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The Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost A, October 8, 2023

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The Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost A, October 8, 2023

Gardens are fragile; just ask a gardener. Gardens have to be protected—from the weather, from animals, from weeds, and even from neighbors. Without protection the garden will be destroyed. The winds will uproot the plants; animals will consume and trample them; weeds will overgrow them; and even neighbors tempted by the garden’s succulence will take what is not theirs.

The walls and hedges of Isaiah 5:5 had protected the Lord’s vineyard—the Lord’s garden–the House of Israel. The Lord had carefully tended the House of Israel—the people of God. But this garden of the Lord’s delight produced no fruit of the harvest—no justice… no righteousness: there was no faith or faith’s fruit. In consequence, the Lord removes his hedge of protection from around the House of Israel, the sheltering wall is taken away, the garden is tended no more. It is given over to wilderness and chaos.

The Lord has placed hedges of protection and walls of shelter around his people through all generations—including us today, guarding us from chaos, pruning and tending our wildness. These walls and hedges are called commandments—the Law. They restrain sin and provide order enough for the Gospel to be heard through all this world’s chaos.

In the hearing of the Gospel—the Good News of Jesus Christ—the Holy Spirit works faith. This faith worked by the Holy Spirit cannot help but be fruitful and produce the fruit of faith. For the new House of Israel, the Church, faith is the fruitfulness the Lord desires to find in his garden. This fruit of faith in Christ is our righteousness. As we are held in it, we “do justice, love mercy and walk humbly.” (Mic. 6:5)

Table Talk: Tell of a time when you were a gardener and knew the necessity of orderliness and protection; discuss faith’s fruitfulness.

Pray: Heavenly Father, hold us in the faith of Jesus. Amen

Isaiah 5:1-7

Let me sing for my beloved
my love song concerning his vineyard:
My beloved had a vineyard
on a very fertile hill.
2 He dug it and cleared it of stones,
and planted it with choice vines;
he built a watchtower in the midst of it,
and hewed out a wine vat in it;
and he looked for it to yield grapes,
but it yielded wild grapes.
3 And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem
and men of Judah,
judge between me and my vineyard.
4 What more was there to do for my vineyard,
that I have not done in it?
When I looked for it to yield grapes,
why did it yield wild grapes?
5 And now I will tell you
what I will do to my vineyard.
I will remove its hedge,
and it shall be devoured;
I will break down its wall,
and it shall be trampled down.
6 I will make it a waste;
it shall not be pruned or hoed,
and briers and thorns shall grow up;
I will also command the clouds
that they rain no rain upon it.
7 For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts
is the house of Israel,
and the men of Judah
are his pleasant planting;
and he looked for justice,
but behold, bloodshed;
for righteousness,
but behold, an outcry!


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