This Sunday 4 October there will be
- A service of Holy Communion at 9.30am at All Saints’ Church, Westbury.
- A service of Holy Communion at Holy Saviour at 10.30am at Holy Saviour, Westbury Leigh
- A service of Morning Praise on Zoom at 10am.
Please contact us if you would like to find out more and how to join our Zoom service or subscribe to our e-newsletter on this page.
Collect for the Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity
you have made us for yourself,
and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in you:
pour your love into our hearts and draw us to yourself,
and so bring us at last to your heavenly city
where we shall see you face to face;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Isaiah 5: 1 – 7
5 Let me sing for my beloved
my love-song concerning his vineyard:
My beloved had a vineyard
on a very fertile hill.
2 He dug it and cleared it of stones,
and planted it with choice vines;
he built a watch-tower in the midst of it,
and hewed out a wine vat in it;
he expected it to yield grapes,
but it yielded wild grapes.
3 And now, inhabitants of Jerusalem
and people of Judah,
judge between me
and my vineyard.
4 What more was there to do for my vineyard
that I have not done in it?
When I expected it to yield grapes,
why did it yield wild grapes?
5 And now I will tell you
what I will do to my vineyard.
I will remove its hedge,
and it shall be devoured;
I will break down its wall,
and it shall be trampled down.
6 I will make it a waste;
it shall not be pruned or hoed,
and it shall be overgrown with briers and thorns;
I will also command the clouds
that they rain no rain upon it.
7 For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts
is the house of Israel,
and the people of Judah
are his pleasant planting;
he expected justice,
but saw bloodshed;
but heard a cry!
Psalm 80: 9 – 17
9 You cleared the ground for it;
it took deep root and filled the land.
10 The mountains were covered with its shade,
the mighty cedars with its branches;
11 it sent out its branches to the sea,
and its shoots to the River.
12 Why then have you broken down its walls,
so that all who pass along the way pluck its fruit?
13 The boar from the forest ravages it,
and all that move in the field feed on it.
14 Turn again, O God of hosts;
look down from heaven, and see;
have regard for this vine,
15 the stock that your right hand planted.
16 They have burned it with fire, they have cut it down;
may they perish at the rebuke of your countenance.
17 But let your hand be upon the one at your right hand,
the one whom you made strong for yourself.
Philippians 3: 4 – 14
4 even though I, too, have reason for confidence in the flesh.
If anyone else has reason to be confident in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, a member of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless.
7 Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. 8 More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith. 10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, 11 if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
12 Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on towards the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.
Matthew 21: 33 – end
33 ‘Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a watch-tower. Then he leased it to tenants and went to another country. 34 When the harvest time had come, he sent his slaves to the tenants to collect his produce. 35 But the tenants seized his slaves and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. 36 Again he sent other slaves, more than the first; and they treated them in the same way. 37 Finally he sent his son to them, saying, “They will respect my son.” 38 But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, “This is the heir; come, let us kill him and get his inheritance.” 39 So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. 40 Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?’ 41 They said to him, ‘He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the harvest time.’
42 Jesus said to them, ‘Have you never read in the scriptures:
“The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
this was the Lord’s doing,
and it is amazing in our eyes”?
43 Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom. 44 The one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and it will crush anyone on whom it falls.’
45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they realized that he was speaking about them. 46 They wanted to arrest him, but they feared the crowds, because they regarded him as a prophet.
Living together in peace
I expect many of us will have suffered the humiliation of being rejected at some point in our lives. Whether in the school playground, when so-called friends chose other people to be in their team; or whether not being selected to play for a football team, sing a solo in the school concert, or whether we have been betrayed by a friend or a partner. We might have suffered redundancy or divorce, or failed to get the expected promotion at work. All these experiences cause us to feel unwanted, unloved and rejected.
In our gospel reading for this Sunday, Jesus told a story about rejection. (See Matthew 21 verses 33-46).
The parable is a foretelling of what will happen to Jesus himself: that he would be rejected, arrested, and killed, and that in the end, those who are to look after and work for the harvest, the kingdom of God, are those who will produce the fruit of the kingdom. I understand that to mean, those who will work for the values of God’s kingdom here on earth: for peace, justice and righteousness.
However, we still live in a broken and troubled world, where people are being rejected all the time. You only have to think of the Black Lives Matter movement which sprang up this year, in response to the killing of an innocent black man in the US, which has now spread all over the world. Minority ethnic groups still, in this day and age, feel rejected, unwanted and unloved. They are still more likely to be arrested for no reason, to be unemployed, and to live in poverty. They are also more likely to suffer from Covid 19 than white people. Here in Westbury, we may feel somewhat distant from these issues because there are very few ethnic minorities in our communities. However, it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be alert to these issues, and be on the look out for any people who may feel they don’t fit, they don’t feel included because of the colour of their skin, their sexuality or their disability. We need to remember that Jesus always sought to be alongside people like that in his community. He always made friends with and healed the least and the lost. I wonder how we may reach out to those people like that in our community, and offer them something of God’s love, and help them to feel included?
Rev’d Rebecca Harris