Let me sing for my beloved my love-song concerning his vineyard: My beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile hill. 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; he expected it to yield grapes, but it yielded wild grapes. And now, inhabitants of Jerusalem and people of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard. What more was there to do for my vineyard that I have not done in it? When I expected it to yield grapes, why did it yield wild grapes? 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. I will make it a waste; it shall not be pruned or hoed, and it shall be overgrown with briers and thorns; I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it. For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the people of Judah are his pleasant planting; he expected justice, but saw bloodshed; righteousness, but heard a cry! ~ Isaiah 5:1-7
One of my very favorite movies is "Much Ado about Nothing," a Shakespeare play adapted to the screen by Kenneth Branagh. It's a film that makes me very happy when I watch it, and it is always the first thing I think about when I imagine God's gift of vineyard's to God's people. The setting is at a gorgeous Tuscan villa surrounded by vineyards and olive trees. (and really, this movie was the reason I knew I just had to visit Tuscany)!
God gave such beauty. It was, as Isaiah says, God's love song.
In the film and in Napa Valley and Tuscany and Provence, as well as other wine growing regions, you need only look around and see what a gift these vineyards are.
But the Israelites didn't take care of the beauty God gave them. They let their vineyards go wild. They became wild themselves.
I think the world is a little wild right now too, don't you?
And are we taking care of the beauty that God has given us? Not just the vineyards, but the seas, the plains, the gardens, the forests?
Have we taken our gifts for granted?
Isaiah shows how quickly it can all be taken away. Or, how quickly we can be give it all away.
Are we giving away the beauty of God's creation? Are we giving away God's good and beautiful gifts?
Help us to protect and cherish your gift of creation, Lord. Amen
(as a bonus video this week, you can watch "Much Ado About Nothing" on YouTube. If you've never seen it, you are in for a treat. Even if you aren't a Shakespeare fan or find him hard to relate to, intimidating, or even difficult understand, this film will delight you. Never has Shakespeare been so accessible or entertaining! It has an all-star cast: in addition to the many fine British actors, Denzel Washington, Keanu Reeves, and Michael Keaton all show up)