Friday, September 30, 2011

Pentecost 16a - conclusion

I like a good wine, especially a big Cab. Good wine does not happen accidently. It’s a marriage of natural conditions and the capacity to craft something from what nature provides. A vine blessed by a balance of sun and soil and rain but without time and the talent of the vintner would just be grape juice. The lessons for Pentecost 16a imagine Israel as a pleasant planting that despite the best efforts of the vintner only produced sour grapes. Isaiah blames the vine asking what more could have been done to produce good grapes. The psalmist is not so sure asking what the vineyard did to deserve destruction. Jesus, the prophetic stone rejected, predicts the keys to the vineyard changing hands, although the new tenants are hardly more trustworthy and one wonders if the parable might not need a retelling. We often find ourselves in a dry vineyard brought about by decisions made or delayed. But just as often we wonder what went wrong and call God to explain. And there are times when hearing the truth about ourselves we understand the consequence of serving ourselves instead of the owner of the vineyard. The text that is good news for us is that despite our failings right relationship with God comes by faith which will produce fruit whenever like the apostle Paul we press on to take hold of the God who has already taken hold of us.   

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