15th August 2022

Are you familiar with the “song of the vineyard” from Isaiah chapter 5? It begins:

My beloved had a vineyard
on a very fertile hill.
He dug it and cleared it of stones,
and planted it with choice vines;
he built a watchtower in the midst of it,
and hewed out a wine vat in it;
and he looked for it to yield [sweet] grapes,
but it yielded [bitter] grapes.

Isaiah 5:1-2, ESV

As the chapter continues, it reveals the song as a parable of God’s relationship with his people. The vineyard is the nation of Israel, the hill alludes to the city of Jerusalem, perhaps the watchtower is the temple. The sweet grapes are the fruit of justice and righteousness. But after God had provided everything for his people, the fruit they produced was bitter – oppression, violence, greed. Read on through the chapter to see the consequences…

What if we were to apply this parable to Tyndale? To ourselves?

One of the joys of helping out with the Tyndale history book a few years ago, was to see all the ways in which God has provided for our church and community during the 150+ years since its foundation. Some examples that stood out for me included the Tyndale Mission, serving one of the poorest areas of Bristol from the 1870s onwards; the house in Pembroke Road hosting Belgian refugees during the first World War; ordinary folk like you and me working in business, healthcare, teaching, ministry.

As we welcome Sam into the fellowship today and begin a new phase in the life of our church, may we continue to yield sweet grapes wherever God sends us.

Ian Waddington