Date:
19 Sep 1999
Time:
02:25:43

Comment

Worldwide Communion Sunday this Sunday. Any creative ideas how to tie this text in to Holy Communion? revup


Date:
19 Sep 1999
Time:
23:05:12

Comment

revup,

I wonder if one could connect the fact that stewardship of a vineyard as the basis of the parable, with the sharing of wine and bread. In what ways are we good stewards of the gift of the Eucharist? How well do we share the blessings received at the table? These are some early thoughts, long way to go yet......

Blessings, SueCan


Date:
20 Sep 1999
Time:
14:51:47

Comment

This is a continuation of Jesus' answer to the question (of the chief priests and the elders of the people) "By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?"

It's a showdown between two (or three) claims to be the representative of God's power. Here and through Chapter 22 the various institutional religious groups come challenging Jesus to answer questions after his arrival in Jerusalem.

In fact this meeting takes place in the Temple, these folks area of jurisdiction. They have, we presume, forgotten that they are stewards or tenants of the Temple, not the owners.

To whom does the vineyard belong? To whom does OUR Temple, our beloved area of expertise and knowledge belong? Don't we always tend to box God up inside our buildings/sanctuaries? I think the issue is to find a way to rebuke ourselves for whatever particular idols we have created in our own theology, denomination or congregation. Since I'm an Episcopalian, examples for me could be: 1)getting literal minded about the historic episcopacy (the Lutherans are doing a pretty good job of making us think this through), 2)teaching people by example that the only language in which to really pray is Elizabethan and formal, 3)thinking that because some people say we are a friendly congregation, and that's why they are coming back, that this means we are friendly to everyone. We have no need to look for racial, economic, or sexual-orientation prejudice in our behavior.

I think I am called here to examine how I have been considering this "Temple" area to belong to me (They're not going to do things that way in MY church!). Whose Church is this? could be a sermon title.

Sara, GR, Mi


Date:
20 Sep 1999
Time:
14:54:38

Comment

Both the lesson from Isaiah, the Psalm, and the Gospel use the vineyard metaphor for God's judgment on his unfaithful people. Maybe the Phillipians could be used as a hopeful message for Communion Sunday. Docdeac in TN


Date:
20 Sep 1999
Time:
21:22:26

Comment

My thoughts on this passage revolve around the question of the investment put in by the landowner to establish the vineyard. Anyone who invests expects a return ; the ' return ' God looked for in the Isaiah passage was justice and righteousness, and he got the exact opposite. In the Matthew parable the landowner required a share of the crop ; and he didn't get that either. There seems to be an implied assumption in the Matthew story that the new tenants will do a better job of managing the vineyard ; but is this necessarily so ? and what happens if they don't ? Will God look to us and find justice and righteousness in our lives ? Are we giving God a fair return on his investment in us, and if not, can be expect any better treatment than that meted out to the so-called wicked husbandmen ? Mike, North Wales, UK


Date:
21 Sep 1999
Time:
00:09:38

Comment

Abraham J. Heschel says somewhere that

Possession is equal to loneliness. The very word itself excludes others and the person ultimately perishes in self-excommunication and loneliness.

Receiving a Gift - receives the present as well as the love of the giver. A gift is a vessel that contains the affection, which is destroyed as soon as we begin to look at it as a possession.

Such is the situation of the laborers in the vineyard who soon took possession of what had been given to them. a la stewardship!!

tom in ga


Date:
23 Sep 1999
Time:
01:01:51

Comment

My eyes and inspiration focussed on verse 42: "The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone." My mind went to the old story "Stone Soup", which speaks of sharing, and neighbors and strangers, who all end up around the same table. There's a relatively new, version by Heather Forest which places the contemporary story in a multiethnic global village. Not sure where this might lead, but that's where I'm beginning. Wish I had some children in my church so I could use the book with its beautiful illustrations. KAS


Date:
25 Sep 1999
Time:
06:08:34

Comment

Obviously, the vineyard owner is God, the first messengers were the prophets and the Son is Jesus. Jesus was beaten and rejected by the first vineyard keepers (Jewish faith) and then given to the new people, I presume the Church which Jesus began. "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." My question is are we in the Church truly producing "the fruits of the kingdom?" I fear too often we do not preach prophesy, as Jesus did here to the Jewish leaders. When we fail to preach prophetically, we fail to warn people of their shortcomings. I am sure if we preach as Jesus did in this text, we will make some people squirm, as He made some squirm. revup


Date:
26 Sep 1999
Time:
07:41:02

Comment

to KAS The book centered in the multiethnic village sounds lovely. How about using it with the adults and inviting the "children" to come out. Jesus said we have to become as children to inherit the kingdom, maybe even to perceive it and enter in. Just a thought. Dorothy B in Baltimore.


Date:
26 Sep 1999
Time:
16:34:30

Comment

KAS: use it anyway! The grown up peopel would like it too. What is the Title of the book? I want to see if I can find it before Sunday. Thanks... Rev Janet in NY


Date:
26 Sep 1999
Time:
17:11:22

Comment

Dear All,

"The stone which the builders rejected ..." is taken, I presume, to be Jesus, as is, I take it, the son of the landowner slain by the workers.

What does it mean, to reject Jesus, or, metaphorically, to slay Jesus?

I think there are lots and lots of answers to this question, and that's where I will be centering my thoughts on Sunday.

Seems to me that the one question which folk want answered, Sunday after Sunday, goes something like this: "What is Jesus trying to say to me this morning?"

From this parable, I take it that Jesus is trying to say to me (and by extension, to all) something about rejecting him (slaying him), through our thoughts, through our actions, through our infidelity to his teaching.

God loves us so much, and seeks so little in return, and yet, and yet, it seems to be our nature to disappoint, to fall short, to "reject". Thank God for God's gift of redeeming grace!

Jim


Date:
27 Sep 1999
Time:
02:26:59

Comment

Stone Soup - how about altering the story by having the stone be a lump of salt. The people add the chicken, onion, vegetables, etc. to the pot and then are astonished when the stone has disappeared. But of course, since the salt has permeated the whole kettle of soup with flavor, it is the best pot of soup the village has ever tasted. Does not Christ permeate everything we do even though we can't see him? This parable is so self explanatory, it will be difficult to build a sermon around it. Christ said it all, and very clearly this time. Kim in AR


Date:
27 Sep 1999
Time:
04:35:30

Comment

For Kim in AR:

Please tell me what Jesus is saying so plainly???

Seems to be a refreshing response, but tell me simply what Jesus is saying in this parable??

In grace,

LJC


Date:
27 Sep 1999
Time:
14:52:13

Comment

This does not have to do with the Scripture but about World Communion - sorry I didn't know where else to post! :( I would like to do communion with different breads from different countries. any ideas for litany for this. email me at mzimmer@wvadventures.net thanks


Date:
27 Sep 1999
Time:
15:03:51

Comment

This Sunday is "Bring A Friend Sunday" at my parish: a much planned, publicized and "prepared for" opportunity for parish members excited about who we are and what's happening to "show off" their church to their friends. Great idea. No pressure on the preacher,of course! Don't yet see a window into this text that draws everyone in ... any suggestions? Thanks! Susan in SanPedro


Date:
27 Sep 1999
Time:
15:38:51

Comment

Thanks, Sara, for the suggestion of "whose church is this?" On World communion Sunday we could certainly answer this question globably.

The thought - perhaps a Spirit thought - that we on this site could each add a line to a litany that would draw a vision of a global church that those of us who wish can use on Sunday.

Whose Church is it?

It is a Church of shipbuilders and those who sail them; pharmaceutical workers and those who are ill; children and youth who wonder if they will be safe at school...and maybe even at church.

Etc. If each of us would add some descriptive statements of our own parishes, and then we could finish with affirmation that it is the church of Jesus Christ globally gathering at this large round table...

Perhaps we could put each contributor's name in parenthisis to make personal the global nature of our litany.

Caroline in CT/USA


Date:
27 Sep 1999
Time:
16:30:21

Comment

Susan,

All are drawn in by Christ. But not all accept Him as the cornerstone of the church. And this parable clearly tells of the consequence of that kind of choice.

