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The Vineyard Owner

Today we have another of Jesus’ parables, that of the vineyard owner. For those of you who don’t immediately know this parable you can find it at Matthew 20:1-16. It is another parable that Jesus begins with the words, “For the kingdom of heaven is like....” Thank you, Geoff for your description and interpretation of this parable. The story it tells of how the landowner treats his workers is very different to the normal way of life at that time. It highlights for me just how counter cultural the kingdom of heaven is going to be. And I suppose that then leads me to wonder about just how distant the world is from the kingdom of heaven. I’ve teamed this parable up with another passage from the gospel of Matthew, part of the Sermon on the Mount that Jesus delivers to a crowd searching and aching (that’s what I believe) for something that was different to the lives they were currently living. The focus of this section of the Sermon on the Mount is around the love and care that God has for God’s people. There is no need to worry ourselves over details and possessions, “..if God so clothes the grass of the field....will he not much more clothe you – you of little faith?” Again, a very counter cultural idea. Both our reading and our parable tell of the love and care God has for us all. All will be treated fairly and equally, none will want for anything, and our main striving in life is to be for the kingdom of God. It is in this striving that all things will be given to us. What does that striving mean? We are unsure just what the kingdom of heaven or kingdom of God will actually look like or what it will feel to be part of it, but the parables that Jesus gives us open windows and doors for us to explore and look through. That the kingdom of heaven is very different in its system of justice, care, love and equality is evident from the glimpses we see and read about. For me, our striving for the coming of the kingdom of heaven is about changing the cultural norm here on earth. What would it look like if everyone was paid equally and therefore valued for what they do and give? Imagine that, just imagine that! No more homeless people, less people in prison, less class, ethnic and cultural division, we would be the people of God together – wow, what a thing that would be! Jay Robinson

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