The Gospel for this week
Jesus said, “Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a watchtower. Then he leased it to tenants and went to another country. When the harvest time had come, he sent his slaves to the tenants to collect his produce. But the tenants seized his slaves and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. Again he sent other slaves, more than the first; and they treated them in the same way. Finally he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him and get his inheritance.” So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” 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.”
Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in 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’?
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. The one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and it will crush anyone on whom it falls.”
When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they realized that he was speaking about them. They wanted to arrest him, but they feared the crowds, because they regarded him as a prophet.
Every time I hear this particular Gospel I think to myself “what did they hope to gain by killing the slaves and the landowner?” Current pastoral reflection on this Gospel suggests at the landowner as being God, the heir as Jesus and the people of God as the tenants. After all our ancestors, killed Jesus. He has become the cornerstone on which the church is built. This was God’s plan. It doesn’t make it any easier to swallow for me.
I won’t rehash my reservation with Christ’s death anymore then I previously have. But I will say I am forever grateful for Christ’s resurrection and ascension. Looking at the parable while newly labeling who’s who brings a new feeling to it for me at least.
This past week The Episcopal Church in Minnesota held its convention virtually. Your convention representatives were David Kroger and Alexis Roy. Deacon George Ham and I attended as well. It was truly a different experience in this time of Covid to not be in the same space with one another. Our business meeting was on Friday night and all elections and business was conducted with the aid of a voting platform similar to the one we use to elect the 10th bishop of MN. A window would open on our screen and we were given about 30 seconds to vote and then the window would disappear. It all seemed to work rather well and I don’t think this technology will be going away any time soon.
On Saturday we had access to three workshops (1) Exploring ECMN Priorities with Rev. Lisa Weins Heinshon which were detailed as being Discipleship: Practicing the way of Jesus, Faithful Innovation: Boldly embracing a changing church, Justice: Becoming the beloved community, and Vitality: Growing where you are planted. (2) Justice: Introduction to Sacred Ground: A Film-Based Dialogue Series On Race & Faith presented by Katrina Browne and Rev. Isaiah Shaneequa Brokenleg. This was just a brief introduction which can be undertaken by any faith community but involves a good amount of time and congregation buy-in in the areas of race reconciliation. (3) Innovation and Vitality a Radical Revisioning of Church presented by Rev. Mary Groeninger of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Ely, MN Rev. Groeninger talked about programs and missions that they are doing in a small congregation to sustain and nourish not just their congregation but others as well.
On Sunday an ECMN wide worship service was held and presided over by our Bishop Craig Loya. A link to all workshops, Bishop Loya’s address and the closing worship service is provided here.
This week we return to our online worship on Sunday morning at 10:00 am. I hope to see you there. Until then God’s peace be with you.