Tomorrow I am preaching for the first time since Christmas Day. It has been a long time, and I am so happy to be given this moment of grace again. Even better I am going to a great little country church, that I used to know many years ago. To find them you go out to the middle of nowhere and there in the middle of a field is a little country church. Years ago I had the joy of going to them and dedicating new pews as they celebrated some significant growth. The intervening years have brought some decline, but from all accounts they are still a terrific congregation. I am looking forward to getting to know them all again.
So what will I be preaching about? Tomorrow I will be looking at the parable of the workers in the vineyard, where those who came late in the day got paid exactly the same wage as those who started to work in the early hours of the morning. When we look at the parable we wonder if the landowner ever heard of the concepts of a decent HOURLY wage, or even that seniority counts for something. Surely those who work a long day deserve more. Right?
What we forget is that in God’s kingdom Grace is is the only measuring stick. You sinned, grace will cover that. You have a situation that needs intervention, grace will cover that. You have always been annoyingly perfect in every way, not to worry grace will cover that as well. Indeed for all of us, at every moment, grace is what makes a life of ministry, mission, passion, joy, hope, faith and anything else God asks of us possible.
I am looking forward to sharing this message, and encouraging the congregation in the living of its faith. I am looking forward to hearing the message of grace and opening my life to the living of faith and grace. It has been a long road to this place and I am ready to move forward with God.
Let us pray: GRACE IS ALL
God, in gratitude we turn to you, praising you for all your goodness to us
Repenting of arrogance and a sense of deservedness, we humble ourselves to blessing
Align our vision so that we see how grace and mercy are to be shared with all
Challenge us to be those who share grace and mercy
Enliven us with the joy of giving as you give
Instil in us a deep desire to fulfill your will
Shower us with the gifts of your Spirit
Ask us to give to you by sharing your gifts with others
Lead us onto the paths of mercy
Lead us onto the paths of blessing
For the sake of your church and in the cause of justice. Amen