Please open the links below important communications from the Ministers and Elders of Holyhead Road URC regarding (1) requirements for the reopening of the building for worship – further information can be found on this week’s newsletter; (2) cash offertories.
In the light of the current COVID-19 (Corona Virus) outbreak, we regret that activities at the church – including worshipping in the building – continue to be temporarily suspended. However, we ARE still worshipping!
Please check with activity organisers / check the church website for updates via the NEWS page [for Covid-19 community support updates], the diary and the COVID-19 AND CHURCH page [for church-related information]. The COMMUNITY page contains suggestions for activities and educational links to support families during the period of social isolation (‘Lockdown’)
The Covid-19 and the church page also has information about opportunities to share in worship online during the suspension of Sunday worship in our building.
Bill produces a weekly podcast which can be accessed HERE: https://revdbill.uk/worship-material
Debbie hosts a regular Sunday phone-in act of worship at 11.15 am. Call 0330 606 0403. You will be asked for an access code, which is 442786#. To improve the sound quality for all, where possible, please mute your phone except during times of greeting and other shared sections.
A link to the URC’s daily reflection webpage can be found near the bottom of this page.
A reading from those set for 20/09/2020
The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard
20 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. 2 He agreed to pay them a denarius[a] for the day and sent them into his vineyard.
3 “About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. 4 He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ 5 So they went.
“He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing. 6 About five in the afternoon he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’
7 “‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered.
“He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’
8 “When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’
9 “The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius. 10 So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. 11 When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 12 ‘These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’
13 “But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? 14 Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. 15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’
16 “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
So – what are we being taught here?
We read here the parable of the landowner who went out at dawn to hire day labourers for work in his vineyard. He agreed to pay them the standard daily wage. Several hours later, the landowner saw several more workers in the marketplace. He told them: “Go to my vineyard and I will pay you a fair wage.” So they went to the vineyard. The landowner went out at noon and again at 3:00 p.m. He sent more labourers to his vineyard, promising to pay them for their work. And he did the same at 5:00 p.m.
At evening, the owner told his foreman to bring the labourers so he could pay them. However, the owner added: “begin with the last one hired and end with the first laborer who was hired.” The foreman did as the owner asked. The labourers who were hired late in the day were very surprised when they received a full day’s wage. After all, they had only worked a short amount of time. They went away very pleased. When the labourers who had been hired first thing in the morning came to receive their pay, they assumed that they would receive more than the wage they had negotiated. However, they received the same wage as all of the other workers that had been paid. These workmen were outraged. After all, they had laboured all day long in the heat and they had worked many more hours than the men who were paid the same wage for only a couple of hours of work. The owner was not being fair! How dare he?
The landowner, however, stood his ground. He told them: “I am not cheating you! I am paying you the wages you agreed to. Tell me: how am I cheating you? If I decide to be generous, do I not have that right?” Jesus ends with the astounding statement: “The last shall be first and the first shall be last!”
I assume that most of us identify with the indignant and upset day labourers. We place a high value on what we see as ‘fairness’.
Jesus’ statement may not fit the criteria many of us may attribute to our concept of fair play. However, Jesus challenges us to step beyond our societal norms. The landowner was a generous man and he made the choice to pay each of his labourers a full day’s wage, regardless of whether they worked 8 full hours or only 30 minutes. He was fair to the workers who had worked a full day; he paid them the amount of money that they had agreed upon.
As we know, these workers were jealous and they grumbled. Are WE ever jealous or resentful when someone else receives a gift, acclaim, or praise for an act that we think they neither deserved nor earned? Jealousy and resentment may not affect the other person; however, it does affect us! It can eat away at us and make us miserable. When we compare ourselves to others, we may (even unintentionally) judge ourselves as above them or below them. Both judgments damage the other person as well as ourselves.
God is the one who will judge in fairness and truth. We do not have the right to judge others and yet we do it all the time! Most of us have been gifted with abundant blessings. As we think about this, may we give thanks for the gifts and graces that we have received and let us thank God for the many gifts we have been given!
May we let go of judgment, envy, and jealousy. If we choose to do this, we will be happier and more peaceful.
Adapted from a reflection by Benedictine nun Sister Kristine Anne Harpenau at https://ferdinandbenedictines.blogspot.com/2016/08/reflection-matthew-201-16.html
If you are self-isolating, or
in any way affected by the closure (weddings, baptisms), please let one of the elders (or our ministers, Debbie and Bill) know, so that the church can keep in touch.
Looking for some quiet reflection? Try the link below!
It will take you to a page which presents bible readings with gentle music accompanying.
Welcome to our church website
Through these pages we hope to give you an insight into our church community. If you would like to come along in person, we’d love to meet you!
We have a Sunday morning service every week, at 10.30am. Everyone is welcome, and if it’s your first visit – do please introduce yourself.
There is an evening Communion service at 6.30pm on the third Sunday in the month, which is organised by a small group of our members and often based around music and words from the Iona Community. More details of these services and other activities are available in the Services and Diary sections of our website.
Please click on the links to find out more about us, and to see what’s going on, visit our Diary section! Building access information is available here. You can also contact us via email, details are on the Contact Us section of our website.
Our Facebook page can be found at: http://www.facebook.com/Holyhead-Road-United-Reformed-Church-151789941574498/
Where are we?
Use this link to Google maps for location and directions:
Looking for ready-made daily devotions each day? https://devotions.urc.org.uk/
A prayer for those visiting our website
Almighty and eternal God,
who created us in your own image and gave us the will to seek after all that is good, true and beautiful, especially in the person of Our Lord Jesus Christ,
we give you thanks for the freedom of communication.
Grant, we pray you, that through our journeys in this website we may be led to charity, prayer, patience and greater understanding of each other and that we may discern more closely your will for your pilgrims here on earth.
To the glory of the Word made flesh,