forgive us that we find it hard even to acknowledge within ourselves that we are loved and welcomed. [a short silence]
Thankyou Jesus that you continue to offer love. Thankyou that you always welcome us. Thankyou that you already forgive. Let us hear that we are forgiven. Touch us once more with your peace and presence we pray. Amen.
From the Bible
The Bible reading for today is from Matthew 21:33-46.
“Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a watchtower. Then he leased it to tenants and went to another country. When the harvest time had come, he sent his slaves to the tenants to collect his produce. But the tenants seized his slaves and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. Again he sent other slaves, more than the first; and they treated them in the same way.
Finally he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him and get his inheritance.” So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him.
Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” They said to him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the harvest time.” Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the scriptures: ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is amazing in our eyes’?
Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom. The one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and it will crush anyone on whom it falls.” When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they realized that he was speaking about them. They wanted to arrest him, but they feared the crowds, because they regarded him as a prophet.
The message is brought to you by Mark Faulkner from the Saltbush Community. We arrive at Matthew’s account of the Parable of the Wicked Tenants. This challenging parable draws us to ponder the ways we reject God, but also the rejection of the presence of God, in the days in which we find ourselves.
Where do you see yourself in today’s passage? Share only as you feel comfortable. What do you hear in this parable in regards to us, church, society, the world? What did you hear today from the Word today?
Before a time of prayer you may like to spend some time in silence sitting still. Close your eyes lightly. Sit relaxed but alert. Simply be still and open to God.
Prayers for others
You may like to join in praying as you watch this video by the Cohen family from Cootamundra.
‘No love is higher’, courtesy of Emu Music. It can also be found via a direct link at YouTube:
The sermon and the opening prayer are based on content in the Saltbush service for this week, which can be found at: