Scripture: Matthew 21
Key verse: (43) Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom.
Reflection: Waiting. Watching. Hoping. Advent seems to be very passive as we wait for the birth of Jesus, the one we call, Prince of Peace. We crave peace. “Peace on earth, goodwill to all!”, seems to be in every Christmas movie, TV special, Christmas card or song in this season. Peace is our hope and prayer.
Peace rarely has anything to do with waiting. Peacemaking is active and not very peaceful. It is disruptive and disorientating.
Our parable today is NOT a favorite and not very peaceful. It calls us to face the violence in our own lives. Violence within ourselves, violence in the community and violence in systems and structures. I believe it is also a call to fight against the violence and exploitation of people and the very earth we stand upon. The purpose of parables is to stretch your mind and challenge our thinking. They are not meant to be easy or comfortable. The parable of the wicked tenants could be an allegory for so many current controversial subjects or it could be read almost literally, with us being the stewards of God’s earth. We may not actually kill messengers who question our misuse of the earth but we are not gentle with them. Greta Thornburg can attest to death threats, ridicule and attacks she received as one who speaks boldly about climate change. The work of peacemaking is definitely not easy but truly necessary to bring about the Kingdom of God.
Essentially, this parable challenges us to join God in the pursuit of justice and peace. “Peace on Earth”, might not just be a hope, it might be a rallying cry.
Prayer: God of Justice and Peace, forgive us for our apathy towards the violence all around us. As we wait and watch for your Kingdom breaking into our lives at Christmas, guide us to do some Kingdom work. Help us trust in your peace even when we cannot see or feel it around us. AMEN.
Author: Michelle Thomas-Bush
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].