Anna's Hosannas!
Free Worship Resources for Use with the Lectionary
To read RCL passages for this Sunday, check out this site from Vanderbilt University.
First Thoughts: I think the parable from Matthew is more complicated than I've sometimes heard it explained.  It seems our default assumption in any parable is that the owner/king/judge represents God, even when that character is arbitrary or cruel.  The king in this scenario presents as petty and capricious.  He is insulted when his first guests don't arrive and so invites strangers off the street - but then he gets angry when they're not prepared to come to the wedding.  Another way of looking at this text is considering that the "king" character is actually represented by the religious establishment.  We, the church, might first desire the "best" people to attend our worship, and fervently seek to court them. When they respond that they're uninterested we decide to make due with the lesser people among us - but only if they comport themselves correctly!  We want them to look like us, act like us, celebrate the way we celebrate.  The man without a garment doesn't respond to his accuser - he is silent.  (Like Jesus is silent before Pilate?)  He is a fly in the ointment of their celebration (as Jesus presented an ongoing challenge to the self-serving, self-righteous party in the temple?)  So he is ousted.  Is this a parable which shows us not that God is only going to allow the most "prepared" among us, but rather what is too often the nature of church - which ousts a God who makes it uncomfortable?

Call to Worship (adapted from Psalm 23):
L: Since God is our shepherd,
P: We have everything we need.
L: God brings us into stillness in green pastures,
P: And fills us with living water beside still streams.
L: God restores our souls,
P: And we are filled.
L: Even the darkest places of lurking death are not fearsome to us,
P: For God walks with us.
L: Goodness and mercy pursue us and catch us up,
ALL: So we dwell in God's bounty forever.

Children's Sermon:"Patience, Patience!"
Stewardship/Communion Meditation: "Rejoice in the Lord always - again I say rejoice!"  But we suffer from illness and debilitation, and our future is uncertain.  "Rejoice in the Lord always - again I say rejoice!" But we are unemployed and bills are coming due; we don't know how we will take care of ourselves or our families.  "Rejoice in the Lord always - again I say rejoice!"  But the world is full of violence and injustice, and we can't see how the kingdom will be born among us.  "Rejoice in the Lord always - and again I say rejoice."  For God is our shepherd, and God is the way.  We can come to this table of provision, even generously offering our gifts, knowing that all will be well, since all is held in God's hands.