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Advent Meditation: Thursday, December 5, 2019By Eric Scott
Psalm 18:1-50 • Amos 4:6-13 • Matthew 21:33-46
When I told our dean and president I was writing on the Parable of the Tenants in Matthew, she simply said, “Oh. That’s a hard one.” As I read the text and pondered its context, I understood why.
This mic drop of a parable pulls no punches. Jesus has arrived in Jerusalem. He has thrown over some tables, performed a few miracles, and is about to model behavior that changes the course of history: telling truth to power.
And while the standard interpretation of this parable is that God is the landowner, the Pharisees are the tenants, and Jesus is the son, I wonder: what about the grapes- are they not at the root of this?
We should consider the ‘currency’ at the heart of the story. With 3 weeks until Christmas, I have several projects to finish before my time away from work. I have a list of people for whom I need to buy presents. I am tangibly caught at the heart of capitalism: harvesting and selling my grapes, and then going – perhaps to the temple – to spend that money. Just like the tenants, I have lost sight of the fact that these grapes do not belong to me, nor do the presents I buy for my family belong to them.
All of this belongs to God. And from that, so much of the teachings of Jesus flow. As we participate in our annual ritual of wringing and gnashing about the commercialization of Christmas, let us remember that long before our modern economies, there was Jesus disrupting an unjust system and pointing out how greed leads us astray.
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Seminary of the Southwest
Listen to Eric read his meditation and prayer:
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