October 3, 2005
In the movie, A Night's Tale after William defeats Adhemar in the final match, he says to him, "You have been weighed, you have been measured, and you have been found wanting." This is the same way God feels about Israel in the book of Isaiah.
Isaiah 5 records a love song in which God, the beloved, builds a vineyard on a rich and fertile hill. He plowed the land, cleared the stones, and planted a vineyard and expected it to yeild good fruit. Instead, it yeilded fruit that was wild and sour. The writer of Isaiah says that this is a picture of Israel whom God rescued from the Egyptians and prepared a land for them. Instead of being fruitful by being just and righteous, they kill and opporessed the poor. The owner of the vineyard has found Israel wanting.
Just as God found Israel wanting, I sometimes wonder how God finds the church today. Are we people who baring fruit or are we sour because we oppress the poor? Does God find us righteous or unrighteous? I think if we are honest with ourselves and God, we would have to admit that we are found waning.
There is some good news however. In chapter 27 of Isaiah, we find another illustation to the vineyard. This time, Isaiah is saying that we will sing a new song of a pleasant vineyard. One that God will watch over and will water. God can do this because God has exiled Israel from the vineyard for a time in order to purge their sins, but God will restore them and make them prosper.
The good news for the church is that we too can be restored to the vineyard and we can bear fruit for God. We can again be the people God has called us to be and we will be watered and nurtured. I believe our task is to recognize that it is God's vineyard and we are God's laborers called to minister to everyone we come into contact with.