VII Pentecost

July 23, 2017

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. AMEN.

Have you ever noticed that no matter how hot and dry it gets?  No matter how brown and dead the grass is.  No matter how much time you must spend watering flowers to keep them alive in the heat.  The weeds seem to keep on growing.

Just walking over to the Church from the Rectory, you can see the grass is looking very forlorn.  But the weeds are growing big and bushy out of the sidewalk.

Then there are the weeds that we often think of as plants.  A few examples are daisies, foxgloves, and forget-me-nots.  The other year, I received a rather clever mailing from a local politician.  In it were forget-me-not seeds to be planted in the spring, but with the hope that I would not for the candidate at the ballot box!

I have been thinking about weeds a bit this week, as I pondered the Gospel lesson today and the parable that Jesus tells.  Before we get back to weeds, let me talk for a moment about metaphors.

I love metaphors!  I remember when I was in High School I came up with one that I thought was rather clever – Life is like a sneaker.  Sometimes it comes untied, and sometimes it stinks, but when everything is going right you can run along quite nicely!

Parables are metaphors.  The symbolize something else.  Jesus makes it clear that he is using a metaphor.  He begins by saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to…”  He is not saying that heaven is a big field.  But, He is using something that people understand from their experience to explain something that is hard to understand and is not a part of our experience – heaven.

Now that we have noted that this morning’s parable is a metaphor, that I love metaphors, and a little bit about weeds, let’s take a few moments and stretch the metaphor of the wheat and the weeds.

First of all, I think that we would all agree that what is good and Godly and what is not are found side by side in the world in which we live.  Sometimes there are very clear signs that something is good.  Sometimes it is easy to see what wheat is and what weeds are.  But, more often than not they are mixed together and we must be careful not to mix the two.

Second, a point about the deciphering of wheat and weeds -- As I spoke about a few minutes ago, I was surprised to find that some things which I regarded as flowers are actually weeds.  And sometimes (could I say often times), the weeds may looks as good as or even prettier than the flowers.

Third, there is the point about the heartiness of weeds.  When we are spiritually dry.  When life is particularly hard.  When it seems that the lack water has made our spiritual lives parched and hoping for some water.  The weeds will continue to thrive.  And their growth and greenery may entice us.  But we must stand firm in the way that leads to eternal life.  The water will come. 

We are, in a very profound sense, a people of water.  We begin our lives in Christ with the waters of baptism.  We are a people of water even in the times of spiritual dryness.

Finally, there is the fact that in the parable, Jesus says that the householder says to let the weeds grow among the wheat until it is time for the harvest – “…lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them.”

I would like to suggest something.  If the harvest is to represent the final judgment, and the weeds are allowed to grow amongst the wheat, yes, it makes it easier to tell the difference.  But, it also gives the weeds the time to become wheat.  In other words, the Lord does not give up on anyone.  Jesus gives everyone the opportunity to repent and return to the Lord until the very last breath they take in this life.

We live in a world in which the wheat and the weeds grow side by side.  Sometimes it is hard to distinguish between the two.  Sometimes the weeds will thrive when our spiritual lives are parched and thirsty.    And – thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord – everyone is given the chance to be wheat instead of weeds.  AMEN.