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Posts Tagged ‘vineyard’


Saturday, October 10, 2020

Sauvignon_blanc_vlasotince_vineyards[1]Matthew 21:33-46

When Vintage Time Arrives

In this parable we see wicked people kill the owner’s son so that they can take over the land.  We humans tend to interpret our own actions in the best light in order that they suit our own ends.  We explain our lack of unity by calling up examples that support our own version of a story. By our lack of generosity and honesty, we demonstrate our belief that God is not good enough or big enough to help all of us.  Our own stinginess and need to control demonstrate a belief that God is limited in some way.  When we create division, confusion and disunity we forget that God brings order out of chaos and good out of harm.  And we also forget that Jesus calls each of us to do the same. Jesus shows us how to heal with a touch rather than ostracize with a look, yet we reject Jesus as the cornerstone when we refuse to see God’s presence in the least of us.

In this story the wicked men answer their own question in verse 41: [The landowner] will put those wretched men to death and lease his vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the proper time.  There is no doubt about the message here: Fruit at the proper time – this is what we called to bear.

God wishes nothing more than for all of us go to him in unity. So let us ask for forgiveness and forgive.  Let us make reparations and accept a reparation being made.  Let us heal and be healed.  Let us pray our enemies into goodness so that all of us might bear fruit.

God wants to include all of us in the work of the vintage time.  God calls each of us to our seat at the great feast.  God calls the slow as well as the swift, the unfaithful as well as the faithful, the lame as well as the walking.  God makes a Universal Call . . . What will be our response?

Dearest God, we know that you will continue to beckon, continue to wait, continue to love, and continue to unfold your plan.  We know that you ask each of us to bear fruit in your time rather than our own.  Send us your wisdom, perseverance and generosity.  Send us your love and strength.  Speak clearly to us so that we might more readily hear your words as the landowner who sends his messengers to us.  Grant that we come forward willingly with the fruit of your harvest.  Grant that we find the courage to help even our enemies so that they might rise and go to you.  And grant that we be alert and ready when the vintage time arrives.  Amen.


To reflect more on The Wedding Feast and The Wedding Garment, enter these phrases into the blog search bar and explore. 

Adapted from a reflection written on September 13, 2007.

Image from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loire_Valley_(wine)

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1 Kings 21: Naboth’s Vineyard

Thursday, September 19, 2019

This is a powerful story about how King Ahab and his wife Jezebel collude with scoundrels to trump up charges against the good man Naboth in order to take a vineyard which they coveted.  It is dreadful in its deep deception; it is horrendous in its horrible depiction of the violent frenzy of a plotting, conniving perseverance of evil.  It is human interaction in its basest form.

The prophet Elijah responds to God’s call but fears for his life when Ahab and Jezebel conduct a campaign with the goal of annihilating all prophets who speak with God’s voice; and in Chapter 19 Elijah even tries to run from the whispering voice of Yahweh.  In Chapter 20 we see how Yahweh brings success to the Israelites and favors them in battle.  Then Ahab wants something which Naboth has, a lovely beautiful vineyard.  Jezebel and Ahab conspire to attain it . . . so the innocent Naboth must die.

Yahweh steps in and we watch as he vindicates the faithful. We also watch as he delivers punishing blows to the wicked ones.  Ahab repents, and Yahweh softens the sentence he is about to deliver.  Jezebel does not . . . and if we read a bit further we discover Jezebel’s evil end.

Dear God, protect me from family and friends who would lead me to destruction as Jezebel did.  Remind me that repentance heals the mind and soul.  Bring me contentment rather than envy, humility rather than pride, love rather than hatred, restoration rather than destruction, and reaping of blessings rather than an arid life of self-gratification.  Surround me with holy people, God-fearing people, people who do not hide the light of the lampstand, people who honor, as Naboth did, their ancestral heritage.

Keep us from pride which inverts to shame.  Keep us from anger which turns inward to become melancholy.  Keep us from deception which leads to delusion.  Keep us from coveting Naboth’s Vineyard. 

Bring us peace, bring us joy, bring us hope, bring us your Spirit.  Amen.


First written on September 7, 2007 , re-writtten and posted today as a Favorite.

Image from: http://thedailychapter.wordpress.com/2010/03/18/1-kings-21-%E2%80%9Cnaboths-vineyard%E2%80%9D/

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Isaiah 18:4-6: Silent as Dew

Monday, June 19, 2017

The prophet Isaiah relays to us words from the creator, describing his presence as silent as the dew during harvest. A sustaining force that does not boast or bluster, but faithfully nourishes in the quiet morning hours.

For here’s what God told me:

“I’m not going to say anything,
    but simply look on from where I live,
Quiet as warmth that comes from the sun,
    silent as dew during harvest.”

And then, just before harvest, after the blossom
    has turned into a maturing grape,
He’ll step in and prune back the new shoots,
    ruthlessly hack off all the growing branches.
He’ll leave them piled on the ground
    for birds and animals to feed on—
Fodder for the summering birds,
    fodder for the wintering animals”.

 The prophet Hosea reminds us that God is faithful not as the brilliant sun, but with the softness of the dewfall.

