In the Kingdom of Earth, selfishness rules and violence is justified. How far such things are from what Jesus offers: a kin-dom of heaven.

Selfish, violent, brutal, alone: hallmarks of the Kingdom of Earth
Proper 22A | Matthew 21:33-46

In the Kingdom of Earth

Several years ago, Rose and I took a trip to northwestern Michigan. We stayed in a bed and breakfast near Traverse City and drove up the Leelenau Peninsula to go wine-tasting. While the region is known for their cherries, producing 74% of the country’s tart cherries, it also grows excellent grapes and has some amazing wines.

We drove up one side of the peninsula toward the tip, stopping at the small stands and store fronts. Some looked like country stores and others, like Leelanau Wine Cellers and Black Star Farms were big operations.

On the way back down, we stopped at three which were pretty close together. Ciccone Vineyard and Winery, owned by Madonna’s father was a simple sloped field with grapes growing. A small building stood to the side, holding a simple shop with wines and a few select pieces of Madonna-themed merchandise.

Our last two stops were at Willow Vineyard and Winery and Shady Lane Cellars. Both of these felt like the vineyards you expect to see in California or Italy. The great sloping fields with trellises of grapes hanging from them. The rustic character gives the sense, not of age, but of timeless presence in that spot.

And the blue franc at Shady Lane put me over the edge. That was the star I returned home with.

But this sense of the vineyard as a timeless, welcoming, hopeful place, where everyone can come and learn and taste and create a temporary community is the true beauty of the experience.

We also learned that a fight was happening on the peninsula between this vision of wineries as communities and another: one of shameless commerce and exploiting tourists.

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