Matthew 13 – Thoughts and Reflections for the Lectionary Reading for Sunday, July 20, 2014
“An enemy, my eye!” the Rev. (now Bishop) Will Willimon said in his sermon on this passage during a worship service at the NC Annual Conference.
I remembered being struck with the audacity of his statement. Surely, he has read the passage and knows that Jesus says “an enemy has done this!” But then he went on to explain that the joke could be missed by us.
Enemies hurl insults at one another in an effort to start a fight.
Enemies attack with swords and guns and fists.
Enemies burn down perfectly good fields.
Enemies don’t mix weeds in with good seed. No one needs an enemy to do that. Simply look in the mirror. I don’t consider myself my own worst enemy and yet, and yet, I must admit that there is some evil in me. But did an enemy put that there? Honestly, no. I put it there myself…thought I had it hidden…but it seems to grow at the same rate as everything else in my life.
I don’t need no stinking enemies to choke out the good in me. I’m good enough at it myself.
But the preacher went one to say something about the offer to pull up the weeds. He said “Let them grow…I like to watch things grow. And when it’s over I will take care of the weeds.
Sometimes I would see this “taking care of the weeds as some final revenge on the evil that is in me and the evil that is in our world.
But then I really heard what the preacher said. The one who liked to watch things grow…the one who would tolerate wheat and weed together…this is the one who was going to care for the weeds at the end.
The jokes on me. I want the grace to grow but I want my enemies to suffer and die – especially those that are within me. But this farmer, this Kingdom builder, seems to have a different agenda.
Just let it grow. I will take care of it.
I think I’ve met this farmer. Every once in a while he tells me to take up a loaf of bread and say, “This is my body broken for you.” He has called me to a table and asked me to lift up a cup and say, “This is my blood, shed for you.”
This farmer gives everything for everything that grows in his field. A body on a cross. Blood dripping on the loved ones gathered below as well as the soldiers keeping guard.
God, this farmer loves mysteries.
And I am thankful. For in some way, we are all a mystery and this world…well, it’s either a mystery or a damned mystery. Take your pick.
Yet somehow, I think this farmer loves it.