Imagine our world when there was no radio, television, internet, and only dim lighting at night. One form of entertainment was the everlasting invention of the picture book. The value of these books was the colorful images and authoritative text not always so easily or readily available. Our ancestors valued these books so much they passed them down to each generation. Unfortunately not everyone receiving these precious gifts appreciated them.
I recently acquired an antique German picture book presenting the story of the nativity. The cover was dirty and moldy from not being stored properly. Being the curious curator of the dumpster that I am, I brought it home in hopes to improve its appearance and extend its purpose of production.
The date of the book is not indicated but this publisher appears to have been in business during the early 20th century. The art work on the front cover with vines and flowers is characteristic of the Arts and Crafts period 1880 – 1910 so my guess is this book was produced somewhere during that time.
Here are photos before and after my restoration efforts.
Today’s readings may bring out emotions of anger and fear. Selected passages from Genesis make up the first reading to describe the account of Joseph, Israels most loved son. Joseph’s brothers were jealous of him and made a plan to have him killed but God comes to his aid and saves him. This is the start of a new life for Joseph. If someone would have stood by the well in which he was thrown and told him that God has great plans for him, what would Joseph have thought? What would you have thought? Would you have been filled with anger and fear?
The Gospel foretells the fate of Jesus through the parable of the landowner that planted a vineyard. Jesus predicts His death. The vineyard was planted by God and represents His kingdom. The servants that come before the landowner’s son are the prophets. The son of course is the son of God, Jesus, who will be the one put to death. The caretakers are jealous and want what belongs to the son. jealousy is a common theme in the two readings today.
Who are the caretakers? Are we not the caretakers of God’s kingdom? Do we all not share in some way of the crucifixion? We are God’s people and we are in his vineyard. In the parable, Jesus said that those not doing their job in the vineyard would be replaced. This is one reorg that you want to survive. Jesus indicated that replacements would produce fruit, unlike the ones God will layoff.
How fruitful are you in God’s kingdom?
Is jealousy keeping you from being a productive caretaker?
When you find yourself down a well, do you believe God is near?