Saturday, July 19, 2014

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Today’s text

Matthew 13:24-30

[Jesus] put before them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well. And the slaves of the householder came and said to him, “Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from?” He answered, “An enemy has done this.” The slaves said to him, “Then do you want us to go and gather them?” But he replied, “No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.”

Wheat & weeds

The last thing I did before coming to the office on Friday was to pull three thistles from around my bushes. The three always appear there--the father, the son and the holy sticker.

They’ll be back. They always come back, and I always look for them.

Early experiences in my life tuned the eyes of my heart more toward troubles than toward beauty. I see the thistles first, missing the shrubs and flowers that surround them. Something deep within fixates more on weeds … than on what Jesus might call the wheat.

Left unchecked, life becomes more focused on dealing with the weeds than on the wheat--the life, beauty, wonder and joy that fills the heart, if only we see and savor God’s loving presence … that is present every where.

When I was a boy I delivered papers to a lawn motor repair shop where a bunch of old guys gathered on summer afternoons to chew tobacco and complain about the world.

Everything was bad, they said. Prices are higher, the country isn’t what is used to be, kids are not responsible or respectful, people are allergic to hard work, the communists are winning, and soon we’ll all be speaking Russian.

The downward spiral of … everything … was lamented amid the sweet smell of grease and tobacco juice. They fixated on what is imperfect, what is wrong, what is evil … on the weeds all too prevalent in life.

Lord knows there are many weeds in God’s garden--conflict, hatred and destruction around the world, pernicious cancers and diseases we can’t quite pull out and be rid of, tensions and conflicts at work and in our homes and hearts.

It is the most natural thing in the world to see only the weeds that obscure the beauty of
Love, the wonder of life, and the grace shining in the faces of those who truly know God … and whose presence makes us feel more alive.

Totally natural, yes, but destructive.

It sours the soul so that we fail to see and be swept up in the beauty of the wheat, the life and love, the goodness and the grace that fills us and makes us truly human and alive, shining with the beauty God intends.

For far too long, far too much Christian teaching and preaching has hyperventilated about weeds, as if following Jesus had more to do with judging and rooting out evil … than with becoming the love of Christ.

Pr. David L. Miller

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