I read a fantastic article this week that spoke of the fact that we tend to eat each other up, on issues where we have different opinions. You can read the article at this link.
It struck me as I read it, and then read again the passage for this coming Sunday Proper 22 year A, that nothing has changed.
Jesus tells a parable of the wicked tenants who keep killing those who come to collect his rightful share, but every time the landowner sends his slaves to collect the tenants beat, and kill and stone the slaves. So the landowner decides to send his own son thinking surely these tenants will respect him, and instead they kill the son thinking then they will receive his inheritance. Jesus uses this parable to highlight that every time God has sent his messengers into his kingdom, that those trusted with its care have been beaten or even killed.
Jesus ends off by telling the religious leaders that the kingdom of God is going to be taken from them and given to those who will produce fruit. Of course this is not a welcome message and will be part of what leads to Jesus death.
Not only did this parable strike me after reading the above mentioned article, but it struck me that this is the gospel lesson for World Communion Sunday.
Admittedly, I don’t fully understand what World Communion Sunday is all about, since I belong to a tribe that does not to participate in the ritual aspect of the sacraments; I do however understand that the purpose of World Communion Sunday is to encourage Christian unity.
We’re supposed to be united, we’re supposed to be producing the kingdom fruit; but instead at times we are beating each other down. While we might not be literally killing each other we kill each other in spirit. Looking for examples? How about the way liberal Christians attack people like Mark Driscoll or Phil Robertson for their views on issues like homosexuality and the place of women in the church etc. Or on the flip side, there is the way conservatives will attack those who see those issues differently, like Rachel Held Evans, or Vicky Beeching. Those are just some familiar names who have been beaten down, but don’t be mislead, just because we might not be famous, we’re doing it to each other on a smaller less public scale too.
I’m all for everyone having the right to their own opinions, and I believe that we should indeed question views that don’t seem to line up with what we believe Christ to be about, but in some ways we have gone far beyond that and we tend to drag people through the mud, calling for boycotts, loss of jobs and whatever it is. A quote from the article I mentioned says: “The real enemy has been unchallenged because Christ’s army is too wounded from friendly fire to crawl out on the battlefield for the real fight.”
We can tend to be like the wicked servants, and rather than concentrate on producing fruit we are so interested in being in charge that want to kill the messenger.
I feel a bit more negative toward the gospel passage for this week, and if you’re still reading you might have noticed, but I am working it through, trying to produce fruit and praying to God that I recognize his Son in it all, I hope you’ll join me.
May the Lord help us in our task, and may Jesus Christ be praised!