If you are having new people in the Church, they ought to be exposed to the fullness of the Holy Spirit's revelation to mankind.

Otherwise the good news isn't really good news.

Preach the Word. Let the chips fall where they may. Preach the Word prayerfully and under the submission of God's Holy Spirit, and watch those interested in coming to Jesus come to Jesus.

Those in rebellion will suffer the consequences of their disobedience. It might very well be those consequences that finally lead them to dismiss their rebellion and come to Christ as their Savior and their Lord. And then , and only then will they "produce the fruits of the kingdom."

Rick in Va


Date:
27 Sep 1999
Time:
22:54:37

Comment

Gerald May, MD in Will and Spirit

discusses the difference between Willingness and Willfulness. This is what the parable is about. The inability on the part of the laborers in the vineyard to recognize the gift that had been given them and the absolute entitlement now that they had worked the land that this was THEIR vineyard. There is no gratitude for what they had received, just sheer anger at what they were afraid they may loose. They cannot not accept life outside of them, there is no one that they are responsible to, or accountable to ....

In the midst of a stewardship season, the visit to the vineyard by the Son is a kind of "judgment day" it is time to share the harvest with the owner - oh, no they say, we will kill the son, the only heir, and we will become the only owners. In 1970, Time annouonced that God is Dead .... in the midst of a selfish, narcissistic generation, there is no God beyond ourselves .... we have lost transcendence, and unwillingness to recognize the ground of our being.

tom in ga


Date:
28 Sep 1999
Time:
01:18:00

Comment

Friends -

Is anyone (else) preaching on St. Francis w/ the approp/ lections? If yes,please join me in the discussion area. I've just decided to do this, and have nothing of any value to say yet. Will create an entry soonest, and would appreciate your thoughts!

HW in HI


Date:
28 Sep 1999
Time:
02:46:44

Comment

Esse, I never knew you my brother, though I know not knowing you must be my loss. Your friends at the Open Door, there were so many of them, they spoke of you with a catch in their throats and tears in their eyes. How they loved you. How they love you still. And though I know that your friends are such extraordinary people, people with such a capacity to see the beauty of creation and the breadth of life, I could see the truth in their faces – Esse, you were special.

I wonder how many others saw that special light in you. Certainly Esse, your mother must have noticed. There at that magical moment when you first entered this world, the special connection of mother and child, that mysterious bond of God. She must have looked down at you and known that you were a miracle, as much a part of God’s created glory as the most glorious galaxy draped across the velvet canvass of the heavens or a beautiful flower adorned in the color of the promise of Spring. Certainly she saw you, a child of God.

Others must have seen your light. Then, as you danced behind the mischievous smile that only comes to the face of a young boy when he is engaged in something which is – as my grandmother used to say – devilish, devilish and wonderful. They must have poked each other in the side, exchanging a knowing grin which said, “There goes that Esse, what a delight is he.” Watching you as you moved through life, enmeshed in the brokeness of the world, yet protected by God’s cloak of childhood innocence. A miracle of life, a light on the hill.

And yet, Esse, I wonder when they stopped seeing that light. Was it as they passed by you as you made your way along the street, footfalls on grimy concrete, adorned in your well-worn shoes and those not right-off-the-rack clothes? Or perhaps it was as you stood on the street, outside of the doors of that place of communal meals, that place of community. I wonder if they saw your light there, shining with your other brethren. Esse, did they see your glow on the warm summer nights when you found a space under the awnings of those places of commerce which bustled with activity during the day, but at night became the refuge of all of you whom we, the good and upright people of the world, would rather forget? When did we stop noticing, when?

Perhaps your presence was just too painful for us. Perhaps you condemned us simply because you existed. I know my brother. I know that we knew you were there. We saw you as you shuffled by, unkempt clothes and unshaven face. We saw you as we went about the business of our lives, always telling ourselves that we simply had no time, simply had important things to do. We saw you, yet; we could not acknowledge you. If we did, what would that say about us? Esse, I ask you, what would that say?

And in the end, because we refused to see, you simply ceased to exist. Some came and pointed to you, and we said they whiners – we killed them with our words. Others came and pointed to you, and we said they were do-gooders and liberals – we killed them with our disdain. And in the end you too, my friend. We killed you with our apathy.

Esse, my brother, a dumpster is a hard place to die.

You told us who you were. Why did we never see your light?

Shalom my friends, Nail-Bender in NC


Date:
28 Sep 1999
Time:
02:49:39

Comment

I love the synergy of this group. I resonate so much with Sara and Rev up. Indeed, this is a prophetic text written as a speach to Matthew's community about rejecting Jesus. So too, when you welcome one (or reject one) of the least of these...

The UM church I serve is going through some struggles about it's identity. Actually, a few of the members are going through some struggles about their place in a church that may welcome gay and lesbian folks. They don't want to become a "gay" church, but somehow, it's been ok for the last 40 years to be a white, hetersexual, mainly upper class church.

Two families have left the church because a gay couple has started attending. Then they brought two friends (a lesbian couple). This was an outrage. To me it was an example of what evangelism is all about. Had it been a different time, or a different location, the families might have sought to "beat the servants and killed the son". Instead, they have decided to leave the vineyard. I assume that a few are lurking (and talking to others) in an attempt to reclaim their church/vineyard. "Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do?"

As Sara said, who owns this church? The council, the congregation, the pastor, the denomination (well, ok, the denomination does "own" the church). Isn't every church a place where all persons are welcome? Didn't even Paul break down the barriers, neither Jew nor Greek, male nor female...?

The understanding of ownership of the vineyard comes at a timely point in the life of this little church. I must struggle against the urge to preach against "them". And offer the inspired truth from the Holy Spirit. God invites all to this vineyard, to drink from this cup.

Kelly in Tacoma


Date:
28 Sep 1999
Time:
04:00:57

Comment

"A New Lease on Life"

Create in our church a clean heart, O God, and renew our lease in your vineyard. Cast us not away from your presence, Good Owner. Take not your Holy Spirit from us.

We acknowledge that the greatest fruitfulness in your vineyard is now found in Korea and Africa. We see that our denominational deathgrips have choked much of the life out of your produce.

Forgive us for disdaining the growth of other churches. Help us to celebrate your abundance everywhere. Grant that we may neither shirk our duty as good tenants of your vineyard, nor undermine the work of other tenants.

Take not your lease from us, Great LandLord. We long for the appearing of your Son. Come, Holy Spirit. Commune with us. May all the world in every corner sing: Alleluia! Amen

+CrossClinger


Date:
28 Sep 1999
Time:
05:45:32

Comment

Yell"Arose!"nTX has posted a ranch hands round up story on the Isaiah site. Check it out.


Date:
28 Sep 1999
Time:
12:42:17

Comment

I read in this text something about stewardship )like tom) Are we not the tenants? How do we treat the vineyard in which we are given to live? This seems to be an excellent text for World Wide Communion Sunday. We are called to the table to lay our lives and what we are doing with them before our God. God has graced us again and again, even here at the table we experience that grace. How do we respond?

Whose Church is it: It is a church of dreamers who see God in the face of each other; of immigrants who provide for others to join them on the journey (our congregation is sponsoring two families from Kosovo.

Deke of the North (Ontario, Canada)


Date:
28 Sep 1999
Time:
13:31:43

Comment

Sacramental Presence in which the Kingdom comes to full realization in the person, in the Word, Jesus the anointed. Does the Presence not seek us out in Esse, in the "throwaway' garbage dump of humanity, in the autobiographical frames of those responsible for the "gathering of grapes" used to celebrate the sacrament of Holy Communion on this "Global Village" occasion? Who is tending to the Kingdom and Covenant fouinded upon the rejected stone? PaideiaSCO in the wilderness.


Date:
28 Sep 1999
Time:
14:27:57

Comment

I've just read the sermon William Willimon wrote in Pulpit Resource (current issue) on this text. It is excellent. He focuses on the nature of God and to what extent God will go to reach out to the violent workers in the vineyard. Willimon prompts me to add more names to the list of those killed when sent by the 'master' - there are so many in this century winding down. This would be a good theme for "Bring a Friend" - to what extent God has already gone and will continue to go to reach out to you. It is also a good theme for us 'sent by God' - why should we expect to be treated any better than the Son?

