A View From The Kingdom Vineyard

A reading for Tuesday, December 2, 2014: Luke 20:9-18.

In the Bible, the image of a vineyard is often used to depict the blessings of the Kingdom of God. The prophet Micah predicted the coming of the Kingdom, when "They shall all sit under their own vines and under their own fig trees, and no one shall make them afraid." (Micah 4:4) Zechariah too spoke of the day, "On that day, says the Lord of hosts, you shall invite each other to come under your vine and fig tree.” (Zechariah 3:10)

Those listening to Jesus tell the parable of the vineyard then would know immediately what Jesus is referring to. This is not some random image. The vineyard represents God's Kingdom on earth. We might even read the first line that way... "God created the Kingdom, and gave it to us to tend and to care for..." The Kingdom of God does not belong to us. We merely are the tenants, working to share it's fruits with the world.

What if we then, like the tenants in the parable, decided not to share the fruits of the Kingdom? What if we decided to try and take ownership of it, to steal it from God? What if we resorted to violence and treachery? What if we killed for it? What would we expect God to do?

The truth is we did just that. Humanity tries over and over again to take what does not belong to us. We experience the Kingdom of God in glimpses and we try and keep it for our people. We want the vineyard all to ourselves. We break ourselves and our world in such ways like falling upon a stone or being crushed by one. We need not look far for evidence that this parable still happens.

Thanks be to God for not condemning us. We are grateful that in Jesus the Kingdom is still available for all. The Kingdom is not secure because of us, but because the God who sent his Son even to death, continues to bless us with a vineyard. We still get to live in the vineyard in spite of ourselves.

Today is a new day. It's a day to be transformed. As we look out from beneath the vine and the branch that Jesus has provided for each of us, let us share the fruits from our vineyard today... so that others might know how good and loving our God really is.


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