Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Fourth of July

“Hear another parable. There was a master of a house who planted a vineyard and put a fence around it and dug a winepress in it and built a tower and leased it to tenants, and went into another country. When the season for fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants to get his fruit. And the tenants took his servants and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. Again he sent other servants, more than the first. And they did the same to them. Finally he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and have his inheritance.’ And they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. When therefore the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” They said to him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons.”
Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures:
“‘The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
this was the Lord's doing,
and it is marvelous in our eyes’?
Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits. And the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.”
When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they perceived that he was speaking about them. And although they were seeking to arrest him, they feared the crowds, because they held him to be a prophet. Matthew 21:33-46

Today I am flying off to General Convention but before I do, there will be 500 plus kids and adults on my mother's front lawn as the Cape May Point boicycle parade winds up here. For over 40 years my parents have hosted the community providing koolaid, cookies and water ice. My mother considers this her care taking of an entire community, a way to offer hospitality and fun, an offering to God for all her blessings. She loves the role, even if we have to help her behind the scenes. This is her stewardship and love for the entire extended family of neighbors and visitors. It is between her and God and she enjoys every minute of the day.

Jesus uses stories or parables to help his listeners understand how God works and what we are to do in response. The religious leaders didn't like what they heard, because God was expecting humility and care-taking from them rather than power and control. We are invited by God to be stewards and care-takers, to see our lives as offerings for others.

Today, as I make my way to Indianapolis after celebrating the Fourth with our community, may I remember all of the blessings this day represents, and offer my life and work for the glory of God and the care of the God's vineyard. We are all invited to be good stewards and faithful gardeners, honoring the many blessings we have been given.

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