Kelly, have heart, I've been on your journey in my church. It will open more opportunities to minister to individuals' own unresolved sexual identities than you may have ever had. May God give you groundedness to be the non-anxious presence.

Caroline in CT/USA


Date:
28 Sep 1999
Time:
15:31:41

Comment

For Kelley in Tocoma:

I have a girlfriend on the side that my wife does not know about. My girlfriend and I are looking for a church.

We only have sex two times a week, but I want to keep this a secret from my wife. We want to go to church together.

Can you respond to me how we can do that?

Yes, I am married, but must have sex outside of marriage.

SDOP


Date:
28 Sep 1999
Time:
16:02:29

Comment

Was that really necessary? Grace


Date:
28 Sep 1999
Time:
16:43:30

Comment

SDOP's method of making a point may be crass but I think the question to Kelly and to all of us is appropriate.

We should absolutely be inclusive to any and all individuals. However, we are also to be Christ-like and encourage repentance and transformation.

How we do that absent the attitude of condemnation is the question of the ages.

Rick in Va


Date:
28 Sep 1999
Time:
19:16:34

Comment

21:43 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.

I note in the intial tenants a distinction between their refusal to deliver the fruits of the vineyard and the actual production of the fruit. The text does not say they did not produce anything, just that they refused by their actions to give it to the landowner to whom the fruits belonged, preferring to keep it for themselves (and doing whatever it took to keep the fruits--even killing the son). Because of this, the landowner will take the vineyard away from those tenants and give it to those tenants who will “deliver the produce” (New Jerusalem trans.) to the one to whom it belongs.

Putting this pericope in the context of Matthew chapter 22--that is, addressing the question as to where Jesus gets his authority to do what he has been doing--I am not so sure this pericope then is about producing as it is about obedience in delivering the goods. . .

This may be where possession comes into play (per tom in ga).

Just getting started.

ml in pa


Date:
28 Sep 1999
Time:
19:27:55

Comment

Hey KAS,

Who says you can't. I can think of three ways you could do it although they may not be possible. (Just want you to know that I know they are not 100% workable). One, see if you can locate a projector, not the kind that project through an item. I'm thinking about the kind that project from solid pictures. I don't know where you can find one, but check with colleges or rental places. Maybe you can find one.

Or have a copy place blow them up big enough to see. However, I realize this could be expensive.

Or if the congregation is small enough, let them know when they come in that everyone needs to sit near the front or they won't be able to see what you will be offering that morning. This might not work on everyone because you may have a few die hards. One morning, our sound system was done and the sound person couldn't figure what was wrong, so we asked everyone to sit near the front so they could hear. Only three people out of 60 worshippers continued to sit toward the back as they always did.

Anyway, this is my contribution for now. Still reading the rest.

Brandon in CA


Date:
28 Sep 1999
Time:
19:29:12

Comment

That should have been "the sound system was down...."

Brandon in CA


Date:
28 Sep 1999
Time:
19:52:02

Comment

The passage tells me that God does not give up. Even though Jesus ended the parable by prompting the people to condemn the renters who killed the son, he lifted up from the scriptures, "The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord's doing and it is amazing in our eyes."

The "Preaching the Revised Common Lectionary" says, "God does not simply get reasonable revenge; God's ways are not our ways. Humans may reject God's son, even killing him, but God is not bound by human actions. Indeed, God took the very one rejected by humankind and exalted him in a most amazing way. Humans may block, but God will parry and even advance his causes through the inadmissible human action. As God judges the rejection of the son unacceptable, God acts both to vindicate the son and to extend the riches of his provisions to those who will cooperate with God's purposes."

I like that idea. God does not seek revenge and while he will judge us accordingly when the time comes, he will not waiting around for that time. He is seeking all his lost sheep and calling them to his kingdom. He is also warning us to be careful and not become like the pharisees.

Brandon in CA


Date:
28 Sep 1999
Time:
21:16:45

Comment

'Sharing' the Lord's Supper

By the Rev. D. Kent Deubner Rev. Deubner is pastor of First Christian Church, El Dorado Springs, Missouri.

On occasion I spend Saturday nights relaxing and considering my Sunday to come. Is the message right? Is the sanctuary set up? Is everything, everyone, and every service prepared???? Will I look like an idiot? Is my suit clean?

Tonight I had a call from the United Methodist minister in town. Jim is the new guy in town; retired and working on his licensing with his DS (district superintendent), and hopefully on to ordination from there. He is not allowed to do certain functions that are normally held for ordained clergy. One of these is the blessing of the sacraments for Communion. He had asked me this past week if I would help him if he was in a jam. What could I say? Well tonight was the night. He could not get through to his backup, so he asked me to share the blessing over the phone. Yes, I said phone. Yes, I did it. After a case of nerves I realized: To me it was an honor.

In my preparations for Sunday I had almost forgotten how precious this time is that we spend with God's children in the act of worship. I had almost lost track of the fact that some of the things we do are holy things, God things, Jesus things.

I consider myself an ecumenical person, but this was the first time I've had the chance to participate in a UMC worship as an ordained minister administering my calling with them. Jim and I shared a God moment, and did some Jesus stuff over the phone. Our church at FCC, and their church at UMC became one for a moment in time. It doesn't sound earth shattering. We didn't feed the hungry, we didn't build a house, we didn't crowd hundreds into the church house, but my-oh-my, it was a moment for me and Jim. A moment of oneness! God, it felt good! Where two or three are gathered (thanks to AT&T) there Christ is with us.

He took some bread; broke it, blessed it, shared it. "Hey, it's my body. Remember me when you share this moment!" He took a cup of wine; lifted it, blessed it, shared it. "Hey, it's my blood shed for you with a promise. Remember me when you share this moment!" Thanks, Lord, I did.

LJC: Hey, where is [this represents my body]? As in he took some bread. LJC: Hey, where is[this represents my blood]? As in he took a cup.

Anyone willing to tell me?


Date:
29 Sep 1999
Time:
00:45:42

Comment

Dear SCOP and all,

Here's what I suggest to you in the midst of your dilemma.

Come to Church on Sunday, this Sunday and every Sunday. Come with the recognition of your brokenness and your wholeness. Come with your girl friend; come with your spouse; come alone, as you prefer.

While you are here, pray for your spouse. Pray for your girl friend. Pray for yourself. If you will do this, in God's good time, you will find the answers which you seek.

While you are here, you will find neither condemnation nor support for your behaviors, but acceptance of your humanity in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Jim


Date:
29 Sep 1999
Time:
09:17:19

Comment

SCOP: Jesus said in John 8:11 "Neither do I condemn you; go your way. From now on sin no more."(NAS) revup says "Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more." Too often we say the first half of the passage and forget to include the second half because it is too prophetic. revup


Date:
29 Sep 1999
Time:
13:29:13

Comment

Correction: From my post yesterday (Sept. 28) at 19:16:34, it is, of course, Matthew chapter 21 (not 22) where Jesus' authority is questioned. (But you all knew that)

ml in pa


Date:
29 Sep 1999
Time:
14:47:53

Comment

revup

what does ... go and sin no more mean?...

Do I have to give up my girlfriend or just the sex??

And are you a real pastor?

SDOP


Date:
29 Sep 1999
Time:
15:35:03

Comment

Any chance to move the discussion prompted by SDOP's situation to the Theological Dialogue site?

ml in pa


Date:
29 Sep 1999
Time:
15:36:45

Comment

Just to throw another monkey wrench into the process -

I liked Kelly's approach. I would add that, for the Jews, religion and politics went hand in hand. The vineyard has always been a symbol of the state of Israel, thus making this a very political as well as a religious statement. As much as we try to separate the two in our own country, we have also found that to be difficult.

How many times have I had the feeling expressed that, somehow, the church depends on the good graces of the state. That if it weren't for the government, there would be no church. I'm not talking about non-church people here, but people who are part of the leadership of the church. This is definitely a stewardship sermon - whose church is it anyway? Do we depend on the good graces of the state?

