Proper 21 Year A—
Do what is right



(Continuing to present both Tracks of the Lectionary)

The concept of “do what is right” is echoed in each of the appointed lessons for Sunday. But especially in Philippians: “Let this mind be in you that was also in Christ Jesus . . ..” Take a minute and read this again. Such a powerful directive: Be like Jesus—humble, obedient. It’s simple and yet difficult. Think on these things.

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Matthew 21:23-32

. . . Jesus said to them, . . . “What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ He answered, ‘I will not’; but later he changed his mind and went. The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, ‘I go, sir’; but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him.

From “. . . In telling the story, Jesus wanted us to realize that what we do is more important than what we say we will do. Jesus wants us to answer, “Yes,” when he tells us to “Love one another,” but what he really wants is for us to love one another! . . .”

Scripture: September 27, 2020—Ezekiel 18:1-4,25-32 (image); Psalm 25:1-8 (image); Philippians 2:1-13 (image); and Matthew 21:23-32 (image). Illuminating the scripture, an image and audio journey. Track 1 lesson and psalm are Exodus 17:1-7 (image) and Psalm 78:1-4, 12-16 (image). From the editor: Click on “image” following each appointed scripture for an illumination of that passage.  

Collect: God, you declare your almighty power chiefly in showing mercy and pity: Grant us the fullness of your grace, that we, running to obtain your promises, may become partakers of your heavenly treasure; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Reflection: What does it mean to do the will of God? Has God ever shown up in the middle of your complaining? When have you been wandering in a “wilderness of sin”?  [from Feasting on the Word Worship Companion]

Saint Focus: Scanning the saints list below, one might be drawn to Wilson Carlile (if one did not know who he was), and might have made the assumption since his date listed is 1942 that his sainthood was earned during World War II. While he certainly led an army, it was not what you think. He suffered an illness and began to take religion seriously, was confirmed in the Anglican church, became ordained. He began to recognize the gap between the church and the people so decided to correct that and began outdoor preaching. Not satisfied with this, he left the Anglican Church and formed the Church Army, known today as The Salvation Army.  The link below gives a little more detail.

This week, the saints under consideration were:

Eye Candy: gospel illustration by Cerezo Berrado; black and white depiction; red vineyards by van Gogh.

Ear Worm: “Thy Word” by Amy Grant; “J-E-S-U-S” by Leon Patilla; “Let this mind be in you” by Lee Hoiby

Brain FoodThe third twin by Ken Follett, a suspense novel that may be akin to the two sons parable;
The Two Sons” from the edge of enclosure weblog; “Identified Sinners” from the Waking Dreamer weblog

Contemporary Parables: “The Savages” (2012)—siblings caring for aging parent; “The White Balloon“, siblings caring for each other; “Adaptation” (2002), about imagined sibling



: Study guide, group activity, snacks, kid video.




activity; bulletin games; craft




:  activity; bulletin games; craft



: As is commonplace in the stories about Jesus’ life on earth, the chief priests and elders challenge him about his authority. Why do you think they did that? And why do you think Jesus answered with a question? Now turn your attention to the parable of the two sons: one said “no” to his father but relented and worked as asked to do; the other said “yes” to his father but never did the work. Try to put yourself in both sons’ shoes. What do you think was going on? And which of the two sons are you most like? (excerpted from “What God has given us to do”, part of the Lesson Plans that Work series from the Episcopal Church)

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After Jesus arrived in Jerusalem, several groups who opposed him challenged him. Today he is questioned by the official leaders, the chief priests and elders. They question his authority but he responds with a question that reveals their own weakness. Then in a parable, Jesus warns them that their privileged positions will not insure them a place in God’s kingdom.

Track 1. As we continue the story of the Exodus, the people and God reach another crisis. God provided them with food but now they demand water or else they will turn back. Yet God loves them, rebels though they are, and acts to provide them water in the wilderness.

Track 2. In the first reading today, God appeals to the people through the prophet Ezekiel. God wishes to save everyone. The matter is in the people’s hands. They may repent and be saved or they may refuse and be lost. “I have no pleasure in anyone’s death,” says God, “Turn then and live.”

We continue to read from Philippians. Paul encourages his friends to live in unity and care for one another. As the example of how they are to live, he quotes what was probably an early Christian hymn about Christ’s self-giving love for us.

We gather week by week, a people called into God’s family. God sets no barrier to us or to anyone; only we can erect a barrier between God and ourselves. God calls us in this holy meal to join in that family of God for whom Christ emptied himself and gave up his life for us. We rejoice and join with all creation and every tongue in confessing that Jesus Christ is Lord.

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