Isaiah 5:1-7; Phil. 3:4b-14; Matthew 21:33-46
We live close to lush, verdant and fruitful vineyards — an important part of the culture and economy of the Bay Area. The vineyard is a familiar image and metaphor for us. A metaphor is a figure of speech regarded as representing or symbolizing something else, especially something abstract.
This image appears to us today in our reading from Isaiah: the vineyard represents the Beloved, the holy nation, Israel and its people, the spiritual community.
Jesus engages this metaphor in the parable of our Gospel. We see, in our mind’s eye, the landowner planting his vineyard, encircling it with a fence, digging a wine press and building a watchtower. The tenants to whom he leased this vineyard kill the owner’s slaves who come to harvest the grapes. And when the owner sends his own son, he is also thrown out of the vineyard and killed. The owner then puts these miserable tenants to death and leases his vineyard to new tenants who will give him the produce at harvest time.
Jesus gives us the message of this parable: the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who produce the fruits of the kingdom.
We are asked to tend the vineyard of our spiritual community with the same attention, devotion and zeal shown by the Beloved in Isaiah. Where is your vineyard? And how can you produce more and better fruit?
Connie Holmes is a retired clinical psychologist and has been a member of the Episcopal Church since 1989. She is a second-year member of EfM, a lector and a member of the Congregation Council.