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Saturday, November 2, 2013
Today’s Reading | Matthew 13:24–30
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.’” (NRSV)
Often when I encounter this parable it is presented as a warning against damnation, that sinners will burn in hell. Not my idea of God’s kingdom by any means.
But who decides what is a weed? Kudzu is reviled in many places, but is also used to replenish soil nutrients, to feed livestock, to prevent erosion, and for food and medicine by people. Dandelions can cause much gnashing of teeth from those wanting a pristine lawn, but it has long been used for medicinal and nutritional ends (and is pretty as well).
Reading this as an allegory for humans, who can know what fruit will grow from people’s lives? No one, looking at the teenage years of Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone, would have predicted he would become the beloved St. Francis. The list of such turned lives is long.
I am grateful that the kingdom of heaven is like a field. Tended by Christ, the master gardener, all growing things, I trust, will be put to his ends, and it is he who is the last word, for even that which is burned can become fuel for someone—and light.
O my gracious Lord, I ask that you make of us what you will; grant us the courage and strength and grace to embrace your care. Amen.
Written by Anne Ellis, Program Manager for Congregational Life
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