Shaped by worship
Matthew 21: 33-46 (NRSV)
33 “Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a watchtower. Then he leased it to tenants and went to another country. 34 When the harvest time had come, he sent his slaves to the tenants to collect his produce. 35 But the tenants seized his slaves and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. 36 Again he sent other slaves, more than the first; and they treated them in the same way. 37 Finally he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 38 But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him and get his inheritance.’ 39 So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. 40 Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” 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.”
42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the scriptures:
‘The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
this was the Lord’s doing,
and it is amazing in our eyes’?
43 Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom. 44 The one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and it will crush anyone on whom it falls.”
45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they realized that he was speaking about them. 46 They wanted to arrest him, but they feared the crowds, because they regarded him as a prophet.
Most people begin a jigsaw puzzle with the straight edges and then work in from the corners. Having got the corners in place the puzzle is given shape and definition and the picture grows from there. A drill squad of Tattoo soldiers take its shape from the soldier at the front corner, all the lines and rows mark off from this one person at the one corner. If the corner is wrong the whole shape falls apart.
you spoke the shape of the firmament,
the size of its edges, the width and depth and height of its being.
you alone give life to all creation,
every star and planet,
every tree and flower,
every woman and man.
Not only do you give us life,
you shape our lives into the shape of Christ.
We reject the shape you would grow in us.
We reject the shape of service, answering your call and serving in your vineyard.
We reject the shape of generosity, preferring that shape which grasps only for self.
We reject the shape of submission, choosing to be king ourselves rather than bow to your Messiah.
We are those builders who reject the cornerstone.
We have not recognised in Jesus your shape for our lives,
we are not growing into Christ who is the shape from our service,
we do not submit to the shape of your Christ whom you call us to imitate.
The corner who Christ is, he is marvellous in your eyes,
the one chosen from before the beginning,
for whom all things are created,
from whom all things take their shape.
As we worship your Christ,
open our eyes to the shape he is.
As we see Jesus may we be recreated in his likeness.
Set us free from all other shapes and constraints to be new in Christ.