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Faith Development – 9:00 AM * Worship Service – 10:30 AM

November 17, 2019 – Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost – Vines, Stumps, and Shoots

Isaiah 5:1-7; 11:1-5                  Isaiah’s Vineyard Song
(Mark 12:1-3)

           Isaiah’s prophetic voice is not to be underestimated. With 66 chapters, there’s a lot to consider, read, and hear. Isaiah’s use of metaphor is wide and varied, and today we hear two different images, both of which have to do with plants and growing.

           The vineyard is a major investment. Hills are selected and purchased, cleared, and freed from stones, the vines planted, a watchtower erected. All of this comes at great cost. It takes time, and resources, and investment. And yet, only wild grapes. So God asks the rhetorical question of what should be done. God answers the question with destruction, and a verdict upon the people of God.

           The next metaphor is also of growing things. This time it is a shoot, a shoot coming out of a stump, of new life coming from something dead. And without cheating too much and yelling “It’s Jesus!” let us consider what such a metaphor might mean. It might mean that even after death, life can reappear. It might mean that even after the vineyard is torn down, there is a chance for fruit to arise.

           Both of these passages are prophetic statements, and if we take Scripture seriously, we can’t just read them the way we always have. How do these two passages inform our faith today, in warning, and in hope?