Thursday, September 15, 2011

If You Say "No" To God, Is That The End Of The Story?

Many of us - me included - have rejected God at one time or another. Some of the greatest prophets in history have also. But we can change our minds without losing face. It's acceptable to be angry with God, but not acceptable to stay angry. Jesus had a parable about this. He said to the priests and elders in the Temple:
"A man had two sons. Now he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’
  “‘No, I don’t want to,’ the son replied. But later he changed his mind and went.
 “The father said the same thing to the other son, who replied, ‘Yes, sir.’ But he didn’t go.
 “Which one of these two did his father’s will?” Jesus asked them.
   The priests and elders replied, “The first one.”
   Jesus said to them, “I assure you that tax collectors and prostitutes are entering God’s kingdom ahead of you. For John the Baptist came to you on the righteous road, and you didn’t believe him. But tax collectors and prostitutes believed him. Yet even after you saw this, you didn’t change your hearts and lives and you didn’t believe him." - Matthew 21:28

The Parable of the Tenant Farmers is another one, related to the first, but much more important. It's about the moral choices we're making right now on earth. Jesus said:
 “Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a fence around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a tower. Then he rented it to tenant farmers and took a trip. When it was time for harvest, he sent his servants to the tenant farmers to collect his fruit. But the tenant farmers grabbed his servants. They beat some of them, and some of them they killed. Some of them they stoned to death.  “Again he sent other servants, more than the first group. They treated them in the same way. “Finally he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said.
“But when the tenant farmers saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Come on, let’s kill him and we’ll have his inheritance.’ They grabbed him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. 
“When the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenant farmers?”
The priests and elders said, “He will totally destroy those wicked farmers and rent the vineyard to other tenant farmers who will give him the fruit when it’s ready.”

Jesus said to them, “Haven’t you ever read in the scriptures, The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. The Lord has done this, and it’s amazing in our eyes? Therefore, I tell you that God’s kingdom will be taken away from you and will be given to a people who produce its fruit.  Whoever falls on this stone will be crushed. And the stone will crush the person it falls on.”

Now when the chief priests and the Pharisees heard the parable, they knew Jesus was talking about them.  They were trying to arrest him, but they feared the crowds, who thought he was a prophet. - Matthew 21:32

We who bear witness to these world events now are in danger, but we have to learn to live with that danger, and not let ourselves be deterred by it. It's a hard task, I know.