Ardoch Parish Church

Sunday 20th September 2020

Download a pdf copy of the Order of service:
Order of Service 20th September 2020

Welcome to our Service of Worship and First Hymn

Hymn: “As the deer pants for the water”

As The Deer Pants For The Water, as performed by the wonderful Côr Ysgol y Strade at the Songs of Praise Senior School Choir of the Year Competition 2012.   Downloaded with the choir’s permission

As the deer pants for the water
So my soul longs after you
You alone are my hearts desire
And I long to worship you

Ch: you alone are my strength, my shield
To you alone may my spirit yield
You alone are my hearts desire
And I long to worship you

I want you more than gold or silver
Only you can satisfy
You alone are the real joy giver
And the apple of my eye

You are my friend and you are my brother
Even though you are king
I love you more than any other
So much more than anything.

Mairi leads us in prayer

Let us pray


Generous God,

thank you for loving us

and for eternally being willing to forgive us

and let us rebuild a relationship with you.

Lord Jesus, you showed us

by your life how we can let go of hate

and choose to love

and reconcile with our enemies.

As we look at our broken world

we see so many people

who have inherited

centuries of hate and violence

and can see no way out

except through a continuation of

hate and violence.

We thank you for the people

engaging in the hard work

of peace and reconciliation

a work that needs everyone

to sit at the table and be open to each other.

We pray for the people

whose lives have been destroyed

by hate and violence

who continue to live in fear and anxiety

and see no way to peace and safety.

We thank you for the people

using their gifts to enable people

to find safe places to live

and work to feed their families.

We pray for the people

whose lives have been impacted

in so many different ways

by the pandemic of Covid-19;

for the radical changes

that have forced them to adapt and cope

with this new way of living.

We thank you for the people who have led

and advised us through these strange days,

for all who have worked hard to help us

find a way forward and who have put aside

any differences they may have had

and chosen to work together with others

who can bring the changes we need.

Lord, may we be willing to make the changes we need

and to let go of our fears and mistrust of others,

so that together we can all move forward

and find a way of peace and reconciliation

that works for everyone,

whoever and wherever they are.

Amen.  (Spill the Beans)

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever.



Our reader this morning is Bob Aitken.  He is reading from Matthew 20: Verse 1-16

 Bob introduces the Hymn “Will your anchor hold?”

We have been carefully taught and we teach our children from a very early age that fairness matters. How often have we observed a group of children playing and it’s not long before you hear someone say, “That’s not fair”

It’s not just children. Adults want fairness too, but do we have a different understanding of what fairness is and might look like than God does. If we are using fairness to measure how we should act and how we might judge and treat others then we may very well be falling way below what God expects from us. God on the other hand uses love, acceptance, mercy, forgiveness, or generosity as the measure by which we should act and judge another person or life circumstances.

We like fairness though don’t we, because it give us some assurance of order, predictability, control, and hierarchy; even if it is a false assurance. We could all tell our own story of the workers in the vineyard because a lot of us have possibly been there and felt that unfairness because we think that fairness is based on what we deserve, how hard we work, what we achieve and the way we behave. We live in and promote a wage based society in which you earn what you get, fair or not.

Is it fair that the footballer is paid more than the neurosurgeon, is it fair that someone loses their job whilst someone else is furloughed, what was fair about the conditions Mother Teresa worked under.

What happens then when divine goodness trumps human fairness?

Well….. You get today’s parable.

Today’s parable spells it out very clearly wages and grace stand in opposition to each other. They are two opposing world views.

Now that we bring Grace into the picture everything is turned onto its head

Grace is exciting, it’s dangerous. It throws business as usual into the air.

“So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

The world on the other hand says the last are last and the first are first because they deserve it. It’s what is fair. But this kind of fairness does not have priority in the kingdom of heaven where grace is the rule not the exception.

Grace looks beyond our productivity, our appearance, our dress, our race or ethnicity, our accomplishments, our failures.

Grace reveals the goodness of God. Wages reveal human effort.

Grace seeks unity and inclusion.

Wages make distinctions and separate.

Grace just happens.

Wages are based on merit.

The only precondition of grace is that we show up and open ourselves to receive what God is giving. When we do, we begin to see our lives, the world, our neighbour differently.

The tragedy of a wage based life is that it blinds us to the presence of grace, the life of God, in our own life. It can make us resentful of grace, goodness, and beauty in the life of another. It separates and isolates us from others. Eventually we set up standards and expectations not only for ourselves and others but for God.

Why settle for the usual daily wage when God wants to give you “whatever is right” for your life, your needs, your salvation? “Whatever is right” will always be more than fair, more than we could ask or imagine. Yet we sometimes trust a wage based life more than we trust grace. In so doing we deny ourselves and others the life God wants to give. So what we need to think about is how might we begin to move from a wage based life to the vineyard of grace?

I offer you just a handful of simple suggestions to ponder on during next week.

If you stop comparing yourself and your life to others you will create room for grace to emerge.

Start really trusting that in God’s world there is enough for everyone.

Let go of any expectations that you may have based on what you think you or others deserve.

Give back to God the freedom to pay whatever is right knowing and accepting that God’s ways are not your ways.

Simply make no judgments of yourself or others.

That is the way of grace,

That is the way of God.


Our closing hymn is : Give thanks with a grateful heart

Don Moen, Integrity’s Hosanna! Music
Henry Smith
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