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The wheat and the weeds

July 29, 2017

Day Lilly in the weedsMost of us are familiar with the Parable of the Sower, but what about the Parable of the Weeds, presented right after, in Matthew’s Gospel?

In case it’s been a while: An enemy (the enemy) sows weeds among the wheat, which entangle roots as they grow, so the weeds can’t be removed without disrupting the wheat. “Let both grow together until the harvest.” Then, they can be separated. The wheat will be gathered and the weeds bundled and burned.

As we listened to the Gospel reading, I was struck by the fundamental nature of live-and-let-live, and Rodney King’s ageless question, “Can’t we all just get along?” The message of the parable is clearly not “get in there and eliminate those weeds, at all costs!” Rather, it’s a message of coexistence.

It’s important to note, the wheat is not in a position of judgment; the harvester is the judge. The harvester, “the Son of Man…will sit on his glorious thrown…and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.” (Matthew 25:31-32)

As if this wasn’t enough to get me thinking, considering a world where we do our best to get along with others, the Sermon gave me even more to contemplate.

Deacon Jan asked us each to look within, and consider the wheat and weeds that grow in each of us. She encouraged us to tend to the soil of our hearts, minds and souls, so that we might well-receive the word, and by nurturing and nourishing that which is good, choke out that which isn’t.

This year, Mr. H and I’ve torn out much of our landscaping, digging up flower beds that were so overgrown with Bermuda Grass, Nutsedge and Horsetail that the roots couldn’t be separated from the flower bulbs we’d planted years ago. Neglected, as we focused on raising three young grandchildren, we lost the battle and the invading weeds dominated the terrain. In tearing out, we did our best to salvage the bulbs, hoping for future restoration. Now, the bulbs are in containers: Daylilies here, Easter Lilies there, Daffodils and Gladiolas in another. Those that were past their bloom, we easily separated from the weeds. But, I didn’t want to sacrifice the Daylilies, which were just preparing to bloom, so, they remain entangled, flowering in their new pots, thick with Nutsedge. In due time, we’ll tend to these bulbs, too.

It must be a lifelong discipline to pay attention to what is growing within us; to focus on that which is good, and to turn away from that which harms. If we’ve been neglecting this, then know that even greater effort will be required, in order to restore.

And, in the Kingdom, as we consider others weed, and ourselves wheat, remember, judging and condemning others (or even ourselves when we note our own shortcomings) is not the answer. Love, tenderness, faithfulness are the tools by which we must tend to ourselves and others.

Let’s all do our best to get along.

LORD, help us grow in wisdom, learning to trust your judgment, and learning to tend to the gardens of our hearts, minds and souls. Amen.

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