October 3

Matthew 21:33-41

“They said to him, ‘He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the harvest time.’” vs. 41

The religious leaders were quick to give Jesus the right answer when he asked them about the parable of the vineyard. The tenants had acted in such a despicable way that they deserved the wrath of the landowner. What the Pharisees didn’t get was that the parable was about them, and that the landowner’s son was Jesus. So in condemning the tenants they were actually condemning themselves. We can’t judge them too harshly. When we do our best to lead decent and god-fearing lives it’s often hard to understand our own culpability in any societal shortcomings. For instance, folks who have lived in White communities with little contact with people of other races often have difficulty acknowledging any degree of racism in themselves. In fact it’s offensive to them when it’s implied that they might have racist attitudes. That’s why it’s been difficult for many to even begin to understand the rage and violence that has erupted in Black neighborhoods over police killings in recent months. And when it’s implied in our White congregations that our attitudes have contributed to the divisiveness in the country, there’s often a wave of righteous indignation. There’s a general unwillingness to even have discussions about issues of race–we’d rather cling to our own righteousness and believe that it’s just not our problem. Our inner Pharisee is always close at hand!

Thought for the Day: How do I feel when it’s implied that I’m a racist?

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