Welcome to Safe Harbor Presbyterian Church
Where the love of Christ builds a harbor of acceptance, inspiration,
Fellowship, service and joy.
You enrich our worship with your presence.
"When we say welcome we mean it!"
It is not possible to pass the collection plate at our live home church.
Safe Harbor Presbyterian Church
c/o Monty Rice
1298 Warren Rd.
Cambria, CA 93428
If this is your first time here, WELCOME.
Safe Harbor Presbyterian Church-PCUSA
2700 Eton Rd. • Cambria, CA 93428
Call or text 805.395.1521
Prelude Deborah Farrand
At the tolling of the bell, please quietly prepare your heart for worship.
Meditation Music Deborah Farrand
Welcome and Announcements
† Call to Worship
Leader: We gather now to worship.
People: We are here to worship the Lord.
Leader: We come with reverence.
People: We come with reverence for the Lord and with loving hearts.
Leader: We come to seek.
People: We come to seek the will of God.
Leader: We come to pause.
People: We come to pause and be filled with the word and guided by the Spirit.
Unison: We are blessed to come before Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
† The Prayer of Adoration (In unison, from Psalm 78)
We hear the teaching of our ancestors; we learn with parable and by things we are told. God did miracles. He divided the sea and made water stand like a wall. He guided with a cloud by day and with fire by night. He split the rocks in the wilderness and gave them water. We will not hide these; we will tell the next generation. The Lord is praiseworthy for his power and the wonders he has done. We praise the Lord. Amen.
†Hymn of Adoration # 127 Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (Jesus Light of the World)
Prayer of Confession (In unison)
From the beginning you have spoken to our hearts, you have loved us, you offer us salvation, you have shown us the way. You tell us to believe, to have faith, to love others, to serve those in need, to forgive those who mock us. We try, we want to be your emissary, but we let ourselves get in the way and we fall short. Please hear our confessions... (In unison) Help us to live so as to strengthen the body of Christ and to serve your Kingdom. Amen.
Assurance of Pardon New Creations in Christ
†The Sharing of the Peace
Hymn of Preparation #452 Open the Eyes of My Heart
Leader: Listen for the Word of God.
People: Our ears are open and our hearts are ready to receive.
Scripture: Matthew 21: 23-32
Leader: The Word of the Lord.
People: Thanks be to God.
Sermon: “You Just Don’t Get It.” Love, Jesus Rev. Eugenia Gamble
Hymn of Response # 698 Take, O Take Me as I Am (sung several times)
Call to Prayer: Hymn #466 Come and Fill Our Hearts with Your Peace
Prayers of the People
The Lord’s Prayer
Response to Prayer Hymn #710 We Are an Offering
Prayer of Dedication
† Hymn of Parting # 726 Will You Come and Follow Me
† Charge and Benediction
CURRENT PRAYER LIST
Members of our community that are lonely, hungry and sick.
If you would like to support the work of Safe Harbor Church financially:
Tax deductible checks may be made to Safe Harbor Presbyterian Church.
During our period of isolation, please mail checks to:
Monty Rice 1298 Warren Road Cambria CA 93428
WHEN WE SAY “ WELCOME! ”, WE MEAN IT!
The Rev. Eugenia A. Gamble
Tom and Lana Cochrun
Monty and Julia Rice
The Religious Authorities Test Jesus....Matthew 21:23-32.....9/27/20
21:23When he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him as he was teaching, and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” 24Jesus said to them, “I will also ask you one question; if you tell me the answer, then I will also tell you by what authority I do these things. 25Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?” And they argued with one another, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ 26But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ we are afraid of the crowd; for all regard John as a prophet.” 27So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things. 28“What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ 29He answered, ‘I will not’; but later he changed his mind and went. 30The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, ‘I go, sir’; but he did not go. 31Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him.
Background to the text. Matthew’s Gospel is written with the tension between
Jesus and the power structures of his day as the subtext of every story. When we
pick up the text today, Jesus’ Galilean ministry is at a low point. Those within the
Jewish establishment are resistant to his teaching. It is too radical. They cannot
hear it and they cannot receive him. In today’s passage the authorities are mad as
hops. Just the day before Jesus had ridden into Jerusalem on a donkey as the people
shouted Hosanna and waved branches. He had gone directly to the Temple and
proceeded to drive out the vendors with a whip and turn over the tables of the
people who changed money for people to buy the things needed for sacrifice. In
other words, he disrupted everything and called the most respected people in the
community a bunch of robbers. Meanwhile the poor, the blind and the lame got
exactly what he was doing and began to praise him. He then walks out and heads to
home base in Bethany for the night. The next day he heads back to the temple,
cursing a barren fig tree on his way. Naturally the authorities are enraged and have
come up with a trick question to catch him and discredit him. That is where we pick
up the story today.
What is at stake in the chief priests and elders question? They are trying to trap
Jesus into saying something blasphemous (totally irreverent toward God) so that he
can be punished and they can be rid of him. This is not a sincere question. They are
out to get him. Jesus understands this immediately and knows that there is no
answer to the question that will not get him discredited, at best. So he answers the
question with a question of his own that traps them. This kind of back and forth
signaled a traditional rabbinic debate. This was not the kind of argument one wanted to get into with Jesus. This incident sets up Jesus’ unflinching denunciation of the religious elite as hypocrites in chapter 23. Be mindful that Jesus says nothing here that is outside the mainstream of accepted Jewish theology. He simply catches them in their own spiritual blindness.
Vs. 23 – entered the temple courts – Jesus is entering the temple for the last time.
After this encounter the die is cast for crucifixion.
Chief priest and the elders – these are the major players in Jesus’ death.
The ‘elders of the people’ is a general category for the most influential people in the
temple hierarchy. These were the decision makers.
Authority - they are expecting Jesus to list a particular teacher or rabbi
whose authority he claims as a disciple or teacher. The Greek word means ‘power’.
Jesus’ authority or power is a fundamental issue in Matthew.
These things – refers to the disruption of temple affairs the day before
Vs. 24 – signals the beginning of a rabbinical debate. His counter question unmasks
the insincerity of their question. They hesitate to answer in the most calculated way
because if they said John’s ministry came from God they would have to explain why
they rejected him. If they said his work was not authentic prophecy they would
have the people to deal with.
Vs. 27 – we don’t know – They choose to plead ignorance rather than speak their
conviction and risk the wrath of the people. Jesus then refuses to answer their
question since they refused to answer his.
Vs. 28 – 30 -this parable only appears in Matthew. In the ancient manuscripts there
are lots of different versions of the story. The bottom line in each, however, is the
same. What you do means more than what you say.
What do you think – by starting the parable this way, Jesus is refusing to let
their strategic silence stand. They must give an answer.
Vs. 31 – here Jesus goes into full on attack mode. He basically says to them that the
tax collectors and prostitutes, the lowest on their totem poles, have a better grip on
the ways of God than they do. This is a theme we see throughout the Gospel. Those
on the fringes of society have a better understanding of what Jesus is saying than do
those who are lost in their own traditions and the need to protect their power
Questions for Personal Reflection
1. Have you ever found yourself saying one thing and doing another? In what
circumstances are you most likely to do this? To please another? To avoid conflict?
To make yourself look good?
2. “I don’t know” can be a legitimate religious response to many things. Here,
however, the leaders plead ignorance because they don’t want to face the
consequences of what they really believe. Have you ever found yourself in similar
situations? What would have made it easier for you to actually take a stand?
3. Why do you think Jesus did what he did in the temple? What would be hardest
for you to reevaluate about your faith if called upon by Jesus to do so?