So, it's ritual for lots of families where I live to have pizza on Friday nights.
The Friday night ritual at my home might include pizza, but is almost always centers
on the last ten minutes of the CBS Evening News and Steve Hartman's On The Road segment.
It's Americana at our best - people, places, projects - positive and heart warming.
A few Friday's ago Steve and his weed fixation were the focus of the segment.
It was taped at his five acre country home.
Seems Steve in his kind hearted, caring, warmly deep way was trying to develop
a hillside meadow of beautiful wild flowers, but all sorts of weeds were growing up with the flowers.
Many evenings Steve politely pulled away from family activities to pull up weeds till dark,
and sometimes into the dark. He wanted a weed free, flowering meadow.
His charming wife mused about being a weed widow.
Eventually Steve caught himself and just let the weeds grow with the flowers,
accepting that's just how it is.
The segment wrapped up with Steve sharing that his energies were needed, not to pull up weeds,
but to nurture three gorgeous little flowers.
There on the screen were Steve's three darling little ones, the flowers in his life's meadow.
In our spiritual lives out here on the street of everyday life we have a bit of a parallel experience.
In our life zone there's this mix of flowers and weeds.
As a matter of fact, it is so pervasive and troubling that Jesus tells a folk story about it
( Matthew 13:24-30,36-43 ). It goes like this.
A farmer planted wheat. When it sprouted up so did weeds in the midst of the wheat.
Seems an enemy planted the bad seed under cover of dark.
The farm hands wanted to pull up the weeds. The farmer said that wouldn't work because
the roots of the wheat and the weeds were so intertwined.
He decided to let them grow together, then at the harvest to separate out
the weeds for burning and the wheat for the barn.
Jesus uses this little story to make a major point about our spiritual landscape -not pretty, but there.
As things are now in our lives and world, wheat and weeds,
positive and negative opposites coexist:
- good and evil
- real and unreal
- healthy and sick
- beautiful and gross
- holy and sinful
- true and phony
We see it:
- in governments
- in churches
- in the art world
- in entertainment
- in sports
- in our families
- at work
- in the media
- in business
- in our neighborhoods
- in education.
SO IT IS AND WILL BE,
just like the flowers and weeds in Steve Hartman's meadow,
and the wheat and weeds in farmer's field that Jesus describes.
BUT NOT FOREVER.
For us, there will be a wrap up to our growing season in this world-field,
a harvest of sorts, and it will mean a definitive sorting out.
The good and real will transition to a new fullness.
The evil and unreal will vaporize into the nothingness that they are.
Jesus ends his folk tale with a blunt challenge.
Basically he says:
" Hey, be sure you get it, because you will get it."
A Take Away:
Right now we are in process
we will be forever what we grow into now.
Put another way,
what's going to be left of us after the harvest?
So, be the wheat you are.
Grow freely to fullness.
Don't let yourself be discouraged
or slowed down by the weeds of this world.
Just because there are stinkers around doesn't mean we can't smell great!!
Another Take Away:
Equivalently Jesus tells us " No weed whackers allowed."
Our social complexity means we are all intertwined and growing in the same soil for now.
Uproot the weed means uprooting the wheat.
So often in the effort to get ride of the evil the good gets destroyed - weed whacked.
Syria is a horrific example today.
The Protestant - Catholic " Holy Wars " ( ?????? ) after The Reformation are a terrifying example
from a shameful past.
WEED AND WHEAT - AN EXAMPLE
As a newly minted Deacon I was first called " Rev."
And was I ever "revved" up to get going in ordained ministry.
And go I did as a Deacon Intern into two different parishes.
The first was a prosperous, large church.
The pastor was an alcoholic.
He got drunk every night and regularly let go on me.
"The people like you and your preaching better than me and my preaching.
You're not preaching anymore, and you can't stand at the door and greet people after Mass."
The other parish was a poor, country church with a wonderful "people's priest "
by the name of Charlie Wilk.
He welcomed and wrapped me right into a vibrant team ministry.
He said, "I want you do everything a deacon can do. You preach better than I do,
so we'll split the sermons. My preaching will count for the first stage of purgatory for the folks!!"
Weed and wheat, and in the church at that!
Charlie encouraged my growth and kept me from being discouraged by Pastor Weed.
Let's all be sure not to let the weeds discourage us, talk us out of ourselves, steal our souls.
Let's go ahead and be all we are called to be,
growing into a harvest of greatness.
Let's also help others not to be discouraged,
to be talked out of themselves,
nor let the weeds steal their souls.
Good to be together today.
Looking forward to the pleasure of your company again next week.
( A new post goes up toward the end of each week.)
A number of folks didn't have a chance to see the post, "Gifting."
Please do just scroll down for it ( July 22, 2017 ).