the Word: 17th Sunday after Pentecost

God speaks this week through these scriptures:

Isaiah 5:1-7The song of the vineyard
Psalm 80:7-15 Look down from heaven, O God; behold and tend this vine.
Philippians 3:4b-14Nothing surpasses the value of knowing Christ
Matthew 21:33-46The parable of the vineyard owner’s son

God has showered humanity with gifts and blessings, but humanity continues to abuse and turn away from those gifts.

In the days of Isaiah it was clear the people turned away from God’s gifts. God expected righteousness and justice. Instead the people responded with bloodshed and suffering, turning away from God.

Paul reminds us, “Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ” (Phil. 3:7). Even all of Paul’s good and faithful acts add up to nothing. For Paul, and for us, all that matters is Jesus.

Jesus tells a parable of the vineyard, an image of Israel, the prophets’ mission, and Christ’s death. The vineyard also speaks of God’s love poured out in the blood of Christ, given to us for the forgiveness of sin. Christ himself reminds us, he is our rock, our cornerstone. Jesus is the foundation for our faith and the foundation for our lives.

We are called to accept and honor Christ, and even as we turn from and reject Jesus, he returns to us with love and forgiveness. This is the grace of God, the love of God coming into our world and into our lives. To our joy we discover the open arms of Jesus on the cross, bringing life into this world even where there is death; bringing hope where there is despair; and bringing resurrection to all creation.

Come on Sunday to worship Christ, the Son of God, the cornerstone who secures our lives; to be nourished with wine and bread at the Table, and strengthened that we may share Christ’s sufferings and know the power of his resurrection.

–from and Gail Ramshaw–

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