A Study for Proper 20
September 15 - 20, 2014
In the Lessons for this week the Gospel, as usual, gives the key to the theme of the day. When a payment time comes for the laborers in the vineyard, it was learned that each was to receive equal pay regardless of hours worked. The reward is the same in the Kingdom whether we enter early or late. They who return to the Lord (Old Testament reading) will receive mercy and pardon. In the Epistle lesson, Paul says he does not know whether to live or die, because death would mean a closer relationship with Christ, his greatest reward. The Lord is good to all. The suggested Psalm relates to the Old Testament lesson – “seek the Lord.” The hymn emphasizes our stewardship of life and harmonizes with the Gospel with its emphasis on working in the Kingdom.
Monday, September 15, 2014 – Psalm 116:12-13, 15 - Antiphon, verse 17: “I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the Lord.” – This psalm is a song of deliverance from death. David or another king such as Hezekiah may have written it. (See Isaiah 38:10-20)
Tuesday, September 16, 2014 - Psalm 27:1-9 - This week’s Psalm is David’s triumphant prayer to God to deliver him from all those who conspire to bring him down. The prayer presupposes the Lord’s covenant with David. It is faith which publicly testifies to the Psalmist’s confident reliance on the Lord.
Wednesday, September 17, 2014 - Isaiah 55:6-9 - Generosity of mercy to all who return. In Sunday’s first reading, the prophet’s hearers are encouraged to seek God and return to Him for mercy and pardon. God’s thoughts and ways are totally different from ours. This truth is illustrated in today’s reading, the parable of laborers in the vineyard. If God were like the world, he would not take back his enemies and freely pardon them. The world, rather, would seek revenge and treat enemies with hatred. We, by our nature, do not love or seek reconciliation. We hate and kill and never, never forgive. God is so different — thank God for that! Those who return to the Lord in repentance will receive mercy and pardon. The same thought is echoed in the much loved hymn, “Just as I Am”
Thursday, September 18, 2014 – Philippians 1:1-5; 6-11; 19-27 - Our Epistle lesson for this week speaks of the generosity of Christ both in life and in death. Paul finds life on earth is Christ while the anticipation of death is gain. Paul says he does not know whether to live or die, because death would mean a closer relationship with Christ, his greatest reward. Thus our life here on earth is nothing but preparation for our life to be lived in glory.
Friday, September 19, 2014 – Matthew 20:1-16 - The parable of the laborers in the vineyard in the Gospel lesson for this coming week reminds us that God’s generosity is equal to all. When payment time came for the laborers in the vineyard, it was learned that each was to receive equal pay regardless of hours worked. The reward is the same in the kingdom whether we enter early or late. The thief on the cross receives the same reward as the faithful Christian who lives eighty plus years. Are we to spurn God’s generosity?
Saturday, September 20, 2014 –1 John 3:17 - Our reading is the inspiration for the hymn, “We Give Thee But Thine Own.” How does this hymn harmonize with our theme for today? It emphasizes our stewardship of life and harmonizes with the Gospel with its emphasis on working in the Lord’s Kingdom. How has the Lord blessed your life? How will you return a portion to Him this coming week?
Collect for Proper 20 – Lord God heavenly Father, since we cannot stand before You relying on anything we have done, help us trust in Your abiding grace and live according to Your Word; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Keep, we pray O Lord, Your church with Your perpetual mercy. Because without You we cannot but fall, keep us ever by Your help from all things hurtful, and lead us to all things profitable.
For Home and Family - Visit, we implore You, O Lord, the homes in which Your people dwell, and keep far from them all harm and danger. Grant us to dwell together in peace under the protection of Your holy angels, and may Your blessing be with us forever, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
A prayer before we study the Word - Almighty God, our heavenly Father, without Your help our labor is useless, and without Your light our search is in vain. Invigorate the study of Your holy Word that, by due diligence and right discernment, we may establish ourselves and others in Your holy faith.
For Schools - Almighty God, our heavenly Father, since You have committed the care and nurture of children to Your people, graciously enlighten those who teach and those who are committed to their instruction that they may know the truth and trust in You all the days of their lives; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Lutheran Service Book Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis MO © 2006
Lutheran Worship Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis MO © 1980, p. 83
Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series A by John Brokhoff © 1980 CSS Publishing Lima OH, p. 253Image © Ed Rojas Higher Things