The Misunderstood Weed

Oh God We call

Oh God we call

From deep inside we yearn

From Deep inside we yearn

From deep inside we yearn

For you….

pray-for-peace

Grace and peace to you

My sisters and brothers in Christ

As we, kneel crying out for peace everlasting

From God Our Creator

And from the risen Christ, Our Savior and Lord.

 Amen.

 

The field is the world

And the good seed are the children of the kingdom

The weeds are the children of the evil one.”

(Pause)

I am lost without words

There are no good answers

Of why, the children of God

Are at war with one another.

When was it alright

To destroy something

That had life breathed into it

By the Creator?

Because along the way

We deemed these lives, useless and worthless

We deemed their supposed ugliness offended us

We have taken upon ourselves

To be Judge and jury

Since somehow their mere presence

Posed a danger

And encroached into our own personal gardens

(pause)

Unless you have been living as a hermit, cut off from the world

These past couple of days have been taxing, I am sure, for all of us

As we have witnessed repeated horrors,

Of children bearing the weight

Doomed to suffer tragedies

All because of what other perceive as the sins

Of their parents

Of their neighbors

Of their elders

There are People

Positioned like security at the border

Screaming obscenities at children

Hoping to find a peaceful place

So that they can just be, children

The military showing their might, targeting

A beach where only for a moment

Children had the ability to run and play with family

Kicking around a soccer ball

Escaping the violence invading their homes and their streets

(pause)

The plight of these innocent casualties

Unfortunately divides us as people of faith

And so we who have been called to this ministry and mission

That Jesus Christ has charged us with

Find ourselves in a difficult position

Because sharing the Good News as a community

Of choosing to journey with, break bread with

Those who are considered to be

Outcasts

Outsiders

We find ourselves suddenly cast aside

As if we are wrought with a disease

As if we are weeds

A  Pastor friend and LSTC alum, Tom Gauke

who serves in Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood

Routinely works with those who are homeless, those who are incarcerated

Those who are immigrants, those who are jobless

He like many of us from the Chicago-land area

Are not ashamed of the effort of the work with regards

To living out what the Gospel compels us

And so like many of us who are dismayed and saddened

By this world

Offer up prayers on social media

And have the ability to celebrate and proudly share the good work being done

For example, the presence of many of our fellow sisters and brothers in the ELCA

Right now at the border

But because he chose to share his faith and his prayers publically

This caused one of his family members to become irate

And declare that the work that he does for those Jesus Christ stated

“The least of these”

As “Un-Christian”

(pause)

So there is this constant tug of war, this imbalance

Of trying to find the words, or leaning on our faith

Something to bring healing and restoration to us and to Creation

All it seems we can do, is pray daily

Asking for deliverance from this madness that seems to be clogging up our lives

It just seems as if our souls are cluttered

And our faith is crowded with weeds

Weeds of suspicion

Of Distrust

Of Hatred

Of Rejection

Of the Word of God?

(pause)

Not surprisingly these ancient people, in our Matthew text

were surrounding, following this strange man

Called Jesus Christ

We can just sense the tension of people searching

Searching for clarity, healing, for answers or

Just a way to clear out the weeds, within who they were

Earlier on in the Gospel of Matthew,

We see the wrestling with their faith evolving, and with the way things had always been

Which now conflicting with the law

Thereby causing them to reject

Both Jesus Christ’s presence and His teachings

About the Word and the Truth of God.

That the law didn’t allow for transformative justice and forgiveness

Not everything was black and white

Not every person was either good or evil

(The law) Left no room for mercy and forgiveness

Left no room for the children of God

To see the reflection and the presence

Of the Kingdom of God

In their fellow neighbor and those who were perhaps

Strangers, immigrants in their midst

Regardless of where they had come from

Or how they greeted another in their native tongue

Or whether they followed this daily practice

Or that dietary law

Or even yes, even if they were only recognizable

By the oppression that they left in their wake

(pause)

Today, hearing this well-known parable

Can be rather confusing

Because if you notice

Jesus Christ taught this parable twice

Once to the crowd

Leaving them to struggle and to interpret, with no answer

“Let both of them (the weeds and the wheat) grow together until the harvest.”

This is where this parable has become exclusionary

Because somewhere in the hearing of the word,

These weeds-people who are perceived different

From the “chosen people”

Were seen as troublesome

Crowding

A nuisance

Unworthy of the light

Or Love

From the Creator

But listen closely to what Jesus shares with the disciples

And with us

That just as easily as the weeds will be burnt at the harvest

So “The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out

Of His Kingdom all causes of sin…”

(pause)

In order to understand the Word of God

We must deeply listen and allow the Holy Spirit to guide our hearts

This parable of the wheat and the weeds

Is not about Christ coming and carrying up

All the evil people of the world

Because the Psalmist praises in our Psalm this morning

But you O Lord, are a merciful and gracious,

Slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness”

Do we hear any conditions or exclusions of whom God’s Love and Mercy are not for?

Hear Jesus’s words stating that only evil can cause confusion

And the enemy who sowed (those seeds of destruction) is the devil!”

God our Creator loved all of God’s Creation

And created all of us

Whether we are Catholic, Lutheran or Muslim

Whether our ancestry is Mexican or African, Palestinian, European

God, the Alpha and the Omega

Only has the power to give LIFE

Evil, Satan, the Devil however we recognize it

Only has the power to rob us of being in relationship with God

But wait, see

The Good News is

It doesn’t end there-

Through Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection

Jesus Christ promises and delivers to us… NEW LIFE!

(pause)

This is about the Good News

That Jesus Christ has the power through God, Our Healer

To eliminate the sins

That wrench us away

From the Goodness of God’s Love

Those sins of ignorance of those whom we may not understand

Of hatred of those that we are not familiar with

Of blindness to other’s suffering

So because of the suffering that our risen Savior experienced

Upon the Cross

We, as sisters and brothers in Christ

Are called to live out a public, prophetic witness in the garden

Right here within our churches

Outside in the streets

Among the people whose faces reflect

The joy, the pain, the questions, the hurt

The Mercy and Grace that is God, Our Creator

We are called to give voice

To those whose stories and whose journeys

Show us how God is moving and flowing and living

Even in the midst of fear and terror and uncertainty

(We are called) To continue to share the Good News of Jesus Christ

Until every weed that the devil attempts to choke our lives with is out.

This is not about weeding out

Those who we assume should be excluded

Judging and removing people from their lands,

Their homes,

Their livelihoods

Simply because we do not understand their language,

How they worship

Or selfishly and self-righteously question

Their existence as a part of God’s Creation

(pause)

This is about following in the risen Christ’s footsteps

Of loving one another as God loves us,

Because God’s Love is so great toward us

God “has delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.”

(pause)

What are weeds?

(talk about growing up in Chicago and the weeds that sprinkle over everyone’s law and were the bane of any homeowner’s existence and how I used to think they had no use. But dandelions are food for animals, we can eat the seeds, make wine and herbal teas.)

What are weeds?

(Talk about the of people on the border/Palestinians/Native American/etc and the gifts that each of their cultures brings to this global Table)

Everything that God has created has a purpose

Everyone that God has breathed life into, has a purpose

We must remember this.

Thanks Be To God.

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