Sermon for October 4, 2020 World Wide Communion
With the first cut the rough stone begins its journey of transformation toward part of a useful and beautiful whole that is brought about by the skill and imagination of the mason.
One of the teachings in the parable today reminds us that we so often choose to direct the path and plan of God by our own egos and self-interests. We just heard the parable so in short, it is about a vineyard owner who planted vines, built a press and protected that with a fence and watchtower. Acquired tenants and left them in charge. At the appointed time a steward arrived to collect a fair share of the profits and the tenants killed the steward. Another steward was sent with the same result. Then the son was sent, with the thinking that he would be respected, the son met the same fate. Now, the tenants thought the vineyard was theirs.
What you have rejected will become the cornerstone for the building of my kin-dom says the vineyard owner. The chief priests and Pharisees were not happy or amused as they knew deep down that the teaching was about them.
World Wide Communion Sunday and the preparation for this time has caused to me ponder the dilemma of ‘how do I reconcile others who believe in the same God and Jesus as me and yet proclaim a very different view of the interpretation of scripture and understanding of God and Jesus’? I must confess that I do not see eye to eye with some Christian ministers or teachers. By times I would even argue that from my perspective some teaching is just wrong. But as the parable teaches it is not for me to kill the messengers in order to play the role of God.
I, like all humans are like the rough ashlars of a mason who first gazes at the pile of rough stone in the quarry, chooses one and then decides how to chisel away the unnecessary bits until each stone is perfect and all stones when placed by the master form a beautiful and complete whole. So I wonder, are all Christian churches and proclaimers of the Christian message valid is some way? Are each being prepared as part of a greater whole that I and we are not capable of seeing? We each are chosen, we each take time with the teachings to shine bright and eventually we will, by God’s good graces complete a magnificent whole.
The teaching of Jesus in the parable today is a caution to set aside our ego, our desire for greed and our desire to be God and allow God to be God and we the as yet incomplete workings of the master.
The wonder of Communion, however it is celebrated across the traditions, whether you have bread or wafers of crackers, whether wine or grape juice or coffee, at homes or wherever the faithful and seekers are gathered is, that God in Jesus loves us just as we are, imperfect and perfect at the same time. Humans capable of love and cruel, joy and sorrow, seeking, lost and found all tied together by the unbreakable binds of the Holy Spirit. And we are left whispering and shouting our glorious hallelujahs.
And so in the name of Jesus who says ‘follow me’, come, join the others with Jesus at the table…please…Amen