As I slowly read Matthew 21:33-43, in the dark morning hours while my sons sleep, these words ache their way off the page:
Finally, he sent his son to them, thinking,
‘They will respect my son.’
But when the tenants saw the son, they said to one another,
‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and acquire his inheritance.’
I imagine being that son. Being asked to step in at the 11th hour and sort out a family problem for my father. I imagine traveling from the safety of that loving conversation filled with hope and good will toward a barren land, with an angry crowd. I imagine approaching the first out of control tenant. My sandals are dusty, my hands open, my words trying to explain that my father is the Landowner and is asking for change, as my eyes express compassion for their situation. But then, my hands begin to burn from the olive branch being ripped out of my grip.
And I inhale all the violence I see in the world and in my life. I face it, even though it is ugly, and I take it in slowly whispering the word, m e r c y , to myself.
I deeply exhale back out into the world the final Gospel words of light illuminating the mystery of ”the kingdom of God will be … given to a people that will produce its fruit.” I smile at the thought of making way for new fruit to grow in the right hands. I close my moment of prayer with gratitude for the boys now running down the stairs.
September 30, 2011 7 Comments