October 25, 2020 – Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost
Isaiah 24:1-7; Psalm 96:1-9[10-13]; 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10; Matthew 22:1
In today’s first reading, God uses the Gentile ruler Cyrus to accomplish God’s purposes… so that the whole world will recognize this Lord as the only God.
In our second reading, Paul gives pastoral encouragement and reassurances to Christians living in an antagonistic environment, reminding them that their commitment to faith, love, and hope makes them a model for other Christian communities.
And in our gospel reading, when the Pharisees try to trap Jesus, he tells them to give to the emperor what belongs to the emperor… and to God what belongs to God.
When we gather for worship—whether in-person or virtually—we are reminded that our ultimate allegiance and loyalty is to God, NOT to any earthly authority. Created in the image or likeness of God, we offer our entire selves in the service of God and for the sake of the world that God so loves.
October 11, 2020 – Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Isaiah 25:1-9; Psalm 23; Philippians 4:1-9; Matthew 22:1-14
In our reading from Isaiah, we are given a vision of the great feast to come, when God will wipe away death forever.
In our Epistle reading, Paul calls on the church to rejoice and give thanks to God no matter what the circumstance. God’s peace is with us and binds together our hearts and minds in Jesus Christ, especially when things around us do not seem peaceful.
In Jesus’ parable about a great banquet, those invited do not come, so the invitation is extended to others. The blessings of God’s kingdom are available to all—but the invitation is not to be taken lightly.
With great joy we come and feast at the table of the Lord, and then we go forth to share the wonderful invitation with others who are hungering and thirsting for the abundant life of God.
October 4, 2020 – Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost
unday, August 2, 2020 – Ninth Sunday after Pentecost
Isaiah 5:1-7; Psalm 80:7-15; Philippians 3:4b-14; Matthew 21:33-46
In today’s gospel reading, Jesus tells a vineyard parable which serves as an image of Israel (the people of God), the mission of the prophets, and Christ’s own death.
For us, as Christians, the vineyard also speaks of God’s love poured in the blood of Christ – for the forgiveness of sin.
Grafted onto Christ the vine in baptism, we share in Christ’s mission and ministry… called to bear fruit—life-giving fruit—for the kingdom of God.
Additional Faith Formation resources are available here Hearts at Home (pdf) – 18th Sunday after Pentecost