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8:30AM, 9:45AM in the hall, or 11AM

Location:
7150 Pines Blvd
Pembroke Pines, FL 33024
The SE corner of Pines Blvd and 72nd Ave
Across the street from Broward college South Campus lake
(954) 989-1903
tlcppines@gmail.com


Join Us For Worship!

Join Us For Worship!
Sundays at 8:30AM, 9:45AM, and 11AM

Featured Post

Advent Meditation on Joseph

The reading for Sunday, December 17, 2017: Matthew 1:18-25 This Sunday we read about an angel appearing to Joseph in a dream. We've no...

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Week 2 of the Grumbling Grape Growers

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott


Our text for Sunday:  Matthew 20:1-16


I've often thought that these parables that use work metaphors are less useful to those of us toiling in the 21st century--and I've wondered how the contemporaries of Jesus would hear this parable.

We can see this as a parable about fairness, about mercy, about having enough.  The parable shifted for me with a comment that someone made at a retreat at Lutheridge--what if we didn't use the metaphor of work, but used the metaphor of a party?

Those of us who come early get to drink more wine, eat more goodies, and engage in more hours of intense conversation.  We get to spend more quality time with our host.  Those who come later will still get to drink wine, eat goodies, converse, and have quality time.  The wine won't have soured, the goodies won't have molded, the conversation won't have dwindled, the host won't be tired and wishing that everyone would just go home.  The party will still be intensely wonderful.  But those who come late won't have as much time to enjoy it.

God does call us to toil in the vineyard.  But toil is the wrong word, or at least, in our world, it has negative connotations that can't be easily overcome.

Don't think of it as the kind of work you had to do in that soul-deadening job with that boss who delighted in tormenting you.  It's not that kind of work.  It's also not the kind of work where it's OK to just show up and keep the seat warm, wondering when it will be time to return home, to the place you'd rather be (which would be Heaven, in this metaphor, I suppose).

Instead, God's work is like that enriching job, the one where you were challenged, but not overwhelmed.  God's work engages you on every level and you look up at the end of the work day, amazed at how time has passed and how involved you have become.  At the end of God's work day, you're amazed at all you've been able to accomplish.
 
If you think about the vineyard in the parable in that way, it's easier to see that those who came late had their needs met, just the way that the people who came early did.  But those who came early had more of a chance to do the soul-enriching work--which doesn't keep them from complaining.

 God calls us to partnership in an amazing creative endeavour.  We're called to transform the world, to help reclaim the world for God's vision.  In Surprised by Hope, Bishop N. T. Wright reminds us, "But what we can and must do in the present, if we are obedient to the gospel, if we are following Jesus, and if we are indwelt, energized, and directed by the Spirit, is to build for the kingdom.  This brings us back to 1 Corinthians 15:58 once more:  what you do in the Lord is not in vain.  You are not oiling the wheels of a machine that's about to roll over a cliff" (208).

The ways that we can do this Kingdom work are varied, from helping the poor, to enjoying a good meal, to writing a poem, to consoling a friend, to playing with your dog, to painting . . . the list is as long as there are humans in the world.  Wright assures us that "God gloriously honors all kinds of ways of announcing the good news" (226).

Do the kind of creating that involves you on many levels, that makes you lose your sense of time, that leaves you unmoored in your wonder at the beauty of creation.  That's the work that God calls us to do. 

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