Into the Darkness, came the Light of the World



Church buildings can open for public worship now, but I will continue to send a short reflection, for those of you who must continue to ‘shield’. It will be based on the topic of the Sunday Sermon, but not a transcript of it.

Let me know if you want a full transcript and I’ll get one to you.


SUNDAY 20 September 2020


Philippians 1.21-end

21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labour for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.

27 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit,[e] striving together as one for the faith of the gospel 28 without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved – and that by God. 29 For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, 30 since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.


This is the Word of the Lord.  Thanks be to God.


Matthew 20.1-16

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to MATTHEW

Glory to you, O Lord.

‘For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a denarius[a] for the day and sent them into his vineyard.

‘About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the market-place doing nothing. He told them, “You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.” So they went.

‘He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing. 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?”

‘“Because no one has hired us,” they answered.

‘He said to them, “You also go and work in my vineyard.”

‘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.”

‘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.’


This is the Gospel of the Lord.  Praise to you, O Christ.

In the last months, our society’s working patterns have changed dramatically.


Some, like our health workers, teachers and transport and retail staff have battled to work under the most challenging of circumstances.

Some people have faced business collapse, unemployment and financial ruin in a way they could not have imagined.

Others are “Working From Home” – now known as WFH – with all the strains that entails.


As the situation seemed to ease, we were encouraged to Eat Out, to get back to the workplace or school, but now, inevitably we are seeing signs of that dreaded ‘second spike’. And now, we’re worried that the Pandemic, like the Grinch, will be stealing Christmas. 


Far be it from me to take issue with the wisdom of Archbishop Justin Welby for whom I have the greatest respect. I was momentarily encouraged when I saw the headline that he had spoken out against ‘cancelling Christmas’.  I read on and it seemed that his concern stemmed mainly from the fact that people would be isolated from each other at a time when we are usually together.  I do not argue with that, and admire his pastoral concern but I felt that as a Leader of the Christian Church, he should have also perhaps spoken about how Christians can be absolutely clear – that NOTHING and NO-ONE can steal from us the abiding truth that we celebrate at Christmas each year. That truth is that the Creator of the universe, the God of the moon and stars, made himself known to human beings by being born as one of us – in the frailty of a human life.  Into the Darkness, came the Light of the World. That truth cannot be cancelled!


As Christians, we too are called to be lights in the world and we can do that in all sorts of ways, according to what God calls us to do. This calling will be high-profile for some (like our good Archbishop) and for others, lives of quiet duty.


In the last months, we have seen a number of faithful friends from our local churches, and with whom we have shared our lives, pass through death. Those goodbyes have been painful in the extreme, but we remind ourselves that we have seen in their lives a glimpse of the Light of Christ, the Hope of Glory and the Compassion of God. 


Like the Parable’s workers in the vineyard, all have laboured in different ways.  And at the ending of the day, theirs, and ours, is the Kingdom of Heaven.

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Page last updated: 24th September 2020 4:18 PM