Fairchild Gardens, Miami, Florida
Some passing thoughts on the "Vineyard" as I prepare for Sunday's sermon. . .
Isaiah understood so deeply the joy and wonder of God and God's gift as he sang his love-song. The Garden of the Beloved was a place that good fruit would be produced, not sour grapes; where justice not bloodshed was to be expected; where righteousness was found in place of cries from the oppressed. A beautiful garden of good works, justice, and righteousness.
. . . a place of good works where there are the hungry to feed, the homeless to shelter, the sick to heal, the lonely to comfort, the frightened to hold, the outcasts to bring in, the children to teach, and the elderly to care for. . . .
This vineyard is also designed to be a place of justice where we shall not turn a blind eye or a deaf ear to the crying needs of the world around us, but rather be the eyes, the ears, and the voices of peace and what is right for all. We dare not be complacent about the inequities of our society. In this Garden of the Beloved, this world (nation and church) in which we live and which God has given us to care for, we are called to bring all of the energy and influence we have to stop wars, to end prejudice, to heal hatred, and to bring about a cessation of the social infirmities which demean and destroy the creatures of God. Here we are called to reclaim our prophetic voices, to speak in the name of the Beloved, to proclaim justice, to call to task the leaders of the nations and the communities in which we live to provide for the dignity and well-being of all people and all of creation. . . .
Called to be a community of righteousness, not the smugness or the arrogance of the self-proclaimed "saved," but to be numbered with those who accept the need of God's forgiveness and the forgiveness of one another and who, then, live as forgiven people in an intimate, living, loving, dynamic, growing relationship with God and one another. . . .
Only in a covenant relationship with God and with one another can this community in which we live be who God would have us be, and do what God would have us do.
This is only possible to the extent to which we are prepared not to be conformed to the things of this world but rather to allow the transforming power of the Holy Spirit to be at work in every part of us--in every aspect of our lives so that we may live into the will of the Holy One and seek to express what is good, acceptable, perfect. . . .
Blessings and peace,