July 26, 2017
A Time to Dance & A Time To Mourn
Our reflection this week is from Matthew 13:24-30, another farming parable Jesus told. Last week we reflected on the various kinds of soil; it was noted several times the basic unfairness that no seed gets to choose where it is planted. There are such vastly different opportunities from the very beginning of life. This week, we reflect on an even more puzzling parable: there are good seeds growing, and weeds come up alongside them. When the workers ask if they should pull out the weeds, Jesus tells them no; it will all get sorted out in the end.
While several dangerous and harmful interpretations of this metaphor immediately come to mind, may we begin with a simple observation: there are weeds growing alongside the seeds that were planted. In the parable, in every garden in the world, in every possible metaphorical garden: there is some goodness and some evil; there is some beauty and some garbage; there are some flowers and some weeds. “Let them both grow together,” Jesus says in the parable, for reasons I can hardly fathom. It’s not our job to sort. It’s not our job to assign roles, to say that some people are flowers and others weeds. It is not our job to say that some people are good and others evil. It is not our job to say that some people belong to God and others do not.
Even as we revel in the long sunny days of summer, our neighborhood mourns the violence of the past week. Two young men have died by gunshots in a playfield just two blocks from our church. They should have been allowed to live, to grow, to bloom in this park. Their friends, their family, every single neighbor in this community should feel safe in this garden, and yet. And yet. There are weeds of violence, fear among us. These weeds are NOT individuals, but systems of injustice, exclusion, and oppression.
Summer is a time to dance, to revel in the sun. It is also a time to mourn, to honor the lives that have been cut too short. It is a time to play with our kids and a time to work--to change the systems that have failed to make this city a place where all feel safe and welcome.
Where is God calling you to challenge the weeds of injustice?
Why can’t evil just be rooted out?
How do we come together to mourn--and to dance--and to honor the time for all things?