Produce Fruits of the Kingdom

Sunday, October 5

10-5By Karin Peter of Adrian, Missouri, USA

“…There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a watchtower. Then he leased it to tenants and went to another country. When the harvest time had come, he sent his slaves to the tenants to collect his produce. But the tenants seized his slaves and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. Again he sent other slaves, more than the first; and they treated them in the same way. Finally he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him and get his inheritance.’ So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?”

—Matthew 21:33–40 NRSV

The chief priests and Pharisees who heard this parable were not happy with Jesus. They realized Jesus was comparing them to the wicked tenants in the vineyard. They also realized Jesus put them on notice, “…the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom” (Matthew 21:43).

Jesus expected more of religious leaders than simple belief in God’s kingdom. Jesus was looking for the people to make God’s kingdom real in their choices, words, and actions.

In a similar way, Community of Christ has undergone a radical shift in understanding our call as a people of God. We have moved from believing in Zion to becoming a prophetic people, a people of peace, wholeness, and restoration. We discern together how God’s Spirit guides us through difficult issues. Christ sends us in mission to share the gospel in ways that release and value the gifts, ideas, skills, and passions of all people.

This exercise of becoming can be disconcerting, even uncomfortable. Yet I believe, even when we find ourselves at intersections of misunderstanding, disagreement, exhaustion, or doubt, we are on our way to becoming “new tenants” in the vineyard. Through our choices—our words and our actions—we learn to produce and to share the good fruit. We become a community of God’s peaceable kingdom.

Prayer for Peace God of wisdom, guide us as we become new tenants in the vineyard—new disciples in the community. As you bless us, may we bless others with peaceful actions.

Spiritual Practice: Making Responsible Choices Prayerfully seek God’s guidance in your choices. Discernment invites us to orient our lives toward God and God’s vision for us and creation. Begin by reviewing the responsibilities and opportunities in the day before you. Take these choices into prayer, asking God for wisdom and insight about what matters most. Be aware of images, thoughts, names, or actions that come to you. Ask for a blessing to live this day responsibly and compassionately in the Spirit of Christ.

Peace Covenant Today, God, I will contemplate my choices carefully, always asking if they’re part of Christ’s mission.

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