The wicked tenants

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.

In Matthew 21.33-43 Jesus tells a parable about tenants who withhold the vineyard’s harvest from the landowner. He asks religious leaders what the owner would do and they say, “Kill them and lease the vineyard to people who will hand over a harvest.” Jesus doesn’t agree with them but simply says, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.”

Maybe: If you are not faithful God will punish you and throw you out. That seems to be what some people believe.

Maybe: The Jews botched real religion, so God gave it to the Christians, even though the Jews rejected them. That seems to be what some early believers thought.

Maybe: Institutional leaders—people with power and privilege responsible for the “vine” of God’s people— have botched it, and their response to the story reveals how judgmental like them they think God is, without grasping that their judgment is on themselves . That seems to be what Jesus’ hearers would have noticed.

Maybe: The forces of commerce and empire always lead to violence. God invites us to choose another way, a way rejected by others. That seems to be borne out in the news.

Maybe: The Church has done a lousy job of bearing God’s love into the world, and we are experiencing the consequences of our failure, while other people outside the church are picking up the slack. That seems to be what’s happening in many churches.

Maybe: I am an unfaithful steward of my own life, keeping my divine gifts to myself instead of sharing them. When I consider this, I expect God to be angry with me—a fear the religious leaders voice, though Jesus does not agree. Instead, though I judge and “reject” myself, God makes me the cornerstone of my life, and entrusts me with my life and its gifts anyway. Maybe God asks for fruitfulness and offers mercy. That seems to be what God is inviting me with.

What is God saying to you?

Deep Blessings
Pastor Steve
Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

To subscribe to Unfolding Light by daily e-mail
write to me at unfoldinglight8(at)

Leave a comment

Your Cart
  • No products in the cart.