Dear St. Augustine's 'ohana,
"But that's not fair!" This might be your reaction to this week's gospel story about workers who labored in the hot sun for 12 hours only to discover that they have been paid the same amount of money as those who worked just an hour. Shouldn't we expect to be paid according to the amount we work? Isn't that fair?
Money seems to bring out the best and the worst in people. Our "fairness meter" seems to become hypersensitive when money is involved. This is partly due to the way our society works. We live in an economic system built on transactions: exchanges of labor for money. From a very early age, we learn to expect payment for our efforts.
Jesus' parable shows what happens when employers step outside this economic system. The landowner generously chooses to give equal pay to all—disregarding the punch clock and ignoring the workers' expectations. Unmet expectations make employees angry. After comparing payment versus work, they shout, "I didn't get what I deserve!"
It's true we should attend to justice in our economic system. But the story also reveals how our human systems differ from God's way of love. In God's realm, there is no scarcity—only abundance.
This parable helps us see that God's realm is not an economy; God's realm is an ecology. We are invited to expand our view beyond ideas of "fair transaction" to live into "right relationship" with ourselves, one another, all creation, and the Divine.
Join us on Sunday to discuss the ecology of God's realm. Could a shift from transaction to relationship begin to heal our world? How can we undo thousands of years of colonialism to recover an healthy ecology of communities and creation?
P.S., Tomorrow is our Annual Bazaar! This is our major fundraising effort, which allows the church to offer Sunday services, host music concerts and other community events, and offer activities for keiki throughout the year. The Bazaar also provides funds to maintain our beautiful and historic church, which has been a North Kohala landmark since it was built in 1884.
Please ask your friends and neighbors to come shop! If you live off-island, please consider making a special "Annual Bazaar" donation or watch our Facebook page for silent auction items to bid on.
A reminder: there will be another Time & Talents drawing this Sunday September 24 during the 9:00 am service. While you're at the Bazaar, submit your paper copies to admin office or fill out the online form here.
We are truly blessed with abundance in this community!