Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost, Matthew 21:23-32
The holy gospel according to Matthew. Glory to you, O Lord.
23When Jesus entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him as he was teaching, and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” 24Jesus said to them, “I will also ask you one question; if you tell me the answer, then I will also tell you by what authority I do these things. 25Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?” And they argued with one another, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ 26But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ we are afraid of the crowd; for all regard John as a prophet.” 27So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.
28“What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ 29He answered, ‘I will not’; but later he changed his mind and went. 30The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, ‘I go, sir’; but he did not go. 31Which 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 dominion of God ahead of you. 32For 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.”
The gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, O Christ.
Scholars believe that the Gospel of Matthew was written somewhere around the year 80 in the Common Era, a generation and more after the events of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. It was ten years after the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed in the year 70. So, the time when Matthew was written was a time of tremendous social and religious upheaval.
Because of the destruction of the Temple, Judaism was beginning its emergence from a faith tradition focused on the Jerusalem Temple to an orientation centered on local synagogues. What would become known as Christianity was beginning to emerge as a faith tradition in its own right. The people in what we call the Holy Land still suffered under Roman imperial rule. In short, the latter part of the first century was a revolutionary kind of time. It’s this context of social and religious upheaval that helps us understand what’s going on in the gospel reading for today. The Gospel writer, Matthew, records a confrontation between chief priests, elders and Jesus, who was teaching in the temple. Shortly before this passage in Matthew, Jesus had just overturned the money changers’ tables, driving them out of the Temple.
Naturally, the religious leaders of Jesus’ day questioned his authority to do what he was doing in the Temple.
It’s easy for us to be critical of the chief priests and the religious elders. But let’s put ourselves in their shoes. They were only trying to protect their inherited religious traditions and traditional lines of religious authority.
Dear members of God’s family at Resurrection Church,
This Sunday, our readings once again challenge us and drive us yet again into the loving arms of our merciful and gracious God. If you are able, join the congregation with your own worship at home at 10am on Sunday or otherwise engage our home worship resources in ways appropriate to your circumstances at home.
A pre-recorded worship service, complete with readings, Pastor Linman's sermon, prayers, and music will broadcast at 10am on Sunday, September 27, on our YouTube channel and will be available below:
Worship material for September 27, 2020
- Home Worship Bulletin for September 27, 2020
- Children's Bulletin for September 27, 2020
- The transcript of Pastor Linman's sermon
The following have been posted to YouTube; here is the YouTube Playlist for September 27, 2020:
- Musical Meditation: “Now”, Michael Helman
- Psalm 25:1-9, arrangement by Linda Cable Shute
- Pastor Jonathan Linman's recorded sermon
- Hymn #806: “O God, My Faithful God”
Hymn #517: “Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Your Word”
Hymn of the Day: “O God, My Faithful God” #806
Text: Johann Heermann (1585-1647), tr. Catherine Winkworth (1827-1878)
Tune: Was Frag Ich Nach Der Welt, Ahauserus Fritsch (1629-1701)
As a text writer Heermann ranks with the beat of his century, some indeed regarding him as second only to Gerhardt. He had begun writing Latin poems when he was 20, and was crowned as a poet in 1608. He marks the transition from the objective standpoint of the hymn text writers of the Reformation period to the more subjective and experimental school that followed him. His hymn texts are distinguished by depth and tenderness of feeling; by firm faith and confidence in face of trial; by deep love to Christ, and humble submission to the will of God. Many of them became at once popular, passed into the hymnbooks, and still hold their place among the classics of German hymnody.
With help from the family of a young noble he tutored, Fritsch received a good education, earning his law degree from the University of Jena in 1661. He later became chancellor of the university and president of the Consistory of Rudolstadt. He wrote on numerous subjects, including antiquities, law, and religion, and collected hymns. WAS FRAG ICH NACH DER VELT, also known as “Darmstadt,” is his most popular hymn tune.
Musical Meditation: Prelude on “Now”, Michael Helman (b. 1956)
Michael Helman is currently Director of Music/Organist at Faith Presbyterian Church in Cape Coral, Florida. He is an active composer of handbell, organ, and choral music with numerous pieces pieces in print.