Another kind of example: we are going through a building program (AAAAGH!). At our last meeting, two folks got up at different times and said, basically, "I'm going to wait to see what the final product will be before I commit anything to it. How much I commit depends on how much I like it." Is our commitment to the church like buying sausage at the market? Does our giving depend on how much we like it? Whose church is it anyway?

The parable, as I see it, questions who the church belongs to. The pharisees thought it belonged to them. The people thought it belonged to them. The governing authorities thought it belonged to them. But God says, "It is my church. It - and everything produced by it; everything those who receive its fruits as well - all of it is mine."

In answer to the person who made the crass remark to Kelly, the answer is that I hope that those folks will come to church - him, his girlfriend and his wife. I hope that they hear the word proclaimed there, and that they take that word to heart. And I hope that their heart is then changed (the word, "repentance" comes to mind) It seems to me that that is part of the job of the church, after all, and that it is less likely to occur outside of the church, and outside of the hearing of the Gospel. "For I came to save not the righteous, but sinners." It is my hope that I can come there as well, and have my sins confronted, confess them, and be changed. Why else do we have confession, the proclamation of the Gospel and communion?

These are just random thoughts, so try to bear with me - the finished product may be a bit later today.

Gary Roth standrew@coastalnet.com


Date:
29 Sep 1999
Time:
16:57:44

Comment

I'm all for moving the SCOP discussion to the discussion site. Thanks for the suggestion.

Re: the text at hand: I'm looking at connecting the Isaiah vision of what the vineyard was SUPPOSED to look like [5:1-7] to "where it went wrong" (ie. "he expected justice but saw bloodshed; righteousness but heard a cry!") ... and then to Jesus' words in the Matthew text -- remembering that immediately before this parable is the one where he tell the chief priests and scribes that the tax collectors and harlots will get into heaven before they will.

The point??? That this is yet another call from our Lord to "do justice; love mercy; walk humbly" -- and those of us stuck in rigid legalism and representing a judgmental institutionalism are as far from the vineyard as the son who said he would go and work ... and didn't.

Off topic: Hang in there, Kelly in Tacoma. Hum a few bars of "They Will Know We Are Christians by Our Love" and keep preaching! Susan in SanPedro


Date:
29 Sep 1999
Time:
20:55:53

Comment

I'm new to using this website for sermon preparation, and I have to say thank you to all of you who contribute! You have helped me to crystalize a few issues: 1)the original tenants are bad for a number of reasons, but mostly for thinking they could somehow gain ownership of the vineyard (v.38) (back to that stewardship theme), 2)the quest for ownership resulted in them killing the son, and 3)we continue to kill the son in our quest for ownership (for example, rampant consumerism becomes an idol). But the word of grace is for us, too: Jesus is the stone that becomes the foundation for all who give up the quest for ownership. That children's story, "Stone Soup," really does fit. After the villagers initial acts of hoarding their goods, a stone becomes the first ingredient in a communal pot of soup to which everyone in the village contributes (bringing carrots, cabbage, meat, etc. out of hiding to put in the pot), resulting finally then in enough soup for all to eat. In the story, the stone ends up feeding all. This is appropriate, of course, for World Communion Sunday. The "Stone" is also the "Bread" upon which we all will feed. Thanks again! Rebecca I.


Date:
29 Sep 1999
Time:
22:58:31

Comment

Because this is stewardship month around here, I , like tom in GA, am drawn toward the "possessive" attitude of the vinyard workers. The attitude that permeates our culture, destroys a lot of people's giving in church (not to mention a lot of other things like Creation itself--Ps.19), and kills off God (thanks for the reminder of TIME's accurate reporting way back then).

Because this is World Communion Sunday, I am looking for a way to bring our gifts to the table in a way that will defy this attitude of the dominant culture.

Heaven knows this "possessiveness" can infect not only our attitude toward "our" money and "our" land, but "our" church as well. I want not only to preach the word but exorcise some demons as well.

But I still get a little hung up about placing God in the role of an absentee landlord. Where is our friend who brings Wm. Herzog into these parable discussions?

pHil

p.s. I may have a little help for you, SDOP, if I can find my way over to the other site.


Date:
30 Sep 1999
Time:
02:38:00

Comment

I'm thinking of doing something with irony. Maybe asking the question "Is God nuts?" Why does he let us continue to inhabit the vineyard. We let it be known by our behavior, long ago, exactly what kind of tenants we would be? Why didn't he just call in the law the first time we beat up his servant? Wasn't it obvious what would happen when he sent his Son?

Answer-No, this is not the behavior of a God who is nuts. It is the behavior of a God who loves us so much that he can't bear to destroy us as long as their is any hope at all. The behavior of a God whose love is so radical that he is willing to sacrifice his only son if he can only reach some of us!


Date:
30 Sep 1999
Time:
02:38:09

Comment

I'm thinking of doing something with irony. Maybe asking the question "Is God nuts?" Why does he let us continue to inhabit the vineyard. We let it be known by our behavior, long ago, exactly what kind of tenants we would be? Why didn't he just call in the law the first time we beat up his servant? Wasn't it obvious what would happen when he sent his Son?

Answer-No, this is not the behavior of a God who is nuts. It is the behavior of a God who loves us so much that he can't bear to destroy us as long as their is any hope at all. The behavior of a God whose love is so radical that he is willing to sacrifice his only son if he can only reach some of us!

Ken


Date:
30 Sep 1999
Time:
03:16:10

Comment

Date: 9/29/99

Someone asks what Wm Herzog has to say about this parable. He ponders the cycle of violence that we observe here. He points out that only the very wealthy could afford to make the investment required to plant a vineyard, "because it would produce no crop during the four years required for the vines to mature and an unsure harvest in the fifth year, and the owner would need enough capital to pay tenants to nurture and dress the vines, which required constant care (from Parables as Subversive Speech." Herzog also points out that vineyards like this one were typically created through the expropriation of peasant lands by wealthy landowners. If true, such injustice would go a long ways towards explaining the brutal and angry treatment the tenant farmers give the landowner's bill collectors, which otherwise appears to be way out of proportion to the circumstances. As Herzog puts it, "One inevitable side effect of this (expropriation of lands) practice was the degradation of peasants into increasingly dependent relations, as landless clients (tenants) to wealthy patrons, as sharecroppers, as debt slaves, and as day laborers." Reflecting on the landowner's preoccupation with making a good investment, Herzog's comments remind me of the brutal language we still use today in our own references to making good investments on the stock market -- i.e., "making a killing."

All of which only serves to underscore what many other contributors to DPS this go around seem to be saying: namely, that the preoccupation with possessions rather than with stewardship is a big reason why relationships seem to escalate into violence. Gerald Kennedy put his finger on the problem some years ago. "We will be on the right track," he suggested, "if we remember that we are stewards and not owners of the earth. This is the great lesson of this parable. Whenever we begin to act like owners we are heading for trouble.... We have been provided with plenty, but once we lose sight of the fact that we are tenants enjoying a vineyard we did not plant, we lose the vineyard and destroy ourselves (The Parables: Sermons on the Stories Jesus Told)."

RIP in MT


Date:
30 Sep 1999
Time:
04:09:17

Comment

The Isaiah passage talks about a defective vineyard which is plowed under because of violence:

“For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the people of Judah are his pleasant planting; he expected justice, but saw bloodshed; righteousness, but heard a cry!”

Since violence is also an underlying theme in this Gospel lesson, I’m tempted to focus on the sin of violence, and to lift up communion as a rejection of that violence. After all, when we drink the cup and eat the bread we are drinking the fruit of a vineyard and the harvest of a field which has been successfully and peacefully grown. In celebrating the Lord’s supper (if we celebrate it in a proper spirit), we are succeeding where the vineyard in Isaiah, and the workers in Matthew, failed. We are embracing the people God has sent us, and living the peace of God.

And with everything that’s been going on in the news lately, I suspect most congregations are ripe for a message of peace.

