Zephaniah 3:1-2, 9-13
Psalm 34: 1-8, 15-22
Matthew 21: 28-32
The Parable of the Two Sons
“What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, “Son, go and work in the vineyards today.” He answered, “I will not”; but later he changed his mind and went. The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, “I go, sir”; but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father? They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you; the tax-collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax-collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him.”
Love invites us to change our mind. No matter who we are and where we are in life, God’s offer to “go and work in the vineyard” is open to all. The vineyard is God’s kingdom, the territory of our own hearts. It is the place within where we arrive at a new story of ourselves. But we need to be willing to change, to be shifted out of ourselves.
But change is hard. ‘‘We can’t accept God’s invitation to help create a new story unless we are willing to take action. We become partners with God when we act in unfamiliar, untested ways.” (Jim Antal, Climate Church, Climate World: How People of Faith Must Work for Change, Rowman & Littlefield, 2018). It is work to not only think differently but to do differently. It is work to let go of an old life run on self-will and to create a new life shaped by God’s will, and God’s love. How can we do this?
In Jesus’ time it was John, coming “in the way of righteousness”, who pointed the way. In our time – in this time of Advent – it is Jesus himself. How do we see the birth of Christ as an invitation to change, both within our hearts and within our world? What is the story that God is waiting to help you write?