What is the Kingdom? we get our first glimpse in the garden…harmony, the reality of what communion really is, and should be…God, humanity and creation as one. We see the prophets continuously, like editors in the script of the human story popping up…to re-focus us to fix the injustice of broken communion. Not just make me better, me and God being soul mates…but this beautiful interconnectedness of the three, God, humanity and creation.
It get’s to the point much like the parable where after the vineyard owners have killed all the messengers…the master finally sends his own son.
Here’s another story. Gather around and listen closely. There once was a an owner ( God, creator), a person with a green thumb, abundantly wealthy, generous and gracious who planted a vineyard (creation). He fenced it, dug a wine-press, and put up a watchtower, then turned it over to his farmhands ( humanity ) and then left for a far away trip.
When the time arrived for it to bear fruit ( the fullness of the Kingdom ), he sent his servants ( the prophets ) to check on them. But the farmhands ( humanity, the empire, religion ) beat some and killed others. The farmhands grabbed the first servant and beat him up. The next one they murdered. They threw stones at the third but he got away. The owner tried again, sending more servants. They got the same treatment.
Finally, the owner ( God ) sent his son ( Jesus ), saying, “Surely they will reverence my son.” But this was not the case. They laid hold of him, cast him out, and killed him.
“Now, when the owner of the vineyard arrives home from his trip, what do you think he will do to the farmhands?” ( my paraphrase Matthew 21:33-46 )
This parable is directed at all of us, the empire of the day, the religion of the day and humanity that turns a blind eye to the witness of a brutal premeditated murder. Jesus is saying to us, ” God leased this land to you. He entered into a covenant with you ( read Genesis ) in good faith, expecting you to carry out your end of the bargain. He sent his servants to you. These were the prophets. And what did you do to them?
” Well, we took up a ” love offering ” gave them an honorarium thanked them for their godly words, and told them to come back.”
No that’s not what they did back then. Back in those days, prophets understood the economy of language…they made every word count. The preached in a way that was as clear a bell, and everyone could understand. And by the time, Mr. prophet made is point. rocks were coming at him from all directions.
After God hadn’t recieved any messages from home, concerned he sent more servants. So he sent Isaiah, Amos, Micah, Obadiah and Malachi. But the tenants took them to0 and beat and killed them. ” Oh”, God thought, ” WTF! what kind of people did I rent my vineyard to?” ” What am I going to do now, shit, if they won’t listen to my servants…who’s left?”
” I’m going to send my boy. And he’ll carry my authority, and surely when they see him, and hear him, they will have the respect for him that they have for me.” ” Yes, I’m going to send my son.”
God loved his creation, the tenants of his vineyeard so much that he sent his only son. He came into the midst, among his own and they did not recognize, greet or recieve him. They took him outside the vineyeard, and a hillside, beat and lynched him…hanging him on a tree.
It is obvious this story Jesus tells is about himself, so I’ll ask you as a crime scene investigator…is this a suicide, a ritual sacrifice for sin? Is it the scene of an irresponsible father who knowingly sent his son to be brutally killed? Or, is it premeditated murder by unruly tenants?
Think about…I’ll pick it up tomorrow or the next day? Feel free to add your comment.