DR


Date:
30 Sep 1999
Time:
15:08:20

Comment

DR - Thanks! The Spirit spoke to me in something you said about focusing on the cup and where the wine was made. It triggered connections and stories in my own life that made the story come alive for me. Here it is... I hate sermon titles, but I'm calling it "The Aroma of God's Love"

One of the things I love about my daily walk on the Ct shoreline at this time of year is that as I walk through a small parking lot that leads to our neighborhood beach, the fragrant aroma of ripe wild grapes awakens my senses. The pungent smell brings back wonderful memories from my childhood in north Mississippi. At this time of year we would go out to my grandparents' place and drive my uncle's pickup under some tall trees covered with wild muscadine grape vines. We would shake the vines and down would come the the plump, dark reddish-purple grapes (Muscadines do not grow in clusters). We would gather them up and take them home where Mother would make fabulous muscadine cobblers and jelly. Muscadine cobbler with ice cream must be what they eat in heaven on World Communion Sunday because it is "out of this world" good! After I became an adult and MS voted down prohibition, a real treat when I went home was a bottle of muscadine wine made in a little winery over in the Delta at Sunflower. Uncorking the wine and sniffing the aroma was almost as good as eating muscadine cobbler. Drinking the wine was even better! But as far as I know, you can't get that muscadine wine anymore. For you see, one autumn after all the grapes were gathered and processed a disgruntled worker opened the vats and let the entire harvest run into the furrows of that delta soil. The loss of all the produce that year drove the owners out of business. The parable that Jesus tells in the temple to the religious leaders - clergy and lay - today is not unlike this story of the muscadine winery in the Mississippi Delta. Although Jesus' story is more violent for there is not destruction of the crop but beatings and murders of those sent to collect the crop from the tenants. Even the landowner's son is killed! The major difference in Jesus parable and this true story from Mississippi is that the landowner - obviously so rich - was not out of business, not destroyed by the tenants' destructive behavior. Jesus wanted those religious leaders and us today to know that God is not giving up in reaching out to us. And God is not giving up in expecting us to give what is rightly God's even if we think we are the heirs because we have destroyed the Son. As a matter of fact, we are heirs of the inheritance through that Son's death. We become heirs in our baptism. And every day we are given new opportunities to return to God the harvest of our labor in God's vineyard. Are we going to continue to kill God's servants? Just this week our daily paper carried the news of the ambush and deaths of two nuns, five church workers and seminary students in East Timor as they were returning from a mercy mission of carrying medicine and food to refugees displaced by the violence in that country. We are outraged when we hear such news. But how do we in our own church reject those whom God has sent to collect the harvest that God has commissioned us to bring in? How dare we think that what we have is ours, not God's? As you sip this grape juice today - although it is not a fragrant as muscadine wine - may you sense how much God loves you and to what extent God will go to reach you, and may you discover how much God expects of you and will continue to expect of you day in, day out all your life. Amen.

Caroline in CT/USA


Date:
30 Sep 1999
Time:
16:04:56

Comment

Do you really think Jesus was rebuking His own faith (jewish faith)? Or could it be that he was preaching to those who do not produce fruit? There are people of many faiths who do not produce fruit including our own. What will the cornerstone look like when He comes again, can we close ourselves off to any form of His coming again, or do we have the "secret" knowledge? Do we have "the law" so perfect that we will know the cornerstone when we see it? It's a little scary to open ourselves up to new ideas and new expressions OR even to accept the old expressions (jewish faith) to help inform us of His coming again. I choose fear.

Sully in Rome


Date:
30 Sep 1999
Time:
17:21:07

Comment

What ever happened to sharing illustrations?

Rick in Va


Date:
30 Sep 1999
Time:
18:46:33

Comment

Peace to all of you I am wondering how i can share this text form the perspective of Multicultural Issues. Someone mention the "soup" i am wondering if there is something else. I am working ina latio congregation! please reply

Jo


Date:
30 Sep 1999
Time:
19:09:02

Comment

There now appears to be two Rick in Va's or one imposter.

I am the Rick in Va that has hung out here now for more than a year. I'll be glad to change my moniker if the other Rick in Va would like me to and there's no trickery involved here.

You can let me know at Rickinva@desperatepreacher.com.

Otherwise, could the other Rick in Va, the one who has recently posted about sharing illustrations, who last week posted vague questions about someone named Paula, use another moniker. And please understand that there are ways of capturing domain names and IP addresses of those who post here under false pretenses or who are abusing their privileges. Once that information is captured, it takes little work to identify those who are abusing this site.

Thanks,

The (first) Rick in Va


Date:
30 Sep 1999
Time:
19:54:40

Comment

They wanted to arrest him[Jesus] when they realized THEY were the subject of the parable...

Just like so many on this site, when Jesus tells "OUR" parable we will answer the very same way because Jesus knows how to tell on each one of us...

Therefore, each one of us condemns their ownself...

But I have repented and have believed the words of Jesus...

In grace,

LJC


Date:
30 Sep 1999
Time:
19:57:56

Comment

9/30/99 Jeff in KS

Yes, I know it is a bit late to contribute to this weeks wonderful theological discussion, but I cannot resist. Our youth meet on Wednesday evenings and I have invited them to "name the sermon" even though I do not particularly care for titles of sermons. Last week was "grapes, grapes, grapes." and this week is Y-2-K. (That is for yield to the King!) Yes, thanks to all of you who posted regarding this weeks message being about stewardship. With all the fears of Y-2-K and losing everything, why not talk about how everything is God's. And even if we lose electricity and all the gems that go with it- we must "Yield to our King" Hope this inspires others as much as it did me. God's peace...Jeff in Ks.


Date:
30 Sep 1999
Time:
20:34:46

Comment

To Sully in Rome: From the text we read: "They wanted to arrest him[Jesus] when they realized THEY were the subject of the parable..." Jesus was rejecting his Jewish leaders, not his Jewish faith. Jesus made it very clear throughout the New Testament that he rejected the proud Pharisees, Scribes and others who felt they had earned their salvation through the Law. Revup. (For SDOP, who asked, the ordained revup)


Date:
30 Sep 1999
Time:
21:14:21

Comment

OFF TOPIC (Answers to SDOP's questions:) "what does ... go and sin no more mean?..." It means to repent, confess what you did was contrary to God's law and/or will and try to never do it again.

"Do I have to give up my girlfriend or just the sex??" Yup, you better give up the girlfriend and obey your marriage vows to be faithful to your own spouse.

Yup, I am ordained and a real Pastor, with papers and churches and parishoners and everything else. Now, please go back to a proper discussion, as most of us wish. revup


Date:
30 Sep 1999
Time:
21:34:11

Comment

Thanks RIP in MT. But that's what I was fearing Herzog would say. Confirming that absentee landlords were pretty vile. Just the kind of fellows the Hebrew prophets were ranting about. So then, why would Jesus place God in that role in parables? Has there been some misinterpretation or appropriation somewhere along the line?

Your take seems to be: ownership leads to nastiness toward others. So then.... what? Be content as a steward and leave ownership to God who hopefully treats us better?

God's ownership in the OT ("everyone beneath their vine and fig tree") seems a lot more pallitable than the exploitative ownership seen in this NT parable. Now that's a switch.

Still a bit perplexed. pHil


Date:
30 Sep 1999
Time:
22:04:43

Comment

Caroline in CT/USA

Thanks for sharing your beautiful memory.

DR


Date:
30 Sep 1999
Time:
22:10:22

Comment

Well, I must say that reading your insights has been inspiring, funny, and frustrating. First, the challenges to deepen our understanding of producing fruit of the Kingdom has helped to crystalize some thinking. The banter about wife/girlfriend (open/closed church) was actually funny, especially the humming a few bars idea. And frustrating was the willingness to un-critically apply this text to Jews. For heavens sake, please either re-criticque this and all texts for today, or, at the very least, let people know that those were the Jews to whom Jesus was speaking. Judaism, I do not believe, was ever denegrated in whole by the Church -- that is why Christians have two testaments -- the one does NOT supercede the other. As my mentors have taught me -- DON'T EVER preach, or speak a word, that a Jew living in the Holocaust could not stand to hear.

