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On the Farm: An Instruction Guide for Workers in the Field

Lectionary Year A: Trinity Sunday through the 8th Sunday after Pentecost

June 7-July 26, 2020

Life on the farm is never easy. It takes hard work and commitment. There is always one

concern or another. Is it too hot, too cold, too rainy? Are there too many rocks or

weeds? Is the plow too heavy for the oxen? The schedule at the farm relies on the

weather. By the end of the day we are exhausted and covered in dirt. But the hard work

pays off when we reap a plentiful harvest. Jesus uses a lot of agricultural language in the

book of Matthew. He tells us how to wear the yoke, plant the seeds, and reap the

harvest. We are the “hired hands” of Christ, sent out to till the ground and sow the

seeds. Like any farm, our land is filled with concerns and questions. The land keeps

changing all around us and we aren’t sure how to adapt to the uneven ground. It’s time

to review Jesus’ instruction guide for his worker’s on today’s farm.

 

“Settling In”

June 28, 2020

Matthew 10:40-42

“Those who receive you are also receiving me,

and those who receive me are receiving the one who sent me.”

-Matthew 10:40

Welcome to the farm! When we are welcomed and invited to settle in at the farm, we

are offered a place to rest and a cool cup of water in the name of Jesus. The disciple’s

final instructions before leaving for their mission field are about hospitality. Those who

welcome the workers in the field welcome Jesus. We may only be passing through for a

few days of labor, but we stay where we are welcomed. And because e are welcomed in

Jesus’ name, we respond with the same generous love that we receive.

 

“Sharing the Burden”

July 5, 2020

Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30

“Come to me, all you who are struggling hard and carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest.

Put on my yoke, and learn from me. I’m gentle and humble. And you will find rest for yourselves.

My yoke is easy to bear, and my burden is light.”

-Matthew 11:28-30

The oxen who plow the fields for us wear a yoke to share the heavy work load. They

work together as a team. In this familiar passage, Jesus invites us to join his team. He

points out that the work is easier if we share his yoke. We are invited to learn how to till

the field and plant seed. We are invited to learn form the master and become

apprentices at his side.

 

“Sowing the Seeds”

July 12, 2020

Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23

“A farmer went out to scatter seed. As he was scattering seed, some fell on the path, and birds

came and ate it. Other seed fell on rocky ground where the soil was shallow. They sprouted 

immediately because the soil wasn’t deep. But when the sun came up, it scorched the plants, and

they dried up because they had no roots. Other seed fell among thorny plants. The thorny plants

grew and choked them. Other seed fell on good soil and bore fruit.”

-Matthew 10:3b-8a

The parable of the sower describes the work of scattering seeds. Some land on the path,

some on the rocky soil, some among the weeds, and some in the good soil. As workers

in the field, we sow seeds of grace and love. Sometimes those seeds take root in good

soil and sometimes they don’t. We sow them because we do not know where they will

land. At the same time, we work to prepare the soil to receive them.

 

“Gathering the Wheat”

July 19, 2020

Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

“But the landowner said, ‘No, because if you gather the weeds, you’ll pull up the wheat along with

them. Let both grow side by side until the harvest. And at harvest time I’ll say to the harvesters,

First gather the weeds and tie them together in bundles to be burned. But bring the wheat into my barn.’’

-Matthew 13:29-30

The parable about wheat and weeds draws particular attention to the dichotomies of

earth and heaven, good and evil, us and them. Jesus reminds us that these opposites are

connected together. If we pull the weeds too soon, we will loose the wheat as well. This

seems odd to us. Our natural reaction is to pull the weeds as soon as we see them. As

workers in the field, we learn that the difference between good and bad isn’t always so

clear. Sometimes we have to look a little closer at the gray area in between.

 

“Stories from the Farm”

July 26, 2020

Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52

Then he said to them, “Therefore, every legal expert who has been trained as a disciple for the

kingdom of heaven is like the head of a household

who brings old and new things out of their treasure chest.”

-Matthew 13:52

Jesus tells more stories about the farm in these last verses of Matthew 13. The farm, or

kingdom, is like... well, a lot of things. In fact, the Kingdom is so complicated, we will

never fully understand, but these short parables remind us that the Kingdom isn’t just

for the laborers in the field. In this Kingdom, size doesn’t matter. We can all be

transformed and rise up to become bread for the world. We find joy in the hunt, value

in the treasure, and diversity all around us.

A Word About Children

Children are always welcome in worship at Hawley UMC! We love to worship as an intergenerational congregation, and we encourage children to participate in the worship service. Lap desks with crayons, notebook, pencil, and markers are always available at the back of the sanctuary. In addition, children at the 10am service are usually given a hands on, quiet activity related to the sermon.   

Please return lap desks and supplies to the baskets by the door as you leave so we can prepare them for the next week. Sometimes, young children need to make noise or move beyond the pews. When this happens, we encourage you to take children into the memorial walkway until they are ready to come back to worship.

Children under 5 are also welcome to play during the service in our staffed nursery. Nursery children usually return to their parents in the sanctuary for communion.

Altar Flowers

If you would like to donate alter flowers in honor or remembrance of someone special in your life, please contact the church office at 570-226-3875 or email hawleymc@verizon.net .

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Hawley United Methodist Church

315 Church Street, Hawley, PA 18428

                    570-226-3875

hawleymc@verizon.net

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