12 February 2006

Today's Sermon

Below is an excerpt from today's sermon based on the parable of the workers in the vineyard. To read the entire sermon, subscribe to ZIONNEWS.

Like the landowner in today’s Gospel, our heavenly Father goes out time after time, hour by hour, to beckon us into His Church; to summon us to return to His home; and to urge us to tend His garden—just as He first created us to do.

Time after time, hour by hour, Our Father calls us to Himself. First He uses patriarchs; then prophets; then St Johnthe Baptizer; then the holy apostles. And now, in these last days, He issues His loving invitation through bishops who retain the apostolic faith and remain in communion with the saints. Through these preachers, and through faithful priests, parents and laymen, Our Father continues to extend His mercy. No one can question His persistence. No one can say that He’s not done enough.

Yet grumbling is often heard. The grumbling that says that our benevolent Master has not been benevolent enough. The grumbling that insists that we, who deserve nothing, deserve more. And so we hear the grumbling, complaining, moaning and whining of the dissatisfied, the ungrateful, the lazy and the complacent. And often the mouth that produces such grating and annoying noise is our own. For like those workers we believe that the Father is dealing with us not out of mercy, but out of justice. And we want our just desserts. We demand fair treatment. We insist that the Lord study our case, confident that He will conclude that He should give us even more.

Beware of what you demand from the Lord. Beware of being your own lawyer—especially in the Lord’s field. For a vineyard is not where lawyers practice; a church is not a courthouse; and demanding justice and fairness requires that sympathy and mercy be set aside. And beware of turning your Father into your Judge. For He has already made a judgment on your behalf—a judgment to set aside your sin, and to sacrifice His Son, and to re-send His Spirit. He has already judged that, to save your life, He must not deal with you as He really ought; rather, He must have mercy.

Let us consider the mercy of Our Father. He gives it to us through His Son in His Holy Spirit. Let us consider this unforced work that the Trinity has performed for our salvation—and that He continues to perform in us so that we might not lose what He has given; so that He might return us to the kingdom that we walked away from.

Let us consider the mercy of our great God and Savior. Consider how full and rich it is. For His mercy gives us our bread, His mercy blesses us with home and family, His mercy allows us to continue drawing our breath, and His mercy wards off the devil and delivers us from evil.

1 comment:

William Weedon said...

Love the modern artwork! Totally 1990's-2000's with the goatee! I fit in!!! (Oh, and great sermon thoughts too!).