3/18/2022 0 Comments
2-Minute Sermons, L3C
Degrees of sin are a thing with Christians. All of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), but ... not as much as someone ELSE. Seriously. We do that. And in this passage, Jesus is calling us out on it because apparently it was happening back then as well. (There is nothing new under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 1:9)) We still haven't learned that sin is sin. Period. End of sentence. Murder is not worse than forsaking the Sabbath. Adultery is not worse than dishonoring your parents. Idol worship is not worse than coveting your neighbor's ass. And judging someone else's sin is just as sinful as their sin. Dang, I hate it when scriptures convict!
Thankfully, God is the God of second chances. In Luke 13:1-9, Jesus lets us know that God is the gardener and not the vineyard owner. God continually advocates for us, nurtures us, feeds us, and gives us room to grow and bear fruit. One gets the feeling that were the same conversation to happen again the next year, God would once again advocate for more time.
I don't remember exactly when I realized God was the gardener and not the vineyard owner in this parable. I feel certain that was acted out in the pastor of my childhood, Rev. John Seibert, affectionately known as Pastor Jack, who officiated our wedding thirty-six years ago and baptized our oldest child. I remember him as a gardener himself. But I think understanding that on an intellectual level came through Rev. Fred Wehrenberg, the pastor of St. Paul United Church of Christ in Waterloo, who lovingly cared for the vineyard of which we were part of in the early years of our marriage and who baptized our daughter.
But I think I've learned more about the God of second chances most from dear friends who have loved me in spite of my sinfulness, who have lovingly dug around my roots and faithfully fed me with scriptures and encouragement, and have advocated for more time for growth. I am grateful for those pastors and friends who have exhibited the steadfast and unconditional love of God in spite of my propensity for sin, who have helped me grow into a fruit-bearing tree that offers food for those who are hungry and shelter for those who are weary. I still have seasons when my fruit is not as nourishing as I'd like for it to be. Sometimes those seasons last longer than I wish they would, and I'm not proud of that. But I am thankful for God who shows up in a myriad of ways to set an example of what it looks like to show kindness and grace to myself and to others.
I wonder where God is advocating for second chances in your life.
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Julie participated in the 25th Seminar for Certified Zentangle(R) Teacher Training in June, 2019, trained by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. In addition to creating art as a personal spiritual practice, Julie also incorporates the Zentangle(R) method in Prayer Art Retreats in a variety of contexts, including church groups, friend gatherings, and at a local art gallery. Check out the Upcoming Events page for a calendar of events, or use the Contact Us page to inquire about scheduling an event with your group!
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