Prayer: Dear God, may we produce fruit of the kingdom. Amen
Reading: Matthew 21: 33-46 (Click to read text)
Stop and GROW: After reading the text, discuss/ponder the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Book of Faith questions, which are part of Camp Mount Luther's GROW Time with campers.
QUESTION 1: What scares, confuses, challenges, or doesn’t make sense to me in this text?
QUESTION 2: What delights me in this text or is my favorite part of the story?
QUESTION 3: What stories or memories does this text stir in me?
QUESTION 4: What is God up to in this text?
Reflection: While not a gardener, I do enjoy cooking and baking the fruits of our garden. Occasionally, some produce goes bad before used and there is always a sad, disappointed feeling when that happens. It is important to honor my hard-working gardener with something special from the harvest of green beans, tomatoes, basil, raspberries, apples and, this year, grapes galore!
In our scripture reading today, Jesus tells a parable about a landowner who rented his vineyard to farmers. When harvest time came, the landowner sent servants to collect his fruit. The tenants beat up all the servants and then even killed the landowner's son who was sent last. Obviously, the landowner will bring those tenants to a wretched end and find tenants who will give him his share at the harvest time. (v. 41) This was unsettling to the chief priests and Pharisees as Jesus explained, "(The kingdom of God) will be given to a people who will produce its fruit." (v. 43)
I totally get the importance of the grapes in the parable. Of all the produce of our gardens, the grapes are special. Why? Because of grape pie! We once risked waking a sleeping infant to stop at a roadside stand to buy a grape pie in season. The baby woke and was fussy the rest of the trip but we had grape pie! Now years later, we have our own grape vine to make our own grape pies, freezing enough filling to make grape pies for the grown children home at Thanksgiving or Christmas. It's that important.
It's even more important to produce the fruit of the kingdom, too. --Ruth Gates
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