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Imagining a new community. 

Imagining a new community. 

Something to read

When the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?

- Matthew 21:40.

Something to think about

We walk this Lent journey in 2022 so painfully aware of the sustained destruction and exploitation of God’s generous gift to us, the earth to which we belong. We are reminded again and again that ‘our home is on fire’, with young people pointing out that generations of abuse and short-term profit-making has ruptured the very fabric of our lives.

Our Lent reflections offer us a time to take stock and imagine again the fostering of a new community that finds ways to counter the power and greed of our time, a community that walks away from the religion of commerce and power.

In our gospel reading in Matthew about the parable of the tenants, Jesus portrays the leaders of his time as rebellious tenants. They have forgotten who they are and how to be in life-giving relation with others around them. With their distorted sense of reality and consuming greed, they mismanage the vineyard and seek to control and own it for their exclusive benefit. This is the very opposite of God’s intentions in which the land and resources are a gift to enable us to live in shalom and grace.

The mirror of the parable portrays us all too clearly as those who have mismanaged God’s gift to us, seeking to control and own it for the exclusive benefit of a privileged few, whilst at the same time distorting and destroying our humanity. Jesus’ parable in Matthew 21 is a sobering declaration – the tenants will be destroyed and the vineyard will be given to others.

Maybe this Jubilee inspired redistribution of resources offers us a new imagination of being community; a call to remember who we are and stop denying our greed and culpability in making a society that strips away the dignity of others and destroys our very means of life in our quest for self-enrichment. Can we imagine a community of gift and grace? A community of repentance and forgiveness?

May this Lent season remind us to pray for such a community and the transformation of our world, but also to believe it can be done and to act in imaginative ways that foster shalom in our time.

Something to do

Have a look at the loss and damage campaign to help those who have lost so much because of climate change.

Something to pray

Creator God, who placed this planet and all its resources into our care,

encourage those who now remind us of our responsibilities,

both to you and future generations,

to do all that is necessary, whatever the cost, to save this world that we call home,

so our children and theirs might not look back, both in shame and anger,

at what we, in denial, have failed to do.


A prayer by Jon Birch (

Today's contributor is Graham Philpott. Graham is Director of Church Land Programme in South Africa. The Church Land Programme works to affirm, learn from and journey with those who are systematically excluded and impoverished in their struggles related to land and justice.