July 19, 2020
Weeds. Grass rooting in the flowerbeds. Clover. The untiring dandelion. The skulking, nameless stalks that mimic zinnias and daisies until they suddenly loom large. A gardener’s eyes scan for them continually. Their experienced hand, ready to pull with just the right twist to bring up the root, too. Muscles from hand to arm to shoulder to waist all responding to the war of the weeds. Gardeners wage this war for the beautiful flowers they aim to protect. But there is no denying that gardening is an exercise in control.
In the reading this week from Matthew’s gospel, Jesus gives us the image of God as a mad farmer, scattering good seed everywhere. They begin to grow but so do those nasty weeds. So, the question is raised – What should we do about the weeds? Just let the weeds grow among the wheat, Jesus says, leave the weeds, lest you inadvertently pull out good wheat. Wait until the harvest then you can sort out the weeds
July 12, 2020
This week’s reading comes from the Gospel of Matthew. From Matthew’s perspective, the judgment is near and people have one last chance to get their house in order. He is clear that there are consequences of actions and harsh penalties. These all might be at work here alongside the message of grace and the inclusive love of God.
The term used to describe the method of sowing in the time of Jesus was ‘broadcasting’. We are familiar with the term from radio, or television or mobile networks – it reaches everywhere. The term originated in this farming method, casting seed everywhere and it reached, like sound waves, a variety of places. Sound messages and images infiltrate places where they can be ignored, or partially listened to when other issues distract attention, or rivet attention to the message. Much relies upon the recipient, not the quality of the message. The sower’s broadcasting process was not an economically sound method of planting, perhaps this is the point Jesus is making. God is not bound by the rules and invests in the seed and invites the faithful to cast it around the world in the hope and trust that it will take root in some people.
July 6, 2020
This week we hear a reading from Matthew’s Gospel. After sometime Jesus, weary from all of his traveling around with the disciples, looks up to heaven and prays. The substance of his prayer offers thanksgiving to God that the basics core meanings of life are really simple, rooted in a childlike faith that is built on trust. That trust, according to Jesus, is found when we cast our restless lives on God’s unchanging, faithful presence.
“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (11:28-30).
The problem was however, that the followers of Jesus were caught up in the requirements of getting ahead and checking everything off of their daily to-do lists. They were burdened by the stresses placed on them and because of that struggled to see God acting in their lives. Maybe that sounds familiar to you as well. What might God be saying to us in those moments?