As for the sermon that I am being called to preach this Sunday, it's entitled Crushed Grapes, focusing on responsiblility -- on the production of fruits in the Kingdom of God. Of how that produce, as in grapes in Isaiah 5, are symbols of justice. Exploring justice, and what it looks like, for, in the end, that is what God's vineyard looks like (Is 5). And anything less than justice will be crushed. And, so it is, that we come to the Table (which we do each week) to receive God's gift, yet again!!!! Will these grapes be crushed? Or will they produce justice?

Something like that....

InterfaithREV


Date:
01 Oct 1999
Time:
00:11:12

Comment

I have much compassion for these laborers in the vineyard - I wouldn't want someone to come and take a way the harvest that I have worked so hard to bring forth (ofcourse being in the ministry is a little like that, leaving and letting someone else finish!!!). But there is what Soren Kiekegaard called "shut-upness" and unwillingness to find life outside of self, and unwillingness to acknowledge that there is more to reality than what we think or do. The laborers are extremely lonely, and whether or not they are the Jews of Isaiah 5 or the Jews of Matthew 21 doesn't really matter for the laborers are us unwilling to accept life as a true gift.

tom in ga


Date:
01 Oct 1999
Time:
01:12:48

Comment

AMEN to preachers not needing to antisemitic. There is enough hatred in the world without using our pulpits to enrage people against the chosen people. I am going a different direction. To me, this is a story of "tough love" and allowing people to reap the natural consequences of their sin. In verse 21:41 They said to him, "He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the harvest time." It is not for us to judge, but leave the punishment to God (the vineyard owner). Does that work???? revup


Date:
01 Oct 1999
Time:
01:13:46

Comment

AMEN to preachers not needing to antisemitic. There is enough hatred in the world without using our pulpits to enrage people against the chosen people. I am going a different direction. To me, this is a story of "tough love" and allowing people to reap the natural consequences of their sin. In verse 21:41 They said to him, "He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the harvest time." It is not for us to judge, but leave the punishment to God (the vineyard owner). Does that work???? revup


Date:
01 Oct 1999
Time:
02:23:01

Comment

“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.”

As you prepare for this weeks sermons I will be using this text next week – as part of the Celebration of Fellowship Sunday – the Anniversary of the founding of the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches (UFMCC). The date of founding was October 6, 1968 – as one church in Los Angeles in the Living Room of Rev. Troy Perry with 12 people present.

Amazing what God has done in these years! God has given the Kingdom to this small band of travelers and blessed to the point of there being 44,000+ members of UFMCC now, and 500,000 attending each year, in 300 Churches. God is giving to those producing the fruit of the Kingdom. This is the year that we celebrate 31 years of God tending the fields and multiplying the faithful.

You see this Fellowship reaches people that no one else wants. We are a people that have not rejected the prostitutes, tax collectors and other undesirables of our day. When the Cuban Boat Crisis occurred we housed more people than any other denomination (including the UMC and Southern Baptists) in the US – little is much when God is in it. When we applied for Membership in the National Council of Churches we held a traditional MCC Worship Celebration and the people from the delegates were amazed that we did not blink at offering communion to them – even though in many of their churches we would be told that we were not welcome to participate in the Marriage Feast of the Lamb. We were assured of not being allowed in – because we ministered to communities that they did not want to deal with. In that same Celebration our Elders and the Moderator were clear that to be a true Church of Christ we did not have to have their blessing or permission – that we already were one.

God has not blessed us because we are the same – but because we are different – and dare to be. God has blessed us because we have “produced the fruits of the kingdom.” Healing, reconciliation and Love. These are not easy to teach to a people that feel the pain of rejection and bitterness of hatred – all in the name of God. I must say that I feel for the one that has parishioners that do not believe that Gays and Lesbians should not be in their churches. What I have found is that they tend to be a people that are hardened in their hearts – my way or no way.

Yes, UFMCC is a predominately Gay and Lesbian Church – but it is to such a people that God has given the Kingdom. Many say that it is not God – but only God could have done what we see. There are not many churches that are growing in that manner – but it is not us – it has to be the Lord of the Harvest that is working the greatness of this miracle – this Exodus.

Lord Jesus, may you find us faithful and producing the fruits of your Kingdom – lest we too lose the power of your presence. May each that includes those of us that are Queer (Gay/ Lesbian, Bisexual, transsexual, straight but not narrow, our friends and our allies) be blessed in your ministries with power from on high. I remain with you

In Christ’s Love and Service Greg in Nashville

PS: Kelly in Tacoma - If they will leave because someone started attending that they do not like - or that they decided was sinner - you are better without them. I have found that for every one that is a grumbler like that I have two to four workers join in the vineyard.


Date:
01 Oct 1999
Time:
02:46:34

Comment

Greg,

When you say, gay/lesbian, etc...are you talking about practicing ones???

Or or you talking about that was their past life style???

you know a group approached me that likes sex with animals... they want to form their own christian church...can you give them some pointers so they can get started like you did??

DS


Date:
01 Oct 1999
Time:
02:53:53

Comment

Friends in CHRIST I realize this is very late, but.....

Ken, It sounds as though we are heading in the same direction. I am preaching "GOD NEVER gives up!" Basically that GOD sent many prophets and even sent his son, and after all that mankind has done and continues to do GOD still never gives up on us. I will use the following references to support the prophets being stoned, beaten, and killed: 1Ki 18:13,22:24-27,2Ki 6:31,2Ch24:19-22,36:15,16 (English-KJV).

Pastor Keith


Date:
01 Oct 1999
Time:
03:43:15

Comment

I asked a few weeks ago where some of our "regulars" have gone to...........it's no wonder they have left the scene. This is no longer dialogue. DS, you were way out of line. Greg was speaking honestly and reflecting well his own experience as it relates to this week's text (thanks Greg).

Frank, what's going on here??? Why should I, or anyone, make a thoughtful contribution to this forum or the discussion site? The risk is extremely high right now that such posts will result in being attacked personally.

Saddened, SueCan


Date:
01 Oct 1999
Time:
04:49:04

Comment

OFF SUBJECT: SueCan, I was saddened not only by DS, but by Greg's broad brushed condemnation of other more conservative churches. I read Greg's comments as boasting of his denomination by name and putting down others BY NAME. This site is not about bragging how much better the UMC or UFMCC is than the Baptists or anyone else. (By the way, saying we "reject those who are different" perpetuates myths that are not healthy.) When one puts down others on this site, whether conservative or liberal, it invites retaliation. Why do we have to attack and put others down on this site, liberal or conservative? Can't we stick to the text? Revup


Date:
01 Oct 1999
Time:
05:27:31

Comment

What is the harvest - the fruits - that God is looking for from his vineyard? We tend to think that if we only try hard enough we can produce these fruits. But the fruit that God is looking for comes only when we surrender ourselves to his will and to the Holy Spirit. And the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience,kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Galations 5:22-23a JG in NJ


Date:
01 Oct 1999
Time:
08:16:53

Comment

We get off the topic and focus on others, be that the people of faith in Jesus time or on one another. It seems to me that the question is, "How am I rejecting Christ?" - in the words I speak (or write) and the life I live? How can I live more a more faithful life?

Revlunn in Hawaii


Date:
01 Oct 1999
Time:
13:52:23

Comment

Keith, Thanks for the Scripture references. Very helpful.

Ken


Date:
01 Oct 1999
Time:
18:30:31

Comment

JG in NJ -- You nailed it.

We have no power of our own to produce fruit. Too often I side with the tenants believing I can produce the fruit on my own -- and oh how the Holy Spirit has a way of tripping me up and showing me how foolish I am. The I want MY ministry to go NEVER turns out the way I want. Being OPEN to that force is when fruit is produced.

