Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
The Parable of the Weeds
24-30 He 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.’ ” 36-43 Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples approached him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; the weeds are the children of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen!
Thoughts from John: This is a really difficult text for me to embrace. Jesus tells a story that invites me to be patient and gracious with the bits of the world I am most tempted to expel. Then he gives an explanation that seems to re-inforce the Us vs. Them binary that makes God out to be violent and vindictive. To be honest, I’m super confused. However, I do find comfort knowing that this story is a parable. It’s not supposed to be understood literally. Instead, the best way to handle parables is to ask, what truth is this story pointing me toward? This week, here’s how I’m answering that question:
I am very quick to assume that I know what of this world is a “weed” and what is “good crop.” I think Jesus is asking me to check my assumptions before assigning a label of “bad,” or “wrong” to anyone or anything.
If there is weeding and pruning to be done, the work is not mine to do.
May the God of the Universe grant me this holy and frustrating patience.
Outward Mindset Application
Think of some excuse you have been using in your work. This week, examine that excuse and try to work in a way that no excuse is needed.
Pathways Toward Centeredness
Intellectualism (loving the world with our minds): Try to think of some “puzzle” in the world or a system that doesn’t work as well as it should. Imagine what the world would look like if that puzzle were solved or that system perfected. See if you can start to name the steps to achieve that imagination!
Questions for Reflection
What do you do with imaginations of the Divine that are difficult and troubling? How do you think about human’s capacity and/or responsibility to withstand the world’s brokenness without judgement?
One of our community practices is to gather every Sunday morning for prayer, friendship, and conversation about the week’s Scripture text. Doors open at 10:30am for coffee and donuts. Our circle begins at 11:00am. We would love to see you there!
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“Liturgy” refers to the habits and practices humans use to form community around shared values and meaning. At Church at the Park, we desire to be a community of practice, becoming people who see the world through the eyes of the marginalized, making meaning through the lens of pain and suffering, and committing ourselves to non-violence in a wounded world. This weekly email is intended to provide pathways of practice for becoming the type of people who embody these values.
Many of our reflections on each week's text come from other sources. If you're interested in reading more of what inspires us, here our our two favorite reflections.
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