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Weekly Liturgy : October 2 - 8

The Wicked Tenants, from Codex aureus Epternacensis Unknown Artist ©1030-50
The Wicked Tenants, from Codex aureus Epternacensis Unknown Artist ©1030-50
Matthew 21:33-46

NRSV Translation


33 "Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a watchtower. Then he leased it to tenants and went to another country.


34-40 When the harvest time had come, he sent his slaves to the tenants to collect his produce. But the tenants seized his slaves and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. Again he sent other slaves, more than the first; and they treated them in the same way. Finally he sent his son to them, saying, 'They will respect my son.' But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, 'This is the heir; come, let us kill him and get his inheritance.' So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?"


41 They said to him, "He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the harvest time."


42-44 Jesus said to them, "Have you never read in the scriptures: 'The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord's doing, and it is amazing in our eyes'? Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom. The one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and it will crush anyone on whom it falls."


45-46 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they realized that he was speaking about them. They wanted to arrest him, but they feared the crowds, because they regarded him as a prophet.

 

REFLECTIONS:


Thoughts from John: The common way to read this story is to interpret Jesus’ words as an indictment on Israel and its history with Yahweh and Yahweh’s prophets. (This way of reading is easy, because it’s the lesson the Pharisees get out of it!).


There’s also a reading that focuses on Jesus as the metaphorical “cornerstone.” This reading is fun because it can lead us to feeling secure that if we recognize Jesus for who he is, we apparently get to avoid a crushing death.


But then there’s a more challenging reading that sees Jesus articulating a pattern in the human experience: that in our perceptions of scarcity, and in our competitions for survival, wealth, and power, we humans like to use violence as a solution for solving problems. More, we like to believe that God sanctions the “good guys” to be violent toward the “bad guys.” It is this line of thinking that prompts Jesus to say, the kingdom will be taken from you and given to others.


May Jesus so save us from our violence. 



 

PRACTICE:


Outward Mindset Application

Find as many reasons as you can to say “thank you” to co-workers and guests this week.


Pathways Toward Centeredness

Intellectualism (Loving God through our mind):

Mantras can be really effective for centering ourselves in the midst of chaos. This week, try to develop a 3-5 word mantra that you can repeat in your mind when you feel overwhelmed.


Questions for Reflection

With whom do you tend to desire relationship. People who are violent or abrasive? Or people who are gentle and merciful?

What tips and tricks do you use to prevent violent or harmful responses toward others who anger you?

 

“Liturgy” refers to the habits and practices humans use to form community around shared values and meaning. At Church at the Park, we desire to be a community of practice, becoming people who see the world through the eyes of the marginalized, making meaning through the lens of pain and suffering, and committing ourselves to non-violence in a wounded world. This weekly email is intended to provide pathways of practice for becoming the type of people who embody these values.


Many of our reflections on each week's text come from other sources. If you're interested in reading more of what inspires us, here our our two favorite reflections.


Copyright (C) 2023 Church at the Park. All rights reserved.



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