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St. Andrew's - 2nd October 2005

Isaiah 5:1-7

Phillipians 3:4b-14

Matthew 21:33-46

Were the whole realm of nature mine,

that were a present far too small;

love so amazing, so divine,

demands my soul, my life my all.

How do we respond ..... to Jesus? - to love?  -to Grace?

is salvation dependant upon our response?

Paul is straining for the prize - the prize is perfection - christlikeness. His status, learning etc. are irrelevant - Only his response to Christ is relevant.

The vineyard belongs to God - given in trust - expected to produce good fruits.

Isaiah - expected justice - saw bloodshed; expected righteousness heard cries - result is destruction

Matthew - are there new tenants or forgiveness?


Standard reading - an allegory for God v religious leaders - Jesus is the Son - result is a new Israel - aka The Church.

Alternative reading - a man, an absentee landlord whose tenants react as many would have loved to react - why should one who does not produce the harvest enjoy the fruits? The crowd decide/expect that punishment will be ruthless, Jesus neither agrees or disagrees - points them towards the rejected - himself? the old tenants? (are they forgiven tenants?) or the new tenants (those rejected by the old tenants)?

How do we respond? -

LM says, 'Discipleship is about personal relationship with God through Jesus – the life of the kingdom – but in order to empower us as disciples to go out and "do God’s will on earth"' .........What is God's will? - " to bear fruits of the kingdom – peace with justice, liberation for the oppressed, food for the starving, clothing for the naked, relief from poverty, hope and promise for the despairing."

Today our Harvest will go to feed the poorest in our community - those who came seeking hospitality and now have no benefits, and no legal way of earning money. The need will continue well beyond this Harvest Festival so we will continue to collect food and hygene products and pass to our friends from the refugee community to distribute amongst the poorest of that community.

and Where is the Grace? -

GM/J Neville Ward - God's love tends always in the same direction, like a steady wind. If we sail with it, we shall experience it as love, if we sail into the wind, if we oppose God, we shall feel it as opposition, wrath and judgement.

May God's wind blow us ever onwards.

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