Sunday, October 4th, Pentecost XVIII, Trust and Faith
Exodus 20:1-4, 7-9, 12-20, psalm 19, Philippians 3:4b-14, Matthew 21:33-46
What seems to be missing in the parable in the wicked tenants is the agreement about what goes to the owner and what goes to the tenants. In other words, why would the tenants work the vineyard and give all to the owner?
The owner would have to help provide for the tenants and their families. The tenants obviously wanted more, wanted it all. This suggests that some of us feel we deserve more from life and the universe than we are receiving and strive to get more, and all that we can. This can be the end of the message, yet there is another side. Sometimes some of us sometimes at least, feel we have received more than we deserve, or only deserve what little we received and only expect to receive so little in the future.
Both are not giving God as the owner of the vineyard the best we can produce. Both are showing some form of lack of faith and trust. Those who feel they deserve more, think they have to get it for themselves, as God has let them down. Those who feel they don’t deserve as much, usually lack the confidence to help others, and think what they do for others makes no difference.
What God says to Jesus at his baptism; you are my beloved in whom I am well-pleased is for each of us and for all of us. We are all children of God.
At this time, what we are experiencing is so different from before that it is understandable that we wonder why God would let this happen? But there is another question as well, where am I in all this? There is a sense of loss of identity today, as to whom we are as a product of what we do, when what we do and how we do it has changed so much. We can no longer do the activities which made us feel good and in which we felt confident, or doing them in new ways which don’t inspire the same enjoyment or confidence. So we can lose the sense of being beloved and a child of God.
Yet the one question is what is God in Christ asking of us? Obviously it is not producing grapes and wine. It may have something to do with the summary of the law, to love God with all your heart and mind, soul and strength and love your neighbour as yourself.
This relationship with God is not just about loving God, but recognizing God’s love for each one of us. It is to love ourselves because God loves us. In a way this is not just sitting back and waiting for God or someone else to solve our issues, but trusting and having the faith to be creative in what we do to not only feel good about ourselves but to encourage and support others. This is not new, and many have been doing this already.
When two or three are gathered together, God is in the midst of us.
When we are alone God is with us always, day and night,