Daily Devotion for November 20, 2009
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Prayer for the Morning
Oh Lord, most heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who has safely brought me to the beginning of this day; I give you thanks for my creation, preservation, and all the blessings of my life. Grant that this day I fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all my doings, being governed by your will, may be righteous in your sight. Through Christ our Lord, I pray.
Prayer for For those in the Armed Forces
Almighty God, I commend to your gracious care and keeping all the men and women of our armed forces at home and abroad. Defend them day by day with your heavenly grace; strengthen them in their trials and temptations; give them courage to face the dangers that surround them; and grant them a sense of your living presence, wherever they may be; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Community of Prayer
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be among the community of all who pray in the name of Christ this morning, and remain among us always.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Gospel of Matthew, 20:1-16
Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard
The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner, who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. When he had agreed with the laborers to pay them a shilling for the day, he sent them into his vineyard.
He went out again, about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace. He told them, 'You also; go to the vineyard, and I'll pay you whatever is right.' And they went to work. And he went out yet again about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did likewise.
About the eleventh hour he went out again and found others standing. He said to them, 'Why are you standing here all day idle?' They replied, 'Because nobody has hired us.' So he told them, 'You also, go to the vineyard'.
When evening fell, the lord of the vineyard said to his foreman, 'Call the laborers and pay them their wages, from the last to the first.'
When those who had been hired at the eleventh hour came out, each of them received a shilling. So when the first-hired came out, they supposed that they would receive more; but they also received a shilling each. After they had been paid, they complained about the landowner, saying, 'The men hired last worked only one hour, and you made them equal to us, who worked the entire day in the scorching heat.'
But he answered, 'Friend, I haven't done any wrong to you. Didn't you agree to a shilling with me? Take that which is yours and go on your way. It is my will to give to these last ones the same as to you. Is it not lawful for me to do whatever I want with what I own? Or do you think ill of me, because I am good?'
So the last shall be first, and the first last.
Comment on the Scripture
The invention of accurate clocks came surprisingly late in history. The Romans were amazingly advanced in some ways; the sewage system in Londonium (circa 300 AD) was far better than that of London in 1800. But the pendulum clock did not appear until 1657, and clocks accurate enough for ships to determine their latitude came 100 years later.
Agricultural peoples, like the Hebrews in today's passage, generally divided the day into two segments. The daytime would have started around 7 a.m. and ended around 7 p.m. So, the third hour would have started about 9:00; the sixth, 12:00 noon; the ninth, 3:00; and the famous "eleventh hour" would have run from 5:00 to 6:00. Then (as now) farmers went to bed early and got up at daybreak, especially since they didn't have electric lights (much less television!).
Christ Pantocrator is a conception of Jesus as the Almighty, or "Ruler of All things", and is a common depiction of Jesus in the Byzantine or Eastern Orthodox churches.(Photograph by Guillaume Piolle.)