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The Chalice
Friday, July 21 2023


Let Them Grow Together: Living in a World of Ambiguity 

We have spent the last several weeks with Fr. Dan, pondering the words of Paul to the Romans. Just last week, we were given the deep assurance that nothing can separate us from the love of God. That indeed is comforting and grounding – especially as we move forward into a message that takes us out of our safe haven, compelling us to face the gray areas of our lives.  This week we are being called to occupy in-between places – places that may be mixed, messy, confusing. A message that challenges our comfort zones and moves us into God’s field to live among the wheat and the tares.

The parable of the seeds and the weeds is an allegory particularly appropriate for a July message as we move into the season of harvest. Jesus describes the Kingdom of God like a person who sows good seed in a field, yet in the night – or one might even say – in the dark, an enemy comes and plants weeds. If you are a gardener, you probably work feverishly plucking the dratted weeds so your vegetables or flowers will flourish. Isn’t the kingdom of God supposed to be a perfect and beautiful place – a place where sin is no more? But the kingdom described here is messy and confusing. This parable is about ambiguity and paradox. We have wheat and we also have weeds. It is about what is good in our world and it is also about the reality of evil. How do we sort it out? And, in fact, Is that even our job?

Why is it that the servants are deterred from removing the weeds to ensure a good harvest? Jesus tells us that in removing the weeds, we run the risk of uprooting some of the good crop – because indeed the wheat and the darnel look alike. So, we are told to wait – to have patience and restraint. It isn’t quite time for the harvest. And we are not the harvesters. It is God who will sort it out at the final judgment. In the meantime, we are called to live, grow, love and flourish together.

How can we even think about rooting out the bad weeds in the world, when each one of us can recognize our own inner conflict between good and bad. In truth we are all 'part weed, part wheat'. We must hope and pray that God works in us to make us more ‘wheat like.’

Oh, how we want to be among the wheat
at the last judgment, gathered and bundled off to heaven,
not separated out to be burned!
As If Jesus is talking about others—
you know, those bad people—and not you,
not what in you yourself is good and bad.
Maybe God lets you discern what is fruitful in you
and blesses it; and what is not fruitful,
if you are willing, God graciously, thankfully, removes.
Steve Garnaas-Holmes

Maybe during our lifetime, things do not turn out just fine. Sometimes we don’t make the best choices. Our Christian faith doesn’t necessarily prevent hardship. But as Paul reminds us, we are not justified by our right choices, but rather by grace, through faith. And knowing that we have God’s unconditional love in spite of our poor choices frees us up to live each day fully. And that gives us hope!

With patience and hope, 
Deacon Claire

Posted by: Rev. Claire D. Mis, Deacon AT 01:35 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
St. John's Episcopal Church
12 Prospect St. | Huntington, NY 11743 | PH: (631) 427-1752
Sunday Services at 8 AM and 10 AM
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