Friday, October 6, 2017

Reflections - Trouble in the Vineyards

It's been a rough week. So much yuck in the world. Earlier in the week I was finding it hard to find hope. The last thing I wanted to do was try and digest this week's scripture passage from Matthew's Gospel. In this passage Jesus uses another parable to teach  - and this time it's a nasty one.

Here's the story:  Jesus is talking to the Pharisees, a group of people who didn’t like what Jesus was teaching and thought he was sketchy.  So in typical fashion, Jesus tells a story to get his message out there. And it's a killer (pun intended). The story was about a man with a vineyard who planted grapes. He hired workers to care for land while he was away. When the grapes were ripe, the man sent his servants one by one to go get some of the grapes. But each time the workers watching the vineyard killed servants. Then, the man even tried sending his own son to get some grapes, but they killed him, too.  

Read Matthew 21: 33-36

It's a horrible story. A horrible story to read when there is so much horrible going on in the word.  But remember that Jesus was telling this story to the Pharisees—and Jesus was talking about them.  Every time God sent someone to help them learn about love they were just... well, knuckleheads.  Jesus had come to teach them about God's love, but they weren't even listening.  

But here's where I am finding some hope - Jesus' message here is a reminder that God is trusting us to take care of the things.  For the hired workers, it was the vineyard (and we see how well that worked out). For us it's God's Kingdom here on earth.  Jesus is insisting that we shouldn't kill each other and hoard our grapes.  Instead, God is looking for us receive amazing love, share it, take care of the kingdom, and each other. So, I guess in the wake of all the tragedy in the world we can find hope in being the helpers and caring for those who are in danger of being murdered in the vineyards.  It is through taking care of the vineyards together that we will experience God's Kingdom on earth.  I do have hope that somehow God's grace and mercy will comfort us through the horrible times. 

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