Today’s Meditation is based on the hymn tune, “Now” by Carl F. Schalk (b.1929) He is professor of music emeritus at Concordia University, River Forest, Illinois, where he taught church music since 1965. Honored as a Fellow of the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada in 1992, Schalk was editor of the Church Music journal (1966-1980), a member of the committee that prepared the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), and a widely published composer of church music.
Choir Anthem: “To Thee, O Lord,” Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943)
This piece is a movement from the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom with an English translation of the text.
Sergei Rachmaninoff's emergence as a composer coincided with the renaissance of Russian sacred choral music in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. After a period of decline in the mid-nineteenth century, during which serious composers did not compose for the Church-by and large the result of severe bureaucratic control by Imperial Chapel censors-sacred choral music once again came to the attention of leading musicians in Russia, among them, Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakoff, Balakirev, and the young Rachmaninoff. What resulted was an enormous outpouring of compositional activity, which began in the 1880s, gained strength in the 1890s, and continued until it was abruptly cut off by the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917.
To Thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
My God, I trust in Thee.
Ms. Angie has a new Children's Message! Click below to view:
A New Bible Study on Selected Passages from Matthew via Zoom
RELC Door Access
Please be advised that the alarm system issues have been resolved. Immediately, you may begin to use your key cards to enter the building. We send out a very special thank you to the Property Committee and all those who assisted with this concern. Thank you also to our RELC members and patrons, for the patience that you offered while we solved this matter.
Blessing of Pets on St. Francis Day
St. Francis Day happens to fall on a Sunday this year. In keeping with Resurrection tradition, we will offer blessings for your pets on this day, Sunday, October 4, in ways in keeping with our pandemic-related routines – outdoors in physically distanced ways. Pastor Linman will be available to bless your pets during the time of the collection of food items for AFAC, 11:00 am to 1:00. So, along with your food donations, bring your pets (or photos of your beloved animals for prayer if it’s not convenient to take them outdoors). The Fellowship Committee will provide pet treats.
The best ways to contact Pastor Linman
Provided is a Home Faith Formation Calendar, updated each week with the following week’s recorded content. For those who couldn’t tune in live, see those resources available to you now. Check out too suggestive home activities, lectionary readings, and resources for racial justice for all ages.
ELCA Metro D.C. Synod News
National Hispanic Heritage Month
National Hispanic Heritage month has begun and will continue through October 15th. Hispanic Heritage Month recognizes and celebrates the contributions Americans tracing their roots to Spain, Mexico, Central America, South American and the Spanish-speaking nations of the Caribbean have made to American society and culture.
In the spirit of this month, Rev. Franklin Morales shares his story of faith, calling into the Lutheran Church and immigration to the United States. Click here to read the article.
Give now for wildfire relief
Imagine you’re home and you hear a knock at the door. An official tells you to pack your essentials and evacuate, as a wildfire is speeding toward you. This is the situation many of our neighbors in the western part of the country are facing right now. Fueled by a heat wave and unfavorable winds, devastating wildfires are raging across California, Oregon, Washington and other western states. At least 20 people have died, hundreds of thousands of people are under evacuation orders and more than 3.5 million acres have burned across the three states. Some evacuees face the difficult decision of whether to stay in a shelter during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lutheran Disaster Response is engaging with at least three Lutheran social services agencies and five synods to assess the situation and determine the best ways to respond. We expect immediate needs may include food and other necessities, as well as emotional and spiritual care for those who have been traumatized.
Your gifts will support wildfire survivors. Gifts to "U.S. wildfires" will be used in full (100%) to assist those affected by wildfires until the response is complete. Click here to donate to LDR.
$624,000 in Humanitarian Aid Destroyed in Beirut Explosion
Lutheran World Relief recently learned that three 40-foot shipping containers filled with thousands of handmade mission quilts and school, personal and baby care kits were destroyed in the devastating August 4 explosions at the port of Beirut, Lebanon.
