Welcome to Waranga Uniting Churches

THIS SUNDAY 20th SEPTEMBER- LIVE ON ZOOM AND ON FACEBOOK

The Scandal of Grace – Workers in the Vineyard

I’m surprised how popular the Buddhist idea of “karma” is these days. Even quite non-religious people, people who would have very little idea of the teachings of Buddhism will say “That’s karma”  when something bad happens to someone they feel has been living the low life. Karma is the spiritual principle of cause and effect where intent and actions of an individual (cause) influence the future of that individual (effect). Or more simply “what goes around, comes around’. We like karma for other people, but we prefer grace for ourselves.

Throughout the New Testament, one of the most important themes is that of God’s grace. His unmerited love for us. We don’t get what we deserve. It’s a story that is told many times and in many ways throughout the Old and New Testaments.

Mostly we like it. We like grace, especially for ourselves. 

In Matthew 20: 1-16 Jesus tells an elaborate parable about a vineyard owner and his workers at harvest. This is one of Jesus’ more provocative parables. It continues the subversive themes of the gospel:

  • The least is the greatest
  • The seemingly upright are degenerate
  • What seems to be too little is more than enough
  • The outsiders are really the insiders
  • The first shall be last, the last first.

I like this parable not just because I have a vineyard and have at times, when there is a crop to be urgently picked, gone out at midday and knocked on the door of a couple of guys who were sleeping in their van by the side of the road, begging them to “come and work in my vineyard”.

But I love it because it exposes our ambivalent attitude to work. Is it a blessing or a curse?

It’s essentially a similarly constructed story as the “Prodigal Son”, which we like, because even if we have lived fairly conventional lives, most of us can twist ourselves into believing that we are the wayward child welcomed back by a loving father. But in the parable of the labourers in the vineyard most of us identify with the people that get criticised. We are the hard working, early risers, who have been in this for the long haul, we are the ones who deserve more.

I love this parable because it is confronting. It reveals our ambivalent attitudes to work, our harsh attitudes to other people, and alerts us again to the dangers of comparison.

But most of all, I love this story because it is a story about grace. We don’t get what we deserve. We get what we need. We are all 11th hour labourers, blessed abundantly by God’s grace, loved and called to transformation.

Join us this Sunday as we celebrate this great truth of our faith, even if it makes us squirm in our seats a bit.

There are three exciting ways to join us in worship each Sunday.

Through Zoom

Where we all can talk to each other, see each other, worship together, pray for each other, and have Church as we normally do but do it all via interactive video conferencing. In the weeks to come we may work out a way to have communion together!

The live services will start at 9.30am with the “room” open for you to log-in to from 9.00am. Log-in, chat to others, be the church!

Click on the button below to join the Waranga Cluster Zoom Church Service

Join Zoom Church Service

Sunday at 9:00 am for 9:30 start

Through Live streaming

Watch the service here on YouTube.

Watch the recorded service later

Facebook records the service and it will be available to watch later or share with others in your family and friendship circle. The recording of the service can be found on this website

Watch recorded services
The live services will start at 9.30am with the “room” open for you to log in to from 9.00am. Log in, chat to others, be the church!

Our church needs your support.

Please consider donating your offering online via the button below
or by direct bank transfer:

Account name:
Waranga Uniting Churches.

Bendigo Bank: 
BSB 633-000   
Account No:162 446 371.


Rather stay anonymous?

We understand that you may prefer to remain anonymous.  It may have been a while since you went to church, maybe you’ve never been to church and are just curious. We understand that you don’t want to be hassled just because you were curious.

If you want to remain anonymous there are four ways you can do it.

  • Choose the “Join without video” option. You will be able to see, hear (and talk if you want to)
  • Your name also appears in the bottom left of their picture in Zoom. This name will be the one you entered at sign-up. At any time in the meeting you can right-mouse click on your name and change or delete it.
  • You can choose to attend via the Livestream option.
  • You can watch the recorded service later on the website

About us

The Waranga Uniting Churches comprise congregations from the towns of Colbinabbin, Murchison, Rushworth, and Tatura.
You are welcome to join us at any of our worship services or activities.

