This year, many churches have been reading in the Gospel according to Matthew where there are lots of parables.
One of these parables is, “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 . . . 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.”
When I was growing up in Texas, my parents had a garden. My mom and dad patiently would show my sister and me how to plant. After a rain or two, we could see the results of our labor. But then, my dad would take out his hoe and sharpen it. That meant we were about to learn about weeds. To the eyes of kids everything was what we planted, and it was all good – very Good. Wasn’t that what God said about creation?
As I grew, I later came to realize that the whole world was full of good plants and weeds – that is, normal everyday people. You know the Scriptures never explain the deep mystery of why there is evil upon the earth. But we know it is there – here. The parable says the master tells the servants, and us, that our job is to wait. God’s job is to judge and save.
Let’s think for a moment about churches. We are certainly not weed-free. We are a mixed bag of wheat and weeds. People look at us and say we are hypocrites, but that’s not so. We recognize that we are a mixed bag, and at least we are working out what is weed and what is wheat.
We learn that God is saying, “Wait. Trust me. I’ll do the sorting. You are to love.” It’s pretty hard to have patience with the world as we have it. Yes, it has plenty of weeds and some of them are really rooted deeply.
Our job as Christians is to keep love as our focus. Reconciliation isn’t easy, but we are to keep at it. We have our own conscience to deal with, and our Christian conscience says that we can make change happen.
The Rev. Perry W. Polk, Interim Rector, Grace Episcopal Church