A good and fair-minded man
had a vineyard that he gave
over to tenants to work and make
When he sent a servant to
collect profit from the vineyard,
the tenants took him and nearly
beat him to death.
When the servant returned he told his
master who said, “Perhaps they
did not know him.”
So he sent another servant
and they beat him as well.
Then the master said, “I’ll send my son.
Maybe that will shame them.”
But those tenant, because they
knew him to be heir to the vineyard
seized and killed him.
Whoever can hear this, listen!
Translation: Lynn Bauman in
The Gospel of Thomas: Wisdom of the Twin
The First Response:
Sight along the line here,
the way the wire and wood
create a cradle for the yellow-green unfurling.
What abundance will sag under the fall sun,
the silver moonlight reflected on
and clusters of purple,
in their sweet and pregnant roundness.
It’s good to remember the way the grain
stood tall, whispered to one another,
before falling in ripe golden tears
Good to feel the yeast and honey and heat
making a new home in sinew
and sharp white teeth.
What does blood wash clean in you?
Do not speak too loudly that you
are the heir to the vineyard,
to the roll of land that is just now
woven and textured in curving rows
unless you can go out,
sleeves rolled up and sweat staining
your sun-burnt arms
and be willing to face
the trampling and scything
you must administer
when the sun runs her northern courses
Journey through Logos:
There are many layers here, as in any good parable, many levels of interpretation, some which seem quite obvious. But there is a low undercurrent of wonder here, something that is more than overt resistance and violence. For the truth is packaged here in our very blood—it is not enough to own the vineyard and lease it out to others to work and then show a profit from their labors.
When I come across the image of the vineyard, I almost always connect it to relationship and community—the branches interwoven, the roots laced together beneath the ground, the shared frames holding everyone up, the leveling snip of the pruning shears and the continuance of all our seasons finally mixed in communion wine. A true master will know the way of his plants, the times of waiting and beating sunshine and harvest. Who entrusts such things to tenants who will try to keep the place where they labor and sweat, who will be resistant to pay the master who is not present and walking with them? These are not the children of an earlier Logion who played in a field not theirs and who stripped naked and stood before the landlords. These will kill the heirs of the vineyard because he asks for coin for what he did not care for, did not trim or sweat for.
The shadow of any kind of spiritual finding is to distance one’s self from the practice of our faith and our responsibility to others. Our spiritual fields cannot be tended by anyone else, nor can we use proxies to interact with the world. If we are to be masters ourselves, if we are to stand as Yeshua consistently asks of us, we must learn to prune and water and work the soil of our practice ourselves, side by side in relationship with the teachings and other practitioners.
Hokmah’s Symphonic Note:
“If you do not pour water on your plant, what will happen? It will slowly wither and die. Our habits will also slowly wither and die away if we do not give them an opportunity to manifest.”
“Mere philosophy will not satisfy us. We cannot reach the goal by mere words alone. Without practice, nothing can be achieved. ”
In what ways do you “own” your spiritual work and in what ways do you give it over to tenants and expect some kind of payback from them?
We are filled with Wonder when we realize that the masterful student must work the field and gather the “profit” not by proxy but by the blisters of his own hands.
You can find Kim's entire commentary on the Gospel of Thomas in Kindle, paperback and audio formats by clicking on this link: