Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sermon for the Sixth Sunday after Pentecost

Let both of them grow together until the harvest

Today we are confronted with images of the afterlife.
We have images of the furnace of fire, weeping and gnashing of teeth.
We have images of the righteous shining like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.

Jesus leaves us with these images at the end of his explanation of the parable.

He is explaining the parable of the Wheat and the Weeds, or the Wheat and the Tares as it used to be called.

Jesus is telling us one of the mysteries of the Kingdom.

But the images of the afterlife, of judgement are only a very small part of the parable.
In fact, the parable is more about what happens now, than what will happen.

A man sows good seed in his field, someone else comes along and sows some bad seed among the good.
The plants begin to sprout, both good and bad.

Our translation of wheat and weed does not help us. The older 'wheat and tares' does a bit.

The word for weed in the Greek is not simply weed, it is a kind of weed.
It is darnel, a kind of grass.

Now the thing with darnel is that when it first sprouts up, it looks exactly like wheat.
You can’t tell it apart.

The mans slaves believe they can see the weeds amongst the wheat and suggest they go and pull all the weeds out.

The man replies:
“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.” ’
So here is the point of the parable.

Jesus explains it:
The man who sows is Jesus.
The field is the world.
The good seed are those who hear and respond to the gospel, followers of Jesus.
The weeds are things that are off. Darkness, evil, sin.

The wheat and the weeds grow together.
The world will exist of things of Christ and things that aren’t.

And often, it will be difficult to see what is what.

Many things may appear to of Christ, but when fully grown may be revealed to be of the ego, the self, of money, of idolatory.
Many things may at first seem to be opposed to the faith,
but on flourishing show themselves to be faithful.

The point is at we are not always going to be able to tell.
And it is not our job to destroy things we think are not of Christ.

No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them.
Let both of them grow together until the harvest.

Think about it:
If we were to go about destroying everything that we thought was not correct, or Jesuslike or of the Kingdom, soon enough there would be nothing left.
Good and evil often exist in the same place. To try and destroy the evil will only end in the destruction of the good.
How can we oppose evil without creating new evils and being made evil ourselves?
Good and evil often exist within the same person.
There would be no one left.
There would be nothing left.

The parable is about forbearance, tolerance and forgiveness.

It is about judgement.
It tells us in no uncertain terms that we are not to judge others.

Who is wheat? Who is weed?

Ours is not to say.

Jesus is telling us that we are to go the extra mile.
That we are to offer the other cheek.

Let both of them grow together until the harvest

It is not up to us to uproot things we think aren’t of God.
If we were to, we may just be uprooting the very things that are the foundation of the kingdom.

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