“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;
and he looked for it to yield grapes,
but it yielded wild grapes.
And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem
and men 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 looked for 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 briers and thorns shall grow up;
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 men of Judah
are his pleasant planting;
and he looked for justice,
but behold, bloodshed;
but behold, an outcry!” Isaiah 5:1-7
We did this passage last week in Sunday school. The second grade class went long. They were talking about Paris. A wise mother navigated the discussion and led them in prayer. And they all learned that church is exactly where you are supposed to talk about justice.
We have been supposed to talk about justice since the beginning. It’s not new. It’s not liberal. It’s as old as the exile.
And it’s really really simple.
We should take in all the refugees. Even if there are terrorists among them? Yes. But it may not be safe!
I would like to know where in the Bible it tells us to be safe. I would like to know which stories of outsiders being folded into the bloodline of Jesus are the exceptions to the rule. I would like to hear how the Good Samaritan was cautious. I want to hear how Jesus only fed half the people because of limited resources. I want to know where God says fear is greater than love.
I don’t pray for safety for my children. I don’t tell them to be safe or careful. I tell them to be wise and do good. I pray that God goes with them.
We, like the Israelites, have built God a temple in the land. And we, like the Israelites, make the mistake of thinking we have him domesticated. But there is nothing safe about God. There is only everything good about God.
You know what else is good? When you see a dead Syrian boy the fact that you can do something about it is good. The fact that we can do something about it feels very very good. We can help. We are required to help. God does not promise us safety. It is still the right thing to do.