Sully in Rome


Date:
01 Oct 1999
Time:
18:48:29

Comment

Friday October 1st

Praise the Lord for telling us the truth and for Jesus who could speak in parables so that those he hoped to reach could understand. Who knows? Maybe some of those chief priests and elders and Pharisies (spelling) would one day remember Jesus's words and choose to grow on the cornerstone and not be crushed by it. Hum, what about Paul? He certainly heard of Jesus and was ready to stone his followers. But, look at what happened to him when he changed and responded in the right direction to Jesus. As to the obnoxious question raised by Jim, as to where to worship with his sexpartner who is not his wife, there is no place. Jim, you will find no peace with God and he will not accept your worship as you wantonly continue in your sin. God loves you, but you must change your practice and your attitude. You see, that was the message that Jesus had for those phony religious folks around him. Change or die. Accept the Love and discipline of the Father as demonstrated through me or I will fall on you and crush you. Dale in Kansas


Date:
01 Oct 1999
Time:
21:53:41

Comment

A fifth grade teacher in a Christian school asked her class to look at TV commercials and see if they could use them in some way to communicate ideas about God.

Here are some of the results:

God is like BAYER ASPIRIN - -He works miracles. God is like a FORD - -He's got a better idea. God is like COKE - -He's the real thing. God is like TIDE - -He gets the stains out that others leave behind. God is like GENERAL ELECTRIC - -He brings good things to life. God is like SEARS - -He has everything. God is like ALKA-SELTZER - -Try him - you'll like him. God is like SCOTCH TAPE - -You can't see him, but you know He's there. God is like DELTA - -He's ready when you are. God is like ALLSTATE - -You're in good hands with Him. God is like VO-5 Hair Spray - -He holds through all kinds of weather. God is like DIAL SOAP - -Aren't you glad you have Him. Don't you wish everybody did. God is like the U.S. POST OFFICE - -Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor ice will keep Him from His appointed destination.

--------------------------------------------------

These two are especially good for this week: God is like HALLMARK CARDS - - He cares enough to send his very best. God is like the energizer bunny - - his love and care for us keeps going on and on.

MH in OH


Date:
01 Oct 1999
Time:
22:39:59

Comment

I came to you. I came in the hands of a homeless recovering addict. George, beautiful George with his crusty broken hands and his worn face. George who sat in front of an old woman’s stove and scraped rat droppings off the dirty linoleum floor. George who looked up from that servant’s perch, smiled, and exclaimed, “Isn’t it wonderful.” I came to offer the wine of my life and you killed me with your indifference.

I came to you. I came in the actions of a young welfare mother living in a broken-down trailer. Sherrell, beautiful Sherrell, my daughter, my child, with her non-standard speech and her shattered life. Sherrell whose poverty was as real as her aloneness. “Not even enough to rub two nickles together,” she would say. Sherrell who cared for the children of addicts, children whom no one else wanted. Sherrell who loved enough to run an extension cord from her trailer to the their trailer after their electricity was disconnected during the sweltering heat of the summer. “What about them children,” she said, “What about them children?” I came to offer you the beauty of the vineyard of her life and you killed me with your disgust – “those people.”

I came to you. I came in the hunger of a young boy. A nameless child going from New York to Florida, or Florida to New York, as if it really mattered. A child who would not lie in his own bed this night, or the next, or the next. I came to you in his smile. I came to you in his innocence. I came to you in his need. And as he looked at a box of donated beans, his eyes grew wide and he whispered, “Mommy, is this all for us?!” I came to offer the possibility of compassion, yet you killed me with your business.

I came to you. I came in the lives of that most wonderful couple – Mr. and Mrs. Gaddy, that wonderful couple so full of the wisdom of the ages. Those kindly neighbors who always seemed to find the beauty of my creation. Neighbors who never responded in anger, even when they heard those destructive words. Word which told them where they could not sit, and where they could not eat – where they could not go and where they could not drink. That beautiful couple of God who heard words that hurt and dehumanized and demeaned. I came to you in them. I came to offer the fullness of my inheritance of love, but you killed me with your hate.

I came to you in the voices of those who are not like you. I came in the voices of the Baptist. I came in the voices of the Methodist. I came to you in the voices of the Metropolitan and the Unitarian, the Presbyterian and the Catholic. I came to you in the voices of the Muslim and the Jew and the Hindu. I came to you in the voices of all of my creation – in the whole of my cosmos. I came to you but you killed me by your refussal to hear my voice in the voices of one another.

I came to you and continue to come each and every day. Please, my children, don’t you realize? In the killing of me, it is you who find death.

And all I offer is the simplicity of love, the simplicity of life.

Shalom,

Nail-Bender in NC


Date:
02 Oct 1999
Time:
00:44:49

Comment

Committing the unpardonable sin here - posting without reading - have you all read Barbara Brown Taylor's sermon in the book Gospel Medicine that deals with this passage. She paints the tenants in very sympathetic colors, but in the end, the vineyard still does not belong to them!

My lectionary group (Sinbad, where have you been?) came up with the idea that the law was the vineyard - when we try to take it over and make it ours, we mess up big time.

kbc in sc


Date:
02 Oct 1999
Time:
00:47:36

Comment

Question, re World Communion Sunday: Anyone ever just leave out the sermon entirely on a communion Sunday? I think I can guess . .

kbc in sc


Date:
02 Oct 1999
Time:
00:59:31

Comment

Thank you RIP in MT and Caroline in CT for your comments and memories on the text. After re-reading RIP's posting, I thought, "Interesting that the parable's hearers identified MORE with the absentee landowners and wanted the tenants squashed" I've also been thinking (mulling? sorry) over the idea that the hearers call for the tenants' destruction but the parable "displaces" the tenants instead. Also intriguing: Those hearing the parable were engaged enough with the story to suggest an ending (like Ibsen's plays?). Yet...when they realize the parable is ABOUT them...the hearers are ready to kill the storyteller (life imitates art?) Along with these little thoughts I offer my prayers for you all as you come to this site for ideas and interaction...and as we all "go to the well" seeking God's refreshing grace. BC of MT


Date:
02 Oct 1999
Time:
02:51:31

Comment

I was thinking since it was World communion Sunday, to abandon the lectionary (SHOCK!!) for just the Children's sermon. I am planning to bring in several different kinds of bread that are distinctive of different parts of the world, and share with the kids different ways of having communion.

Laura Seminary Intern in MA


Date:
02 Oct 1999
Time:
02:51:56

Comment

Hi, ya'll. Thanks for the insights: the "Bring A Friend Sunday" Sermon is "in the can" -- (I've posted it on the sermon review page) and hope you all have a great weekend/Sunday.

For Greg, SueCan and NailBender: Good to hear from you! Hang in there!

For DS: We've covered a lot of that ground in past posting sessions: please check out the Discussion Site if you'd like to "dialogue" on issues ... there's plenty of action there, believe me. In the meantime, respect for the diversity of experiences and opinions offered on this site would be much appreciated.

Blessings, Susan in San Pedro

Blessings, Susan in


Date:
02 Oct 1999
Time:
03:40:03

Comment

Saddenned is a good descriptive word for what I'm feeling as well.

DS asked an apropriate question and it is deemed an attack. Greg in Nashville makes broad-brushed statements and is placed on a pedestal (or worse yet, places himself on one).

Yes this is sad. God's judgment on His church is coming. Or the Scriptures are a lie.

Maybe it's the latter.

Rick in Va


Date:
02 Oct 1999
Time:
05:21:44

Comment

Thank you thank you thank you RIP, DR, and Caroline in CT for the 3 wonderful postings in a row on 9/30. The Holy Spirit truly used them to inspire me this week! They are truly nuggets of gold among some dross this go round. As others have saide, I see this passage pointing toward stewardship. Sometimes we think of stewardship as "how much should I give?" rather than a perspective on life, a reminder that all that we have belongs to God. Skipping ahead in the Lectionary a bit...as Jesus said, "render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's.."

And a quote to add to the fodder - I can't remember where it's from, I think I heard it in a sermon by Bruce Thielmann once... "We only own that which we are willing to give away. If we have something we are unwilling to let go of, we don't own it. IT owns US."

