March 15th Lenten Devotional

Grasp or Grace

Linda Patzke

Mark 12:1-12 [13-17]

My daughter has a small shih tzu mix dog who has one peculiar trait. He likes to collect treasures from the trash and store them in his bed. Old milk cartons, yogurt cups, candy bar wrappers, and what-have-you end up in his bed. He feels secure and happy surrounded by his finds. When it comes right down to it, we all want to be happy and secure. To attain that sense of security, we acquire that which we feel will accomplish that. We often feel the more we have, the safer we are and we grasp it tightly.

Our parable illustrates that’s not anything new. The landowner plants the vineyard, fences it in, provides a winepress, and a tower then leases it out all ready to go. All he requires is a bit of the profit. But time after time when the landlord’s servants arrive to collect, the farmers beat them and drive them away or kill them.  Thinking that surely they will respect his son, the landlord gives them one last chance. But the tenants believe that with the heir gone, they will grasp control. Instead of gaining it all, they lost it all.

Jesus ends his parable with a quote from Psalms 118:22-23. It is a song of thanksgiving and reassurance for those who place their hope in God; a song about releasing our grasp on control and opening ourselves to grace. What we are called to do is to unclench our grasp, release our control, give thanks and accept the gift of grace which is poured so freely and abundantly over us.

For reflection: read the parable again and also Psalm 118. Meditate on whatever you find most difficult to let go as well as all the blessings with which you are most graced.


Rev. Doctor Linda Patzke is a retired UMC pastor and has served congregations in Utah,
Colorado, and Wyoming.

©2020 by individual authors and Facebook Narrative Lectionary Group.  This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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