Our Gospel reading for today ALWAYS gets to me. I have heard and read this description of the Kingdom of Heaven un-countable times and I am invariably brought up short by it.
A part of my living in this world is looking for fairness and treating people fairly. And Jesus' tale of the landowner hiring workers for the vineyard throughout the day, yet paying the one who worked only one hour the same as one who toiled all day just causes me to squirm. How, in God's Name, I want to ask Jesus, is THAT fair! When I get to the part of the story where those who had worked all day in the scorching heat are talking amongst themselves and complaining, I always find myself agreeing with them....and then those words that stop me short: I chose to give to this last the same as I give to you......are you envious because I am generous?
Jesus tells us over and over again that God's ways, God's time, is not the same as our human petty greed. Jesus says over and over again the Kingdom of God/Heaven is something different. And that God's generosity, God's love, is far beyond our ability to love....so many preachers focus on vengeance and sinfulness - but Jesus points us to a loving God who is so generous as to astound and confound us. Perhaps Jesus, by describing the Kingdom of Heaven with this generous-landowning-winemaker is instructing us to re-think our priorities and understandings of fairness. Perhaps I should be happy that those who find God's love later than I are equally welcome in that generous and loving embrace God holds open for all of us. Perhaps it is not such a bad thing to be brought up short early in the morning.
Copyright 2010, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.