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Friday, October 06, 2017

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Builders look, if not for a perfect fit at least an easy fit. Building with stones of uneven sizes requires some imagination or vision to find the right stone for the right spot in the wall. The Lord chose a cornerstone rejected by us who build, because for us that stone just wasn't good enough. We would have chosen a stone more promising of success, more projecting of power, more certain to conquer, not one that was broken, bleeding, wounded and dying.

Such is the Lord's way and the power of suffering, of sacrifice. When offered as a gift it becomes a grace which transforms. Such is the love of God, the grace of God. Let the whole world reject the imperfections of the crucified one, and still the crucified one will embrace the world. The one will catch us when we fail and fall,  even when we try to build our own lives, and reject the cross. Let any one among us think we know better than service and sacrifice and still the rejected stone will hold us up.

Perfect stone, amaze me again with your brokenness. Forgive my eagerness to reject you for a stone I see as better. Convert me to your vision to see more clearly your vineyard built of grace. Amen.

Sherman Bishop, '80
Senior Pastor, Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, Westlake, Ohio

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.

This God Pause daily devotion is brought to you by the alumni of Luther Seminary.