03 Aug 1998

Friends - The RCL has an alternate selection of Jeremiah 23:23-29 for the OT reading. Anyone preaching on that?

Brad Townley MA

08 Aug 1998

This text comes at the end of a festival in our community sponsored by a Catholic church that is a celebration of grape harvest in Tontitown, AR. This year is the 100th anniversary. It dates back to the early Italian immigrants who had left everything in Italy to come and farm the area in prosperity. The story goes that the promise of work wasn't kept, and one man bought a large parcel of land and "sold" smaller farms to be sharecroped among the immigrants. They held the Festival 100 years ago to celebrate their opportunity to own and farm their own land.

So . . . I thought it might be fun to preach from it and play around with the coincidence, then move straight into the meaning: That God created us and the world with everything we need to be fruitful, but we often let it all grow wild and miss our potential. I don't think that God will abandon the world -- especially in an OT light -- as long as there is a remnant remaining working for the "harvest." Hence, the importance of our work! Fortunately, we aren't a bunch of relatively passive grape vines; we can act to bear fruit as we were intended to.

Mark in Ark

09 Aug 1998

Hey Brad, Seems to me a Jeremiah/Luke combination might preach well. Martha in CT

10 Aug 1998

Martha in CT - I've lost your Email address. Please forward. Brad

11 Aug 1998

It seems to me this text is just begging for an acted parable. We are doing our annual outdoor worship service this Sunday and I am thinking of having a large tub with potting soil in it. As I recite the text, I will actually perform the actions described - removing planted stones, using them to build a tower, wall, and wine press; Placing plants in the soil etc.

I'm not sure yet where I will go from there.

11 Aug 1998

oops, I forgot that contribution was from Ed in ID

11 Aug 1998


Forgive the length of this post, but as I came across this commentary, it simply struck me. The commentator is Matthew Henry. Here's what he says about this passage:

"Christ is God's beloved Son, and our beloved Saviour. The care of the Lord over the church of Israel, is described by the management of a vineyard. The advantages of our situation will be brought into the account another day.

He planted it with the choicest vines; gave them a most excellent law, instituted proper ordinances. The temple was a tower, where God gave tokens of his presence. He set up his altar, to which the sacrifices should be brought; all the means of grace are denoted thereby.

God expects fruit from those that enjoy privileges. Good purposes and good beginnings are good things, but not enough; there must be vineyard fruit; thoughts and affections, words and actions, agreeable to the Spirit. It brought forth bad fruit. Wild grapes are the fruits of the corrupt nature.

Where grace does not work, corruption will. But the wickedness of those that profess religion, and enjoy the means of grace, must be upon the sinners themselves. They shall no longer be a peculiar people. When errors and vice go without check or control, the vineyard is unpruned; then it will soon be grown over with thorns.

This is often shown in the departure of God's Spirit from those who have long striven against him, and the removal of his gospel from places which have long been a reproach to it. The explanation is given.

It is sad with a soul, when, instead of the grapes of humility, meekness, love, patience, and contempt of the world, for which God looks, there are the wild grapes of pride, passion, discontent, and malice, and contempt of God; instead of the grapes of praying and praising, the wild grapes of cursing and swearing. Let us bring forth fruit with patience, that in the end we may obtain everlasting life."

Rick in Va.

12 Aug 1998

"Aha!" suggests as a possible title for this text something like "God Sings the Blues." This intrigues me. Themes of the blues are (among others) injustices suffered, love not accepted or given back, loneliness--things that might cause anyone to sing the blues, even God. If anybody has ideas that could expand on this theme, I'd love to hear them. I plan to use this text in combination with Luke. Diane in OK

12 Aug 1998

Diane in OK, I keep hearing about Aha! but can't seem to find a place to subscribe. Could you e-mail me a phone number off of it or something? Thanks, Alane ACURR@compuserve.com

13 Aug 1998

Can you please post info about "Aha!"? I'd like to know, too.

Mark in Ark

14 Aug 1998

AHA! is from Logos Productions 1-800-328-0200

6160 carmen Ave. Inver Grove Heights, MN 55076-9910

14 Aug 1998

AHA! is from Logos Productions 1-800-328-0200

6160 carmen Ave. Inver Grove Heights, MN 55076-9910

15 Aug 1998

I love the title "God Sings the Blues" I'm planning to use that theme, with a little cooperation from my pianist. He will play the blues as a prelude and as an accompaniment to the first part of my sermon.

He even suggests that the rhythm of the English translation (NRSV) is a blues rythym.

Our chancel has a copper vine on the back wall -- someone's memorial gift, no doubt--. I plan to make use of that imagery to talk about the fruit our congregation bears in the world. God has given us what we need (we are an incredibly well-resourced, upper middle class congregation in a somewhat transitional old downtown area). To what extent are the fruits we bear good grapes and to what extent are they wild?? Can we hear God singing the blues over us??