Monday, June 15, 2009
"The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone." Luke 20:17
When we traveled to England last month, I was struck time and time again how history shows that the ones who are rejected,slaughtered even, in their own time become crucial to both history and present times. Walking through Canterbury Cathedral we happened upon a guide who told us many stories. He was and expert on many things and reveled in telling stories of Beckett. Beckett was killed in the Cathedral (and they point to the spot on a regular basis)by agents of the king. Although Beckett and the King had been very close, because Beckett would not carry out the leadership of the church by politics, popularity and corruption,he paid the ultimate price. He became revered and miracles quickly became attributed to him. His sainthood came quickly and people tell his story, much more than they do King Henry's story. Craving fame, wealth and power are common stories. Being faithful in the face of crushing, selfish, and unjust authority - well, that's a story for the ages.
Jesus is being put to the test by the religious leaders of the time. He is being grilled about authority and responds with the parable of the tenants - the greedy people who tend the vineyard in the absence of the owner and who ultimately kill the owners son. All of us are tenants in this fragile earth, caretakers for God's tender creation and yet we often exploit that which is not ours and abuse those who would be unpopular by telling us we aren't in charge - God is. The religious leadership of his day bristle at what they are hearing. It sounds like Jesus is condemning them. Their own guilt and their awareness of their own selfishness and greed condemns them. History condemns them and will hold us all accountable for our selfishness and need for power.
Today, I want to live as a faithful steward, remembering that everything and everyone I encounter today is a gift from God. Not mine to own, control or abuse. I want to walk in faith, trusting God to honor and uphold the vineyard, knowing my place as a field worker. This glorious gift we have been given, this fragile and abundant garden and the love that grows in our midst, is a great treasure to be held lightly since the Creation belongs to the Creator. May we walk gently today, thanking God for the love and splendor we have been blessed to share in.