“He said to them, ‘You also go out into the vineyard.”
If Jesus tells us to go out into the vineyard, we can just go. It’s okay. It’s not against any law that matters.
We don’t need anyone else’s permission. We don’t require any bureaucracy’s approval. There is no ring that we must kiss.
We just go out into the vineyard.
Throughout the New Testament, Jesus empowers his disciples to get up, go out and do things.
Feed his sheep. Share the good news. Work for reconciliation and healing. And do this in remembrance of him.
Jesus never said, “but first you are required to…” Jesus never made his disciples get a license. Jesus never said, “Do this in remembrance of me but first spend three years in seminary writing papers and passing tests.”
Jesus never told anyone that they must find a Notary Public to validate the movement of the Holy Spirit through his disciples.
The fact is, Jesus never earned a degree, either, though many Sadducees and Pharisees thought Jesus was breaking some Holy law by what he said and did without their stamp of approval.
So, we, too, can just go out into the vineyard. We can just do the things that Jesus told us to do.
Bear in mind, however, that others may disagree. Some may not believe that we have any right to be in the vineyard with them at all because they’ve passed tests, been given diplomas and have been out in the vineyard for 30 years.
There are Sadducees and Pharisees in our day, too. They are good people. They have done good things for the kingdom of God. But, like those who opposed Jesus, ours also believe that they know best what is right for us all and who needs permission from whom and for what reasons.
Such good people are susceptible, nonetheless, to believing that the vineyard belongs to them, that all of the grapes are theirs and that only they can say who serves the wine.
But, that is their misunderstanding, not ours.
We are simply doing what Jesus told us to do.
“You also go out into the vineyard,” Jesus tells us.
No ifs or buts. No dues to pay. No pre-conditions to be met. No hoops to jump through. Nobody else needs to bless us with their permission.
Because the vineyard belongs to Jesus and he told us to go out into that place of waiting vines and expectant fruit.
Because the grapes are his.
Because the wine is his vintage alone.
Because we are told to do this in remembrance of him.
And because we have the explicit permission of Jesus, how can any human-made power on Earth truly believe it has the moral authority to stop us from doing what Jesus has clearly told us to do?
Those who attempt to control and limit who does what in remembrance of Jesus undoubtedly have the best of intentions. But nobody has the words of Jesus to support a belief that any person or organization owns the majority shares of stock in what is holy and sacred. Nor do the words of Jesus give anyone veto power over Christ’s bread and wine.
The communion we share together in the corner of the vineyard where Jesus told us to go is inherently a sacrament.
Jesus makes it so.
Because, as he told us, we do it in remembrance of him.
If permission is required, it has already been given.