Trouble in the Vineyard
It seems there’s always trouble in the vineyard.
This time, there is bloodshed in the vineyard. And if we’ve been listening to Jesus, we’re not surprised. He’s been cleansing the temple and lamenting. He’s been sharing some heavy parables. He’s been causing trouble. And now, he’s giving us a bleak vineyard. Fruit grows, wine is pressed, but it’s blood that stains the ground of this vineyard.
It’d be a hard image to swallow if we didn’t know this story so well in our own vineyard.
Our world is one in which the kind of violence Jesus describes barely registers in our brains anymore. We see: hungry people, vulnerable cast aside, children killed for being the kind of kid who lives in a vineyard.
There is bloodshed in the vineyard. The tenants have turned on the landowner. The tenants have killed prophets. We know this parable. We live this parable.
I wonder, when we look at the troubles in the vineyard, do we ever suspect that God may just stop showing up? What will God do with our brokenness? What will God do with our persistent rejection, and violence, and turning away?
It seems God does not abandon. It seems God won’t be satisfied picking up the pieces we reject and going home to feel sorry for us. God takes our brokenness and makes a new thing. A new promise. A new covenant. And the parts we reject – the violence and bad fruit we choose instead — well, they become the cornerstone.
Rev. Joe Genau is the Pastor of Edgewood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, Alabama.
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