(16 February 2014, 1 Feb. 2015)
O LORD, we beseech you favorably to hear the prayers of your people; that we, who are justly punished for our offenses, may be mercifully delivered by your goodness, for the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end.
Genesis 1:1-5; Psalm 9:10-20; 1 Corinthians 9:24-27; Matthew 20:1-16
Today begins the three-week wind-up from the Epiphany theme of the glory of God made manifest in Jesus Christ to the Lenten theme of the suffering of Christ and our subsequent repentance for our sins. The Old Testament reading brings us back to the very beginning: God created all things, and it is on that premise that his authority to rule and judge his creation is founded, as the Psalm goes on to celebrate. The Gospel reading, then, gives us a parable to illustrate the manner in which God judges his people: it is a picture of mercy and generosity as he pays everyone an equal amount even though some worked much longer than others. The Collect takes this merciful judgment of God and places it in a prayer with an eye toward the coming Lenten season of repentance. On the flip side of this is the expectancy that we, his workers, will work diligently for him, and that’s where the Epistle reading steps in, encouraging us to run the race of the Christian life in such a disciplined manner that we gain the prize of a crown of unfading glory!