The shipment was destined for refugees living in Lebanon, principally from Syria and the Palestinian territories. The containers were part of a shipment to be distributed by Anera, an NGO and longtime Lutheran World Relief partner that serves refugees and other vulnerable communities in the Middle East. The total value of the lost shipments was approximately $624,000.
The loss of more than 47,000 quilts, sewn by individuals and members of Lutheran congregations across the U.S., could mean a more bitter winter for thousands of refugees. Help replace the kits and quilts by learning more here. To donate, visit https://lwr.org/beirut
Season of Creation Devotions for September 1 - October 4
Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton and leaders from The Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church of Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada have prepared a series of devotions to observe the Season of Creation 2020, Sept. 1–Oct. 4.
In the opening devotion, the leaders stress the significance of a collective responsibility in caring for creation. "Waking up to matters of climate justice and environmental stewardship are among the most important callings people have today. Over many years, through many voices, our churches have come to a growing conviction that loving our neighbor includes loving Mother Earth as a neighbor."
Please click here to access devotions.
Walkathon on September 27, Virtual Option Available
The annual Walkathon to raise gifts for the year-round ministry of Mar-Lu-Ridge will take place in person, Sunday, September 27. Face masks and distancing are encouraged. No pets, please. Come home to MLR for a day of fellowship, exercise, and worship!
1:00 p.m. – registration begins at the pavilion
1:30 p.m. – walk begins (walk the camp road or hike on the trails)
3:30 p.m. – a grab-and-go supper will be available
4:00 p.m. – outdoor worship
AFAC Food Collection
When: October 4th and 18th, from 11:00am – 1:00pm
Where: Washington Blvd. Entrance
September Financial Update. The below chart is a summary of RELC’s finances for the year to date as of August 31, 2020. The columns titled “(a) YTD Giving,” “(b) YTD Expenses” and “(c) Giving minus Expenses” provide key data for our three primary financial funds. This data shows that our giving is below our actual expenses for the YTD and well below our giving levels for this time last year. We continue to see the negative impact of the cancellation of Sunday services on our giving and slowed giving common during the summer months. Please continue to send in your weekly contributions which can be made through Simply Giving, by using the “Donate Now” button on RELC’s website or by sending your contribution check to the church office in the US Mail.
Please prayerfully consider what this information means to you as we work together to support RELC’s ministries.
|(a) YTD Giving||(b) YTD Expenses||(c) Giving-Expenses||(d) Giving as %|
|(e) Change from|
Our community is facing a challenging time as it continues to deal with the coronavirus pandemic and the economic damage resulting from business closures, now compounded by the suffering of racial injustice. Despite our separation, it’s important for us to maintain our financial support for the church and its ministries in the community – and, if possible, to considering increasing that support to address our neighbors’ immediate needs. As our church determines how it can best serve the community, please ensure that it has the resources needed to provide that help. You can make your offering by using the “Donate Now” button on the RELC website or by mailing your offering to our office at 6201 Washington Blvd., Arlington, VA, 22205.
Care Takers For RELC’s Plot Against Hunger Garden
Dear Friends in Christ:
If you’ve been to the church or driven by recently, you will have noticed signs on our church property: “Black Lives Matter” and “Hate has No Home Here.” The placement of these signs was the result of a vote by our elected leaders who serve as members of the Congregation Council. Not unexpectedly, these signs have stirred some controversy among some members, as well as some in our neighborhood community. There are those who support the placement of signs, and those who oppose our church making such visible statements.
But they are signs of the times. I cannot speak for the Council either as individual members or as a body, but my sense is that the intertwined crises of our days in our nation evoked significant energy to say something, to begin to address the concerns of our day.
I have written before that we live in apocalyptic-seeming times – especially when you consider the etymology of the word apocalypse, which has to do with uncovering, unveiling, revealing. The crises of the pandemic, of protests resulting from a long line of people of color dying at the hands of police officers, and of economic hardship of Great Depression proportions for many – these crises have in common that in each case, persons of color often suffer the most. This set of realities reveals that racism in many forms persists as a deep and abiding problem in our nation. It is time to confront racism head on and to seek racial justice in ways faithful to the gospel.
Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Matthew 20:1-16
The holy gospel according to Matthew. Glory to you, O Lord.
[Jesus said:] 1“The dominion of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. 2After agreeing with the laborers for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. 3When he went out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace; 4and he said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went. 5“When he went out again about noon and about three o’clock, he did the same. 6And about five o’clock he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, ‘Why are you standing here idle all day?’ 7They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard.’ 8“When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, ‘Call the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and then going to the first.’ 9When those hired about five o’clock came, each of them received the usual daily wage. 10Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received the usual daily wage. 11And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, 12saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ 13But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? 14Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. 15Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ 16So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
The gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, O Christ.
If indeed the parable of the laborers in the vineyard, which we just heard, is about God and God’s dominion of heaven, God is not fair. God is not fair by the measure of typical standards of human fairness and justice.
Children are generally well attuned to and quite vocal about a sense of fairness, about everyone getting their fair share. If one gets a smaller portion of the birthday cake, they will quickly call out the unfairness of it all. A child’s sense of fairness lives somewhere in all of us who are adults. It doesn’t quite go away. Nor should it for the sake of how we organize ourselves in human society. But as we well know, the scriptural witness reveals that God often operates according to a logic different from our own. We see this going on in today’s first reading from Jonah, where Jonah is angry enough to want to die because God ended up withholding divine punishment from the people of Nineveh and graciously spared them. Jonah wanted to see the punishment. God’s logic of grace and mercy ran afoul of Jonah’s more judgmental, they-should-get-what-they-deserve sensibilities.
We also see the conflict between divine and human logic in the gospel parable for today. From the human take on fairness, it’s astonishing that the laborers who arrived at 5:00 in the afternoon, very close to quitting time, would receive the same wage as the laborers who arrived first thing in the morning, and who worked hard all day in the scorching heat. It’s just not fair.
When the grumbling turned into a confrontation with the landowner, the landowner had this to say: “Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?” Another translation reads, “Or do you begrudge me my generosity?”
Again, God’s justice does not operate by the same logic as typical systems of human justice. For God’s justice is rooted in justification. Not self-justification as we might frame it and often practice it, but justification by God’s grace effective through faith, a divine economy in which there is nothing we can do to earn God’s favor. God’s grace is given to us all as a gift apart from what we do, how hard we work, or what time of day when we show up to do that work.
Dear members of God’s family at Resurrection Church,
This Sunday, the readings explore the radical extent of God’s grace that defies and transcends the logic of a human sense of fairness. If you are able, join the congregation with your own worship at home at 10am on Sunday.
A pre-recorded worship service, complete with readings, Pastor Linman's sermon, prayers, and music will broadcast at 10am on Sunday, September 20, on our YouTube channel and will be available below:
Worship material for September 20, 2020
- Home Worship Bulletin for September 20, 2020
- Children's Bulletin for September 20, 2020
- The transcript of Pastor Linman's sermon
The following have been posted to YouTube; here is the YouTube Playlist for September 20, 2020:
- Musical Meditation: “Spirit”, Michael Bedford
- Psalm 145:1-8, arrangement by Mark Mummert
- Pastor Jonathan Linman's recorded sermon
- Hymn #845, "Voices Raised to You"
- Hymn #688, "Lord of Light"
Hymn of the Day: “Voices Raised To You” #845
Text: Herman G. Stuempfle, Jr. (1923-2007)
Tune: Song of Praise, Caroline Jennings (1936)
This hymn was commissioned by the ALCM for its tenth anniversary and first sung on Reformation Sunday in the fall of 1996.
Rev. Dr. Herman G. Stuempfle, Jr. lived most of his life in Gettysburg, PA. He served as President of the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg and was the author of several books and numerous articles and lectures on preaching, history, and theology. He was also among the most honored and respected hymn writers of the 20th and 21st centuries. Rev. Dr. Stuempfle was known for his leadership in community and civic projects. Always taking an active stance on social issues, he participated in the creation of day care centers, served on the Gettysburg interchurch social action committee, helped create and support prison ministries and a homeless shelter, and tutored young people in the after school program of Christ Lutheran Church, where he was a long time member.
