Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Vineyard

And he began to speak to them in parables. “A man planted a vineyard and put a fence around it and dug a pit for the winepress and built a tower, and leased it to tenants and went into another country. When the season came, he sent a servant to the tenants to get from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. And they took him and beat him and sent him away empty-handed. Mark 12:1-3

I am neither a skilled gardener nor do I know much about vineyards and the care they take. I do know that good gardens and great vineyards take tender loving care, cooperative weather and rich soil. I know that soil and sunlight can drastically change the taste of wine as well as the quality of the fruit yield. There are so many factors that go into a good garden and a thriving vineyard. Too often, only the one who plants and tends the soil, day in and day out, knows how best to care for the growing plants. And so we have a story of a man who left his precious vineyards in the hands of tenants. I know that it was a common behavior in former times, and yet, it seems as if the man should have known it would turn out bad. A bad set up with an even worse ending.

We often put ourselves into complex situations, hoping for the best. And often, we humans find ourselves in a complex mess, on our knees, crying for a solution. Some of us decide to withdraw from any human interaction and organize our world so we can't be hurt by the changes of attitude, relations and communities. And yet, if we are honest, here in the dead middle of Holy Week, sometimes the most messy, ugly and dangerous moments in our lives can bring us to a new appreciation of God's love for us and the love and abundance that surrounds us. Holy Week is us facing the worst in our human condition, the worst in ourselves and the very worst in our relationships. Betrayal, despair and disillusionment among them. Holy Week is an honest look at our horrible failings, and the mess we have intentionally created.

Today, I want to find a way to look with honesty about my life and the messes that I have created. And I want to ask God at every moment to help me heal and reconcile what I can. And then, I expect to throw myself on the mercy of a Savior who was willing to bear the worst of humanity, our ugliest selves, on the cross so that we might be reborn for new life.

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