A brief reflection:
I like this parable. It tells me there will always be weeds. There is a degree to which it is not my concern. Indeed, if I am zealous to weed the patch I am likely to harm the good people of God. Life will go on, and there will be a harvest, despite the weeds. Matthew has his typical burning and gnashing of teeth at the judgement at the end of the reading. It always puts me off; I feel he takes a certain pleasure in those words.
I remember standing once against the solid wall outside of a church as a friend almost wept at bad things being done there. What could we do? What would happen to people? I said this was judgement. There had been an offer of something new- a better way. It had been rejected, and it would cost people. There was no pleasure in that statement, only a sad recognition of consequence. I remember the stone and the warmth of the sun as we stood sheltered from the wind. The kingdom of God will go on despite the storms.
After some years I have recognized two things. Despite the weeds, good things have happened in that place, and there has been a harvest. I suspect the harvest was more than I ever expected!
And second, pleasure or not, there was a much fiercer anger burning in me than I had realised. I must remember my disapproval of Matthew's anger. In my congregation are people whose close family are struggling to survive in refugee camps. They go weeks not knowing if their parents are alive or dead, with only rumour and news reports of war in the camp regions. They carry bullet wounds in their bodies, and bear the scars of dead family. In my comfortable Australian security, my discomfort with Matthew's burning anger shows little theological insight. It is my utter ignorance at what people suffer for principle and faith. One couple, have left their two surviving children here in safety, and gone back to Sudan. I can only marvel. Matthew deals with a pain and reality about which I know very little.(2008/ 17))
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