Marketplace or Vineyard? A Sermon for Proper 20, Year A, 2017

The wonderful thing about parables is that no matter how often I read or study them, no matter how many sermons I’ve preached on one, there’s always the possibility that I will discover something completely new. The difficult thing about this particular time is that my aha moment came about 7:30 this morning as I was rereading the text I had prepared and first service starts at 8:00 and I had no time to rethink or rewrite the whole sermon in light of my discovery.

What jumped out at me this morning was that the parable takes place in two settings–a vineyard and a marketplace. There’s a rich tradition of symbolism of vineyards in biblical literature. It’s a symbol of God’s abundance and generosity, even the extravagance of God’s grace and creativity. The product of the vineyard–wine is not essential for life but as the old Jewish prayers says, “wine makes glad the heart.” The vineyard can even be a symbol of Israel. Continue reading