Tending the Vineyard
based on Matthew 21:33-46, Isaiah 5:1-7, Psalm 80:7-15
by Rev. Karen A. Goltz
From what I’ve
heard, vineyards are a huge investment. The vines have to be nurtured and
cultivated for years after they’re planted before they’re able to produce a
viable crop. Years of painstaking work, caring for these tiny, fragile vines,
but done with the hope and expectation that eventually these vines will produce
sweet fruit fit to be turned into the finest wines. The payoff of this fruit
makes it all worth it in the end; the expectation of that payoff turns all that
painstaking labor into a labor of love.
The owner of the vineyard in Matthew’s text
knows that his vines have produced a worthy harvest, but the tenants taking care
of the vineyard have seized the grapes for themselves, doing violence to the
slaves and even killing the son of the owner. They deny him the fruit of his
The owner of the vineyard in Isaiah’s text is
able to harvest his grapes, only there’s no reason for him to do so. He is
rewarded for all his hard work with a crop of wild grapes, sour, unusable. His
hopes and expectations for the sweet fruit of his labors go unfulfilled.
The psalmist paints a mournful
picture of a vine brought out of Egypt, lovingly cared for so it flourished,
only to be cut down, its fruit devoured by beasts of the land and strangers
Vineyards and grapes are all around us in these
readings, but none of these readings has anything to do with grapes or
full sermon manuscript.
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