Many faces… Many places… Many forms
Our congregations throughout the district are caring communities to which all people can belong.
Some of our congregations may be a tiny community of a dozen people, but they are warm vibrant and alive.
They have many faces. There are older people and young, families and single people, people of one culture or many.

While our congregations can be different, each aims to embrace all people… to unite them with each other and with God. This is expressed in part by our having an open table for Holy Communion, to which all baptised people are invited, welcoming children for baptism and being willing to marry those who are divorced.

We are by no means perfect, but we know that God loves us as we are and as we grow. Our congregations are communities in which people seek to follow Jesus, learn about God, share their faith, care for each other, serve the local community, and seek to live faithfully and with real joy. This is the kind of engaging church to which we belong.

Quixote Thinking Blog

Quixote Thinking “sees things different” I live my life by it 

An eye for an eye and everyone is blind

The church bombings on Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka were reportedly in retaliation for the Mosque shooting in New Zealand last month. Where does it end? You disrespect me and I will disrespect you. You beat up one of my tribe, I attack three of yours. You kill one of...

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Picking Winners

For the first time in many years, I am in a footy tipping competition. My grandson decided it would be a good family bonding activity. When I ran an office we had a competition among the staff and it was good fun and strengthen relationships. These days Smart Phones...

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A murder in my heart

From early morning and periodically throughout the day a murder of crows descend loud and large into the vineyard. Their boisterous cawing can be heard from a few hundred metres away. People often tell me that “I’m living the dream”, but at the moment it’s more like...

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Sunny Side Up

At the Australia Day celebration I attended the SES was cooking breakfast and the BBQ plate was filled from edge to edge with dozens of eggs – all sunny side up. These were for the people who had come out early to mark the day and recognise those in their community...

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Saving the best till last

It’s a story that has become part of the collective consciousness, even for those who have never attended church and it has placed a couple of phrases into the language which are still very widely used. Whenever we say someone “has saved the best till last” or comment...

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A sure foundation

I’ve often used phrases like “You’ve got to build from a firm base” or “You need firm foundations”, but when I’ve used such phrases they have been as metaphors. Usually I’ve been referring to the need for a good education for a successful career, or a sound business...

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Quixote Thinking

Don Quixote is a character in a novel by Miguel de Cervantes, first published in 1605. In the “real world” of La Mancha, Spain, Quixote is known as Alonso Quijano, a thin country gentleman, familiar to all as kind and friendly. He lives with his daughter and two servants. As a gentleman, he spends time studying medieval romance stories, full of knights, chivalry, castles, and jousts. This all goes to his head to the point where he goes crazy and actually starts outfitting himself as a knight. He believes that he has been called by voices to change the world and right all wrongs.

At this point in the story, art imitates life and life imitates art as the innkeeper doubles as a duke of a castle who dubs Don Quixote officially as “knight,” and a peasant girl at the inn becomes the princess and lady love for our knight errant. Don Quixote then goes out to fight perceived foes, both real and imagined in the name of his ladylove who stands for purity and perfection. Don Quixote has selective vision of the real world. Windmills are giant brutes, sheep are attacking armies, and slaves are oppressed gentlemen. Quixote is an idealist seeing things through rose-colored glasses at times. He fights impossible symbolic battles while the rest of the world says it can’t be done and mocks him for trying. It is ironic that a crazy man is showing humanity the “right way” to live. This character has survived the centuries demonstrating his universal appeal to all. Don Quixote is something of a Jesus figure, who saw meaning and purpose beyond the surface but endured mockery and humiliation from the crowd. This “fight for the right without question”, having moments of clarity in a sea of confusion and a belief in the transformative power of a crazy vision is what the essence of Quixote Thinking.