I will be like the dew for Israel. (Hosea 14:6)

The prophet Zechariah tells us that heaven’s peace arrives each morning not with a rush of wind, but with the quietness of the dewfall.

For there will be a sowing of peace: the vine will yield its fruit, the land will yield its crops, and the heavens will yield their dew. I will give all these things to the remnant of this people to possess. (Zechariah 8:12)

These prophets remind us that God’s persistent and nourishing presence is not always loud and overpowering . . . but is often quiet and perhaps even silent as is the morning dew.

When we compare more translations of these verses by using the scripture links and the drop-down menus, we find that God’s presence is penetrating, like the dewfall.

 

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Matthew 21:33-46: The Stumbling Stone

Friday, February 26, 2016stumbling blocks

In this second of two parables using the vineyard as metaphor, Jesus addresses Temple leaders who attack him with a story, and then follows it with several pronouncements. He cites Psalm 118:22: The stone the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone; and then he acknowledges that many will indeed reject him. He refers to Isaiah 8:14-15: He shall be a snare, a stone for injury, a rock for stumbling to both the houses of Israel, a trap and a snare to those who dwell in Jerusalem; and many among them shall stumble; fallen and broken; snared and captured.

Jesus cautions religious leaders that apathy toward him is like standing in the way of a rock fall; he warns that opposition to him only leads to destruction. Jesus identifies himself as a stumbling stone that serves to bring down those who oppose him and at the same time serves to establish a foundation for our lives.

Rejection of Jesus is fatal. Indifference is deadly. So we welcome Jesus as a stumbling stone, a rock of salvation, a refuge of strength. This is the Good News we share with others today.

We remember our Lenten practice. Rather than thinking: “Let us make three tents to contain the joy of God’s wisdom,” let us think instead, “Let us share the joy of God’s great gift of love”.

Some ancient manuscripts contain verse 44 while others lack it. For commentary on this verse and parable, visit: http://biblehub.com/commentaries/matthew/21-44.htm

Tomorrow, squandering our inheritance.

 

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The Fourth Sunday of Lent, March 30, 2014

good and faithful servantAmos 7-9

A Prayer for Faithful Servants

The prophet Amos has accompanied us on our Lenten journey over these past several weeks to bring us the Words of God, to force us to look at the Woes of the world, and to show us stark warnings through his Visions for the future.

Amos is often described as the angry prophet with no tolerance for the corrupt rich who subjugate the poor.  This will also be our impression of him if we do not linger with the last images of his prophecy.  We will miss the gift Amos brings to us if we do not stay for a while with these ending verses in which we see the beauty of Amos unfold, for it is in these final chapters that we experience his Messianic perspective and promise. It is here in the last pages of Amos’ prophecy that we understand the stories in the New Testament, and fully come to terms with what it means to be faithful servants of God.

And so we pray.

When we feel unimportant and are dwarfed by the colossal forces around us, we petition God as we say with Amos: How can we stand? We are so small!

And God replies: What do you see?

We remember the many times God has rescued us from sure destruction, and we reply: Evil will not reach or overtake us.

And God replies: I will raise you up!

We recall the occasions when only God was able to pull us together after we have been so battered that we can not imagine how we will ever be whole again, and together we ask: Will you wall up our breaches?

And God replies: I will raise your ruins!

We feel frustration and fear when we see all the good that we have built begin to crumble, and so together we ask: Will you rebuild us as in days of old?

And God replies: I will bring about your restoration!

We remember all the work we have done to build your Kingdom.  We look into the future and fear for the work yet to be completed, and so together we ask: Who will rebuild and inhabit our ruined cities?  Who will plant vineyards and drink the wine?  Who will set out gardens and eat the fruits?

And God replies: I will plant you upon your own ground; never again shall you be plucked from the land I have given you.  This is my promise.  I have spoken.  I am the Lord, your God.

And we reply: We who struggle to be your faithful servants thank you. We who strive to follow in the steps of Jesus rely on you alone.  We who long to always live in the Spirit look to you for guidance as we say, Amen!

And God replies: Well done, my good and faithful servant.  (Matthew 25:21)

To purchase the plaque above, click on the image.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

vineyardAmos 9:12-15

A Prayer for Perspective

All the nations shall bear my name . . .

So let me begin to praise God now . . .

I, the Lord, will do this . . .

For all that God has done for me . . .

The ploughman shall overtake the reaper . . .

Just as the seasons turn so does God turn to us, all of us the children of God . . .

I will bring about the restoration of my people . . .

Once we understand the importance of humility . . .

They shall rebuild and inhabit their ruined cities . . .

Once we understand the depth of God’s wisdom . . .

They shall plant vineyards and drink the wine . . .

Once we understand the breadth of God’s reach . . .

057peachesThey shall set out gardens and eat the fruits . . .

Once we understand the height of God’s hope . . .

I will plant them upon their own ground . . .

Once we act in accordance with God’s plan . . .

Never again shall they be plucked . . .

Once we love as God loves . . .

Say I, the Lord, your God . . .

Say I, this child of God . . .

Amen.

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