Carolyn Jennings is a Professor Emerita of Music at St. Olaf College where she taught for many years and also served in administrative roles, including Chair of the Music Department and Associate Dean for the Fine Arts. She also served as a church musician for over thirty years, at St. John's Lutheran Church in Northfield, Minnesota.
Over many years she has been active in promoting the use of inclusive language in texts for singing, and has worked to heighten awareness of how language shapes as well as expresses thought.
Her compositions and arrangements include works for voices, orchestra, and piano. She particularly enjoys composing for voices.
Musical Meditation Meditation on “Spirit”, Michael Bedford (b. 1949)
Michael Bedford, a full-time church musician since 1973, currently serves as organist/choirmaster of St. John's Episcopal Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he plays the organ and supervises a full graded choir program including three singing choirs, one handbell choir and a chamber ensemble. He has held similar positions in Texas and Colorado.
James K. Manley wrote the tune “SPIRIT” for his text of 1978. He served as pastor of Congregational United Church of Christ in San Marino, California, from 1978 to 1988 and then moved to Foothills United Church of Christ in Los Altos, California.
Dear Friends in Christ:
I want to let you all know that we just received confirmation that my son's surgery is indeed scheduled to take place tomorrow, Good Friday. This will be major surgery to correct the vascular malformation in Nathan's brain that first caused his stroke. Thus, Nathan, his mother, and I covet your prayers for effective, uncomplicated outcomes to this procedure.
Needless to say, my observance of home worship during this Holy Week will focus on my keeping vigil at my son's side, even as I also intend to share with you in using our congregation's worship resources to mark these Three Days. With Nathan's surgery in mind, I created video files of all of my Holy Week and Easter sermons early, so they are all uploaded and ready to go.
I don't know how many days Nathan will be in the hospital—it all depends on how the surgery and his recovery go. While attending to my son is my first priority in the coming days, I also intend to engage in my pastoral responsibilities as well, keeping abreast of church-related emails and phone messages and also preparing sermons for the next Sundays in Easter.
Thanks in advance for your prayers for us, and may you all have blessed and holy Three Days during these most trying and unprecedented times in the life of our congregation and in the world.
Sent with my own prayer for all of you in our life together.....
In Jesus' name,
Pastor Jonathan Linman
Beginning March 22
- Consistent with State, county, and local closure of group events and activities, Resurrection Lutheran Church will cancel all worship services, Sunday School and other educational activities, and Coffee Hour indefinitely beginning Sunday, March 22.
The Stained Glass Windows in the Nave at Resurrection Evangelical Lutheran Church
Dr. Melvin S. Lange, pastor of Resurrection Lutheran Church from 1958 to 1971, prepared the theological material for the artist, Roy Calligan, of the Hunt Stained Glass Studios in Pittsburgh, PA. The meaning of each of the seventeen windows is indicated by a Bible verse. The theme begins with the window to the left of the lectern (when facing the altar) and proceeds around the nave toward the back, and then forward on the opposite side toward the last window to the right of the pulpit.
We are a church that strives to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with our God (Micah 6:8). We do justice by serving our community through our social outreach activities and through contributions of finances and member’s time to local programs, including, for example, Lutheran Social Services. We provide opportunities for a rich Christian education to our members and to the community. Many of our members are active in synod activities and in ecumenical activities with other Christians.
We love kindness in the Christian work we do, often quietly but resolutely, for our members and for the community. Benevolence has always been a priority for our church, and we are a significant donor both in our financial resources and, perhaps more importantly to us, our member’s time. We are active with food assistance programs in the Arlington area and to other social service organizations.
We strive to walk humbly with our God in our worship services. We take liturgy, prayer, and music very seriously in our church as a path through which our parishioners can experience the word and sacrament in their lives. Finally, we are excited about offering the sacrament of communion to our parishioners at every Sunday service and believe it is important that we continue to do so.