God's richest blessings to you all as we partake together this Sunday, Bo in KY


Date:
02 Oct 1999
Time:
20:10:36

Comment

TO ANSWER ? from "kbc in sc": I have heard a few sermons that SHOULD have been left out. But I have never heard of a pastor who did not think God had given him/her anything to say to make his/her parishioners better people. revup


Date:
02 Oct 1999
Time:
20:25:45

Comment

This Sunday is Women's Missionary League Sunday in our church. The national theme is "United With Christ to Serve." I am thinking of using the outline, 1) The church belongs to Christ; 2) It is His mission, not ours; 3) We are His Servants, entrusted with His kingdom. For an introduction I am thinking seriously of using the following: "Intro: The mayor of a city was pleased to have an art center in his fine metropolis. Many people came to see the fine works of art that had been collected or that were being put on display for the public. There were all kinds of art, surrealistic, modern, traditional, and ancient. But mostly, the artists produced good art. Then one day, the keepers of the art institute decided to permit depictions that had more shock value than artistic acumen. The mayor expressed his displeasure. But the keepers of the art institute decided they could do what they want with the public’s money. They began to regard it as their own. So one day, they stooped so low as to substitute elephant dung for art. They accepted depictions of the blessed Virgin Mary covered with images of pornography, and they decided to call it art. The leaders of the Catholic church were sent to explain that such depictions were not art, and that it shamed the catholic church. The Christian coalition explained that it was an insult to all Christians and a prominent senator exclaimed his disgust at what was going to be portrayed. So the mayor decided to withhold the public funding of the art institute, claiming that such a depiction was not fair-minded and could not be financed with public funds. Many people, and especially those who thought the art institute was theirs, raised a cry of protest. An outspoken governor said that organized religion was only for weak-minded people who had no will of their own. But the art institute opened the display anyway. The virgin Mary was depicted, covered with elephant dung and defaced by pornographic descriptions. And the landowner in the parable realized that the Son he had sent to earth to be born of a virgin had been put to death again." Reactions or corrections are welcome, even at this late hour. Is this applicable to the Gospel lesson? Stan in No. Wis.


Date:
03 Oct 1999
Time:
00:19:30

Comment

Stan,

NO, no, no...please do not use that IF you are making or trying to make any connection with this parable...

Please...

In grace,

LJC

P.S. You ask why? Simply no connection, the wrong connection totally without merit...


Date:
03 Oct 1999
Time:
03:18:44

Comment

I'm struck by the way we spin our arguments. My initial post was one of sharing my thoughts on the Scripture and my situation (what I think is the point of this particular arena of this particular page). I appreciate the responses that shared commentary, concern and comfort. However, the "question" that was raised (I will abide by the no name rules) had my screen dripping with sarcasm. If there is a legitimate question ask it forthright, rather than with slanderous venom. Since the question came my way, yes, I would welcome a man and his girlfriend and his wife. I would honor his request of me not to share his confidence, however, I would council him that I believe God does not value deception in human relationships.

As to the undertone of the Biblical example, I would have to struggle with what I think our culture and my denomination have to say, but where the Bible is at points supportive of polygamy.

It strikes me as funny how of the many laws and moral codes relating to sexuality in the Bible, we are fairly selective of the ones we uphold.

My questions of my brothers and sisters who hold the Bible so dear to them as to reject homosexuals are: do you "lie" with your wife when she is menstruating? For shame, you are unclean. do you allow divorced persons in your church. On this Jesus is clear. Do you perform weddings for divorced persons. Again, Jesus is clear (how many husbands or wives are you creating for them.)

I could launch into the discussion of cheese burgers and pepperoni pizza breaking a big kosher law. Or that I suspect that you have no women in church who do not wear some sort of head covering, and of course none of them speak, bear witness, serve as liturgist, lay speakers, or even children's moments, Paul - our favorite to quote from Romans on homosexuality- is very clear!

My point: I am not taking the Bible as a literal document for our daily living, but if you are or if you say you are, then do it to the letter and when you have upheld all the laws, go and sell all (that's ALL) that you have and give it to the poor. Then, I will be willing to hear your criticism and then I will call you messiah.

As for me, I will continue to listen to the Holy Spirit and attempt to understand the Bible as a historical document written in a specific context. And it does continue to provide testimony and guidance for our daily living. I especially like the part about "which of these is the greates...love God and love your neighbor."

Tonight I will pray for my enemies. May God open your heart to love, truly love all people. I know it's hard, I am struggling right now.

Peace,

Kelly in Tacoma


Date:
03 Oct 1999
Time:
05:29:14

Comment

I am generally a reader and not a poster. I enjoy the various insights into the texts and as a young'in, generally do not feel I have anything to add. I must say however, that I have appreciated the dialogue this week and most especially I have appreciated Kelly's recent post.

Andy in Alaska


Date:
03 Oct 1999
Time:
12:38:49

Comment

DS to K????? in Tacoma

Can I keep having sexual relations with my girlfriend while we attend where you go to church?

Now this would be with YOUR full knowledge.

I honored your request now honor mine and answer me.

DS


Date:
03 Oct 1999
Time:
13:02:23

Comment

Kelly, Thank you for your post. I too get frustrated with biblical literalists who selectively choose which scriptures to condemn people with. Fundamentalistic pharisical religiosity has caused much evil in our world. I feel the problem with trying to exhort people to be "good workers in the vineyard" is that for some, it is interpreted as being more zealous for religious principles which leads one back to condemnation of those whom they feel are not poperly jumping through their religious hoops. Rather, the zeal needs to be directed toward Christ and unconditional love of our neighbor. In that way we imitate the Master.

Henry in Iowa


Date:
03 Oct 1999
Time:
14:20:30

Comment

I have wadded thru this to a point of exasperation

I will say it for the group

DS "ShutUp" Kelly "Thank You"

grace&peace

rev in tulsa


Date:
03 Oct 1999
Time:
16:40:00

Comment

Rock on, Kelly in Tacoma!

Julie in Boston


Date:
03 Oct 1999
Time:
20:53:21

Comment

Though I still am not sure you've answered my question, or at least my criteria (ie. do you require hats on women, do you ban them from speaking, do you reject divorced people at the door, etc.)

However, since you ask, "Can I keep having sexual relations with my girlfriend while we attend where you go to church?

Now this would be with YOUR full knowledge."

First, I would ask, why it is that your are telling me about your sex life (since I know about it). I have yet to have a parishoner share such private information unless they feel ashamed, guilty or otherwise "bad" about it (by the way, no homosexual has come to me about feeling guilty about this lifestyle). If you are feeling such feelings, I would suggest that you stop the behavior that is causing you such guilt.

Since you missed it the first time, let me re-state, I would welcome a man and his girlfriend and his wife (just as I would think Christ would.) I would honor his request of me not to share his confidence, however, I would council him that I believe God does not value deception in human relationships.

As to can we continue having sexual relations while attending. First, I'm not sure how I would know this. Perhaps I could post video survelience in every home of my parishoners. Second, I'm not sure how I could stop it either. I would not be in favor of the behavior. Because I think it's unfair to the spouse to lie. I also think the man is very unhealthy and probably has some issues to work out before entering another relationship.

I'm more concerned at this point with the emotions and the imminent pain for all of them, than I am about their sexual behavior.

Now let me save you some time. If a man came to me telling me that his heterosexual relationship with is wife is no longer fulfilling and he thinks he might be gay, but he doesn't want his wife to know. I would counsel him the same way. I think he has many things to resolve before entering into a sexual relationship with another person (male of female.)

Now if you would be so kind, can you answer my questions about your belief structure? Do you adhere to all biblical laws or just a few of the sexual ones. If it's the latter, I'm concerned about why you are so preoccupied with sexuality. Might I suggest deep personal reflection and prayer. Why does a stranger's sexuality bother you more than the obvious greed and abuse of power that so many of our churches are filled with.

I am more deeply troubled by the fact that I cannot live up to Christ's command to share all things in common. I am bothered about my lack of trust in God that causes me to store up my treasures on earth in 401 K's and in savings accounts. I'm bothered by the fact that I'm thinking of saving some water in case Y2K does disrupt life. I'm bothered that I can drive by or walk by homeless people without looking into their eyes. I'm bothered that I have far more than I need while others die everyday from hunger.

Meanwhile, the church (and we - you and I) argue about whether or not someone can come into our churches based solely on what they do in their bedrooms.

I will pray for you, I invite you to pray for me. My sin is great and my pain intense.

Kelly in Tacoma