WHAT TO DO

  • Listen to your favorite worship song.
  • Read the Biblical Text and Thoughts
  • Sit in silence and Meditate on the words
  • Journal what you hear from the Holy Spirit
  • Read the prayer and add to it as the Holy Spirit Leads

BIBLICAL TEXT

Mark 12:1-12 NIV

THOUGHTS –

Last week we looked at Jesus as the vine from John’s gospel.   This week I would like you to spend some time in Mark 12:1-12.  Read it in different translations.  When you have spent some time reading it come back to these worship thoughts.

READ MARK 12:1-12

The writer of Mark only had 2 major parables recorded.  The Sowing in Chapter 4 and this parable of the Vineyard workers / servants.  To understand the context in which the parable was delivered – there were many absentee owners of vineyards.  They would hire / appoint a person to oversee the tenants who would work the vineyard.  What made the parable real to the hearers was that it was something they knew – working the land / farming.  For most of us that is a pretty foreign view – we tend to be consumers and not producers.

The Jewish contingent would have probably had Isaiah’s words in mind.  What we record as Isaiah 5:1-2 where Israel is seen as the vineyard of God.

Throughout Jewish history God sent numerous people to speak into the life of the Hebrew people to draw near to God – Jeremiah, Isaiah, John the Baptist, and ultimately His Son Jesus.

By the way, if you jumped back to the parable in Chapter 04 – bad farmers did not stop God’s harvest.

What struck me in the Mark 12 parable was the distinction between the vineyard and the tenants who were to tend to the Vineyard.  God loves the vineyard and has distain for the tenants.  Oh, let me help you here.  The tenants are the religious leaders of the day.  

The first nine verses lead you to the climax of the parable – the owner was going to kill the tenants and give the vineyard to others who will work the vineyard.  Ouch.  Really, God will destroy those entrusted to care (who did not do what was needed) and give the vineyard to others who will.

Modern day, look at that verse.  God is so concerned with the vineyard (people far from him) that he will kill (destroy, remove) those entrusted to care for the vineyard (people far from him / the world) and put others in place that will care for the vineyard as he desires.

Fast forward to today.  The local expression of the the Body of Christ (the local gathering often called the church) are the tenants.  We have been called by Jesus to tend to the vineyard – to bear fruit.  Remember, if we do not bear fruit, we are not connected to the vine!  Depending on the circumstance, I often share these words that have been part of my vocabulary and understanding for as long as I can remember:  If I don’t share Jesus and the Kingdom with my family, friends, neighbors, work place, and third spaces (places we frequent) what I am actually saying that is that it is perfectly acceptable that my family, friends, neighbors, workplace, and third spaces spend eternity separated from that which I profess to value – the Kingdom as revealed in and through Jesus in which the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit inhabit.  In short, it is ok that my family, friends, neighbors, workplace and third spaces all find their eternal home in hell.

Fortunately, the owner of the Vineyard has other plans for His Vineyard.  He will remove me (and you) so that others, if we do not tend to the vineyard, so others can step in the tend to the Vineyard.  The owner of the vineyard will allow the local expression of the Body of Christ, that are not making disciples, to cease to exist.  It can be a slow agonizing death or a quick death when another local Body of Christ comes to the vineyard and begins to care for the vineyard.

The owner of the Vineyard – like the parable shared – will continually reach out to the tenants.  So there is grace and mercy, for those tenants who return to the vineyard owner what is asked of them – make disciples that multiply, and multiply, and multiply.

As we un-suspend.  Are we going to work the vineyard and offer to the owner the bounty of our work for Him.  Or are we going to be…………………………………

PRAYER

Lord, we fall down and worship you.  We have made a mess of your vineyard.  We have embraced self-centeredness. We have embraced hatred to those who are Black, Brown. Hispanic, Latino, Asian, and Native to this land.  We have embraced politics over faith.  We claim to be blue or red and do not claim the way of the Kingdom.

Lord, lead us to bring Your kingdom to the vineyard.  Let us set aside our self-centeredness and use all possible means to tend to the harvest.  Let us love Black, Brown, Hispanic, Latino, Asian, and Natives of this land as Jesus loves them.  Let us hold faith above the rhetoric of politics and soundbites.  Let us embrace the Kingdom ethic and put aside the ethic politics.

Lord, we are people of the Way, committed to care and nurture Your vineyard.  We will make disciples who make disciples.  If we do not, remove us and place others who will in this vineyard.

AMEN.

VIDEO

Seth and Nirva – Brother (3:22)

Rend Collective – Build Your Kingdom Here *Live at EO Youth Day* (8:02)

Rend Collective – I CHOOSE TO WORSHIP (Acoustic Performance) (4:24)

UPDATE ON GATHERING TOGETHER

You have received, the letter from the Leadership Team on how we will move to Un-Suspend.  We are still targeting July 05 as our first gathering.  This is subject to the guidance of The River Conference leadership, Free Methodist Church USA leadership, and the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  At the time of this writing – the Governor has released the guidelines for un-suspending.

There will be noticeable differences in how we gather safely.  No pews, not embracing (hugs, handshakes, etc), chairs located 6 feet apart, for families who reside in the same household to sit together (we are developing a DRAFT chart for seating to accommodate adequate distancing), and masks for the protection of others.

Our Bishops in a recent response said it best—-

Our mission, to Love God, Love People, and Make Disciples is not, nor has it been, compromised during this season of physical distancing. We will continue to be essential even as we live out our mission house to house, in our communities, and through our collective service for Jesus’ sake. 

PLEASE CONTINUE TO MAIL YOUR TITHES AND OFFERINGS

We are close to meeting most of our obligation in terms of ministry distributions (preparations to un-suspend, tithes to the Conference, utilities, insurance, and pastoral leadership).  Thank you!