Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Producing Fruit

 ‘Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a watch-tower. Then he leased it to tenants and went to another country. When the harvest time had come, he sent his slaves to the tenants to collect his produce. But the tenants seized his slaves and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. Again he sent other slaves, more than the first; and they treated them in the same way. 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 get his inheritance.” So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. Now when 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 lease the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the harvest time.’
 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 amazing in our eyes”?
Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom. The one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and it will crush anyone on whom it falls.’

 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they realized that he was speaking about them. They wanted to arrest him, but they feared the crowds, because they regarded him as a prophet. Matthew 21:33-46

It is blueberry season in New Jersey. In fact, the world capitol for blueberries is in Hammonton, New Jersey and they celebrate their abundance every year. After sojourning in Alaska, it is a real treat to come home to produce stands groaning with fruit - especially blueberries. They are a perfect food, small and delicious, great with all sorts of meals. They go from pies to salads and everywhere in between. Blueberries taste of God's abundance and blessing.

The parable Jesus told hit the religious leaders to the quick. They understood they had been given a great blessing and responsibility, and they had abused their authority, and had keep the blessings and abundance for themselves. God invites us all today to see the abundance around us and remember how much has been done for us. We are entrusted with much, and we are simply asked to share the abundance and remember where all good blessings come from. We can foolishly believe that we have made all things possible, but we know that without God's love, our efforts come to nothing.

Today I ask God to help me be grateful. In these times of great changes and great stress, may we all remember that God is the generous landowner, always harvesting more for us. May we trust that the trials and challenges we face will be met with God's abundance and delight today.

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