Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people, ‘Listen to another parable. There was a man, a landowner, who planted a vineyard; he fenced it round, dug a winepress in it and built a tower; then he leased it to tenants and went abroad. When vintage time drew near he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his produce. But the tenants seized his servants, thrashed one, killed another and stoned a third. Next he sent some more servants, this time a larger number, and they dealt with them in the same way. Finally he sent his son to them. “They will respect my son” he said. But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, “This is the heir. Come on, let us kill him and take over his inheritance.” So they seized him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?’ They answered, ‘He will bring those wretches to a wretched end and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will deliver the produce to him when the season arrives.’ Jesus said to them, ‘Have you never read in the scriptures:
It was the stone rejected by the builders
that became the keystone.
This was the Lord’s doing
and it is wonderful to see?
If I was in the mood to beat myself up, this would have been a post about how often we are the tenants- abusing, rejecting, even destroying anyone or anything which distracts us from the wages of worldly endeavour.
When we feel challenged by what we think are God's expectations of us it can be easy to let the ego tell us that we are really the ones doing the work; the ones who are in control.
But there are times when we are, genuinely and to the best of our abilities, doing our best to do some Kingdom building. We may not be the Son but we are trying to be servants and still it all goes wrong. We are criticised; condemned or belittled in our faith. Sometimes the situation we are in is so painful, hostile or political that simply being there is hard enough. Yet we know we have to be there.
Who said being a Christian was ever going to be easy? This Gospel certainly doesn't.
The Church is many people, as Paul says to the Phillipians 'united in conviction and united in love, with a common purpose and a common mind' - when it's at it's best. We should all be keystones; trying to hold together many situations and relationships.
Like Mother Teresa; we may worry that God trusts us too much. We may even be pleased at our achievements - but it is rejection which will alway prove to be our real strength because rejection teaches us that we are not the ones in control; we do not make the decisions; we cannot 'fix' things or people.
We learn to live, knowing that God lives in us, and that is enough.
No-one else has power over us - not even ourselves. Losing our personal expectations we can lose our expectations of others. We are asked, simply, to plant ourselves in the moment; the person or the situation and allow God to blossom.