Happy Sunday on the last Sunday before the autumnal equinox, and first hints of fall are upon us. The hummingbirds seem to have begun their southward journey, the temperature is in the 50s overnight, and the squirrels are spending more time wrestling in the attic at church. We had some visitors after church looking for our geocache and I had the chance to show them around the church and tell them part of our story. We had the chance to support our local poverty alleviation program – the Coalition Against Poverty in Suffolk – during their annual fundraiser. Nice to give back to the community again.

As we gathered for worship we were encouraged to not be anxious about earthly things or those things that are passing away (this present moment) and focus on what we can do to make a long-term difference and embrace the things that will endure. We are reminded that we cannot quell our anxiety on our own – we need faith and hope to navigate our fears. In the lesson from Exodus this morning we heard the story of Israel grumbling against Moses (actually God) because they didn’t have meat or bread. In response, God provided manna and quail each day and for the duration of the journey in the desert. Our psalm reminds us that we need to praise God for the marvelous things done and the justice provided; often justice that surpasses our understanding. Our gospel from Matthew told the story of the vineyard owner who hired workers and paid them all the daily wage – whether they worked 1 hour or all day. God’s gifts are not specifically charity – we have to do something to realize God’s blessings – but they are our just benefit for our relationship with God. Today’s sermon focused on Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi. He reminded that church and us that whether we live or die we are God’s and that life is a blessing for our God-given work and death is the reward for life. We simply have to live a life focused on being a witness to the truth of hope founded on our relationship with God. We live a life as leaders who don’t downplay the trials but also lead people to the promise and hope found in God’s gracious presence.

I invite your comments,

Readings: Exodus 16:2-15; Psalm 105:1-6, 37-45; Philippians 1:21-30; Matthew 20:1-16

Video from today’s worship: https://youtu.be/dHGpe-WKRr4

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