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That’s Not Fair!

17th Sunday after Pentecost

That’s Not Fair!

Text: Matthew 20:1-16


That’s Not Fair!  We’ve been slaving away all day long!  We started working at the break of dawn at 6:00 am.  We’ve put in over 10 hours of work.  We poured out sweat as the sun beat down on our bodies.  Our hands and our joints are aching from grueling work.  Our hands and our feet are stained with grape juice.  We did our job faithfully and dutifully.  We worked hard.  We smell like dirty tunics and we look like filthy pigs.  And you’re telling us that you’re going to pay them the same amount that you pay us?  That guy didn’t even start until 9:00am!  That guy started after lunch!  And that guy only worked one hour today!  You’re going to pay us all the same?  That’s Not Fair!

The outrage of the workers in Jesus’ parable is understandable.  Working a vineyard was no cake-job.  It was out in the scorching Middle Eastern sun.  It was tedious work.  It was tiring work.  It was slave work.  That’s likely why the landowner was hiring day laborers to do the work.  Read the rest of this entry

This Means War!

13th Sunday after Pentecost

Memorial Service on the 10th Anniversary of September 11

This Means War!

Text:  Ephesians 6:10-18


I was up bright and early in the morning for class.  No matter how interesting the subject, first hour class was never fun for a college student.  After two morning classes, I had a break third hour before we had morning chapel on campus.  I walked back to the dorm room.  Fall was not far off, so the temperature was nearly perfect in Minnesota.

I walked into my room and my roommate immediately said, “Dude, you gotta see this.”  I glanced at our TV.  He had the news on.  I think the first thing I said was, “What?  Is that real?”  I couldn’t believe what I saw—two massive skyscrapers billowing fire and smoke into the air.  America was under attack!

Every day we had gathered for chapel in college.  As usual I sat with my friends and next to my girlfriend (Becky).  But chapel certainly had a different mood and feel that day.  This was an epic event for the world, but in particular for our generation.  My grandfather remembers where he was on December 7, 1941 for Pearl Harbor.  My father cried as a grade school boy when they announced on November 22, 1963 that the president had been assassinated.  But our generation has had nothing traumatic happen yet.  The world wars were just history facts.  Vietnam was something we saw in graphic movies or that our parents sometimes talked about.  The Persian Gulf War was seemingly no big deal.  We went over to the Middle East, flexed our American muscles, and called it a day.  My generation had experienced nothing like this.

I could tell it would be a historic day, and not just because 2,977 people lost their lives.  This was an attack on American soil.  This was the Middle East versus the United States; terrorists versus people living in peace; Muslims versus Christians.  All I could think was, This Means War!  Rally the troops!  Strap up the armor!  Fire up the jets!  Lock and load!  This Means War! Read the rest of this entry