The Lord is my shepherd. I lack nothing.

He lets me rest in grassy meadows; he leads me to restful waters; he keeps me alive.

He guides me in proper paths for the sake of his good name.

Psalm 23:1-3

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“When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, ‘Call the workers and give them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and moving on finally to the first.’ When those who were hired at five in the afternoon came, each one received a denarion. Now when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more. But each of them also received a denarion. When they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, ‘These who were hired last worked one hour, and they received the same pay as we did even though we had to work the whole day in the hot sun.’”

Matthew 20:8-12

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Oh, I love this part of this parable! This is one of those places where Jesus flips everything upside down. We assume that if we get chosen first or work the hardest or get a coveted position or get selected as drum major of the middle school marching band (which I lost to my best friend, by the way, not that I hold a grudge…) then we win and we are on top.

In this parable Jesus says instead, “Listen, everyone is equal and everyone will get what they need. You don’t have to try to achieve and get ahead, I’ve got you. You don’t have to feel badly if others made the team and you didn’t, I’ve got you.”

Everyone needed work, everyone needed pay, and in this parable, everyone got both. This gives us a beautiful image of God’s kingdom. It is the place where we are all welcome and we all get what we need. Thanks be to God.

Emily Peck-McClain

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God of us all, help me to understand deep in my soul that I can do nothing to earn your love and approval, it’s just already here for me. Help me to stop comparing myself to others and instead be grateful for what you offer to me and everyone else. Amen.

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Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no danger because you are with me.

Your rod and your staff— they protect me.

You set a table for me right in front of my enemies.

You bathe my head in oil; my cup is so full it spills over!

Yes, goodness and faithful love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the Lord’s house as long as I live.

Psalm 23:4-6

Emily Peck-McClain

Rev. Dr. Emily A. Peck-McClain is Visiting Professor of Christian Formation and Young Adult Ministry at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. She is author of Arm in Arm with Adolescent Girls and a contributing editor to We Pray With Her and Speaking Truth. Emily lives in Maryland with her spouse, three kids, one dog, and infinite chaos, especially during the pandemic.

Amazing Grace

Rodrigo Rodriguez

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