Prayer of the vineyard

There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a watchtower. Then he leased it to tenants and went to another country. When the harvest time had come, he sent his slaves to the tenants to collect his produce. But the tenants seized his slaves and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. Again he sent other slaves, more than the first; and they treated them in the same way. Finally he sent his son to them, saying, “They will respect my son.” But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, “This is the heir; come, let us kill him and get his inheritance.” So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him.
         —Matthew 21. 33-39

God, I confess that have seized the vineyard of my soul, as if it were mine, as if I were the one who had dug and planted, and built a fence and a watchtower. But my soul is not “mine,” it is yours. You create me, and give me the growth. You are the one who creates the fertile soil of my being, who plants within me the seed of your Spirit. You grow within me. The fruit of my soul is yours, not mine.

But because you seem distant, and your absence is painful, and because I want to control my life, I have usurped what is truly yours. I have laid claim to your vineyard, and done violence to your trust in me. This is my unending struggle, to let go of my own soul, to let it truly be yours, to overcome my illusion that it ought to be mine, and that I can wrest it from you and have it for myself.

Forgive me, and instill in me a desire to bear fruit for you rather than to control my life. Heal my fear of your absence, my desire for control. Give me faith to meet my fear and grasping with courage and trust. May I be a faithful worker in the vineyard of my own soul, nurturing and gathering what you give, offering to you and not hoarding for myself the fruits of my heart. God grant me a good harvest, and peace. Amen.


Copyright © Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

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