Tuesday, November 30, 2010
And he began to tell the people this parable: “A man planted a vineyard and let it out to tenants and went into another country for a long while. When the time came, he sent a servant to the tenants, so that they would give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed. And he sent another servant. But they also beat and treated him shamefully, and sent him away empty-handed. And he sent yet a third. This one also they wounded and cast out. Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him.’ But when the tenants saw him, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir. Let us kill him, so that the inheritance may be ours.’ And they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others.” When they heard this, they said, “Surely not!” But he looked directly at them and said, “What then is this that is written:“‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone’? Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.” Luke 20:9-18
When I was a child I loved to play in the dunes with my friends. The massive bushes would hide us from the heat of the day and we could make forts and all sorts of hiding places among them. We would bring our lunch and pretend we were everything from pirates to lost royalty. We would make believe we owned the dunes and fight fake wars over our territories. Today, these same dunes are protected by state and federal acts in order to preserve them from the destruction that humans can do. We can tear up the grasses and the wind and water can take them away completely leaving people and homes vulnerable to storm damage. We never owned the dunes, but we believed we did. And cried loudly when we were fenced out and run off.
Jesus was telling the Disciples about the way people would treat him in the coming days and how they would disregard what God had done for them by telling them a parable. They were naive, trusting that their relationship with Jesus would protect them from the selfishness of the world. But Jesus knew that cruelty and violence were coming as all humans covet what is not theirs and try to pretend we own what we do not.
Today, I want to remember that all I call mine is really a gift from God, including my faith and my calling. I ask God for the strength to give thanks for these at all times and to be grateful for the gifts I have been given. May God grant me the capacity to covet nothing and to be grateful for everyday, knowing all of my days belong to God and each of us is held tenderly in God's hands.