|First Sunday in Advent, Year B||December 3, 2017||First Sunday of Advent, Year B||Mark 13:24-37|
|Christ the King, Year A||November 26, 2017||Christ the King Year A||Matthew 25:31-46|
|Thanksgiving, Year A||November 22, 2017||Thanksgiving, Year A||Psalm 65|
|Twenty Fourth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A||November 19, 2017||Proper 24, Year A||Matthew 25:36-37|
|Twenty Third Sunday after Pentecost, Year A||November 12, 2017||Proper 27, Year A||Matthew 25:1-13|
|All Saints, Year A||November 5, 2017||All Saints’ Day, Year A||Matthew 5:1-12|
|Twenty First Sunday after Pentecost, Year A||October 29, 2017||Proper 25, Year A||Leviticus 19:1-2, 15-18; Matthew 22:34-46|
|Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A||October 22, 2017||Proper 24, Year A||Isaiah 45:1-7, Psalm 96, I Thessalonians 1:1-10, Matthew 22:15-22|
|Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A||October 15, 2017||Proper 23, Year A||Isaiah 25:1-9, Psalm 23, Philippians 4:1-9, Matthew 22:1-14|
|➤Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A||October 8, 2017||Proper 22, Year A||Isaiah 5:1-7, Matthew 21:33-46|
|The Season of Creation, Week 5, Year A||October 1, 2017||The Season of Creation, Week 5, Year A||Matthew 6:25-33|
|The Season of Creation, Week 4, Year A||September 24, 2017||The Season of Creation, Week 4, Year A||Leviticus 25:1-7, Hebrews 4:1-11, John 6:1-15|
|The Season of Creation, Week 3, Year A||September 17, 2017||The Season of Creation, Year A, Week 3||Deuteronomy 28:1-14, Psalm 65, 2 Corinthians 9:6-15, Matthew 6:19-24|
|The Season of Creation, Week 2, Year A||September 10, 2017||The Season of Creation, Year A, Week 2||Job 38:1-18, Psalm 139, Romans 1:18-25, Matthew 5:13-16|
|The Season of Creation, Week 1, Year A||September 3, 2017||Season of Creation 1, Year A||Job 37:14-24,Psalm 130,Revelation 4,Matthew 8:23-27|
Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A
Sermon Date:October 8, 2017
Scripture: Isaiah 5:1-7, Matthew 21:33-46
Liturgy Calendar: Proper 22, Year A
"Parable of the Wicked Tenants" – James B. Janknegt (b. 1953)
Forgetting who we are and whose we are inevitably leads to violence and disaster.
In today’s gospel, the tenants in the vineyard have taken what rightly belongs to the landowner. They are guarding the vineyard and its fruits as if they are in a fortress.
And they’ll go to any length to keep it, including killing the son, who would eventually inherit the vineyard.
Jesus was telling this story to the temple leaders who were holding the temple, God’s house of prayer, hostage through economic force.
The pilgrims who came to Jerusalem from the surrounding countryside and the villages had to exchange their regular money for temple money at a loss, and to buy the temple approved sacrificial animals at exorbitant prices, just two examples of the economic abuse temple leaders were inflicting on God’s people.
This situation angers Jesus. Not long before he tells this story, he has shown his anger over these abuses by overturning the tables of the money changers and driving out the sellers of the sacrificial doves.
And so after he tells this story to the temple leaders, Jesus warns them.
“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.”
Let this story be a warning to us, applied to how we live here and now, because this story is not only about what will happen, but it’s also about right now, today, about each one of us.
So here’s the take home.
When we forget who we are as Christians, when we forget that all we have ultimately belongs to God and that we are the caretakers, we become isolated and selfish. We build walls. We inevitably become violent in our dealings with others.
And the fruits of the kingdom slip out of our hands like so many grains of sand.
We lose the peace that comes from resting in our interconnectedness to God, to the earth itself, and to one another.
We lose the joy that comes from living out of a sense of abundance rather than scarcity.
We lose the assurance of hope; hope for now and hope for the future that only hope in God can bring.
We lose the ability to love selflessly, with God given unselfishness.
All of these things, the bedrock pieces of our faith, turn to dust and blow away when we forget and take what never belonged to us to begin with and cling to it by the violent and lethal means at our disposal.
“The kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produce the fruits of the kingdom.”
So be vigilant.
Pray with vigilance, remembering to pray with gratitude and thanksgiving rather than demanding from God, assuming that you deserve by right or by good works whatever it is you are demanding. God’s pleasure is to give us what we need. We don’t have to demand blessings from God.
Be vigilant in your relationships with others. If you are building walls rather than tearing them down in your relationships—beware.
Be vigilant in your decisions about what you are buying and what you’re consuming, and the economic impact that your decisions have on others and on the earth itself.
Educate yourselves about how your decisions about what you consume can injure the earth.
An along with Paul—do not consider that you have made anything, including your salvation, your own—
But “forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,
toward the heavenly call of god in Christ Jesus.”