On Sunday, September 27th, we read from Matthew’s gospel, 21:28-32, where Jesus makes His point in a parable that He aims at some of the religious leaders of His day. He said that there was once a father who told his two sons to go work in the family’s vineyard.
The first son flatly refused, but later changed his mind and went into the vineyard he would likely inherit. In contrast, the second son said, “sure thing, dad!” and never lifted a finger. The second son’s inaction is the real damage.
Jesus was obviously not talking about being a reliable farmhand. He was addressing religious people about doing God’s work in the place we occupy.
That work is to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God (Micah 6:8).
There are all kinds of details to consider in this simple story of alternatives, and one is the presence of the vineyard as an established, working resource. I don’t think the sons were asked to prepare the soil, plant the vines, or build the winepress… all those tasks has been accomplished. The sons were asked to TEND AND MAKE PRODUCTIVE what had already been established.
With this parable of husbandry in mind, I pray each member and friend of Somerville First United Methodist Church
will consider our invitation to tend to the work of the church in Fayette County.
How we look after each other has been all mixed up by the pandemic this year. It is not the first time in our history that an event like this has happened. Our second church building was replaced by our current sanctuary in 1918-1919 during a more deadly flu season than we can truly imagine. Consider how our church has grown, and how much our “vineyard” was tended through the decades that followed. A depression, world war, a long frightening time of conflict with other world powers and the threat of atomic warfare, interstate highways, a civil rights movement, men on the moon, the development of a culture moving faster and faster with the internet and cell phones, and now media that is instant, invasive, and often upsetting our peace of mind, are in the remembered history of many of our members.
This month we will be moving from the efforts of the last month or so to “organize” for next year’s ministry. Now is the time to get our boots on the ground for action. Charge Conference will be held on November 8th, and for the first time in a few years, we will meet as a group with our District Superintendent, virtually face to face, for a conversation about our accomplishments and challenges over the past few years.
Frankly, we have had some disturbing failures, but we have made great progress too.
As you read this, I hope you understand you will be invited to participate in our future as a church. Keeping the parable of the two sons in mind,
I hope we can be like a third son…
answering like the second, and acting the like first!
Peace and Grace