On Sunday, March 1, we heard the Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard from Matthew
20:1-16. The Parable is framed by the words found in Matthew 19:30 and 20:16—“the first shall be last and the last shall be first.” We heard the parable as an invitation to celebrate the generous grace of God, not only for ourselves, but also for those who are new to the faith or new to our specific church community.
In my tenure at UBC, we have never had as many regular visitors as we do these days. Our sanctuary and
Sunday school classrooms, always places of welcome, are presenting us opportunities to think about this parable in new ways. What does it mean for those of us who have long called UBC home to invite new folk to stand in the front of the line— to experience the generous grace of God that has long filled UBC with life and to discover opportunities not only to grow in faithfulness but to give back to God and participate in the mission of Christ in this place? What does it mean to form ourselves around these famous words: “the first shall be last and the last shall be first”?
During this Lenten season, I invite you to reflect on the words we share with new members of our community. Prayerfully read these words and consider how you might more faithfully fulfill the pledge we make to one another at UBC. As you read, consider whom you might invite to join us or ways you might get to know the new people you see around UBC.
In response to your decision, we pledge ourselves to be the family of God for you in this place; we offer you our love, our care, our kinship, and our hopes. We hope to learn from you, give to you, and receive from you, by God’s grace.
May Easter find us all standing toward the back of the line, celebrating that the good news of Jesus’ resurrection is transforming more and more lives as new people come to experience the generous grace of God!