Sunday, August 11, 2013

Looking Forward to AUgust 18, 2013 -- 13th After Pentecost, Proper 15C

The Scripture Readings this week are:
  • Isaiah 5:1-7
  • Psalm 80:1-2, 8-19
The Sermon title is Renewing the Vineyard 

Early Thoughts: What shape is your garden in? 

The image of the vineyard as a metaphor for the land of God is fairly common.  And of course the Scripture story both begins and ends in a garden.  Which makes us wonder who is caring for the vineyard?  ANd if the vineyard starts to fail how do we renew it?

What shape is the vineyard in?

As the church has developed over the centuries there has been a misguided understanding that the church is the vineyard (it isn't, it is a part of the vineyard--the vineyard is the Kingdom of God, or in this passage it is the kingdom of Judah).  Some churches have even called themselves Vineyard churches.  ANd while the church is not the whole vineyard, it is a part.  And we each have a responsibility to tend that part of the vineyard where we dwell.
So what shape is our part of the vineyard in?

And more to the point, if we sense the vineyard is falling into a state of disarray, how do we renew it?

Isaiah suggests that the vineyard falls into disarray when the caretakers don't follow the instructions, when they go their own way, when things are allowed to go wild.  So to renew the vineyard we have to stop and listen.  We have to pull ourselves back to the path.  ANd if we can't renew it maybe it will go back to the wilder part of the greater garden.

We renew the vineyard by trusting in the Gardener.  We bring life back by listening to the Voice of the One who has a vision.  It may be a different vineyard than what was there before.  It may be wilder, less controlled.  The protective fence may be gone, and that may be a good thing.  We need to catch the vision, so that life will come back to the vineyard.

How can we tend the part of the vineyard where we live????
How will we????

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