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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings: Weeding or Dreaming or Theologizing Edition

As another Sunday approaches we pray (prayer found here):
every word you have spoken
of hope found in the depths of life,
of healing surprising our pain,
of grace jumping rope with children,
will all come true -
even when our stubbornness
deafens us to your whispers.

every hope you have for us
of kindness never ending,
of persistent patience,
of sacrificial service,
can be found -
even when others cannot
see them in us.

every dream you have
of peace becoming our best friend,
of joy bubbling from our hearts,
of strangers welcomed as kin,
will happen -
even when we insist on
living out our fantasies.

Behind us, under us, beside us, over us,
you are ever and always with us,
God in Community, Holy in One,
and so we lift our prayer to you saying,
Our Father . . .

THe readings for this week can be found here

Sadly, we skip the story of Jacob and Rebekah conniving to steal Isaac's blessing which is why Jacob is running away this week.  But still it amazes me that the ancients kept these stories of the one who will become the father of the nation.  Are these the sort of stories we would tell about our national heroes? (Although as I ask that I remember the beginning of the series Newhart where Dick learns that during the Revolutionary War the Stratford had been a brothel)

It could be tempting to go with Psalm 139, one of my personal favourites.  Is it blessing or curse, threat or promise that God is so ever present?  The writer himself seems unsure somehow.

Some of us have been revelling in Romans these past few weeks, and Paul continues on with flesh and SPirit talk.  This week's essay at Journey with Jesus suggests that this passage could be used in a discussion of universalism.  Which might be tempting too....

And then we have the Gospel reading.  Another parable and another interpretaion of a parable.  I remember when I was in seminary a comment being made that at times Matthew seems to have a bloodthirsty approach to judgment issues.  As one who does lean to Universalism I have to ask what right any of us might have to decide who is a weed.  The story also reminds me of a tale from the Albigensian Crusade.  As the story goes, one of the leaders called out in the heat of battle "Kill them all and let God sort them out"  (which sadly seems to be a typical Christian approach to crusading).  But of course the parable gives to opposite message--let them all grow and let God sort them out.

Where is the Spirit leading you this week?  What message is God planting in your heart to share with the people with whom you worship?

Images found here


  1. Thanks Gord, already you have stirred my imagination.

    I'm using the Matthew text and the alternative text from The Wisdom of Solomon.

    Tempting, really tempting to name the sermon "Good Weed" and use all the examples of the good aspects of marijuana. Thoughts about that????

  2. I am going with weeds. If we did projection in the summer I would be tempted to take a picture of our vegetable garden to use as an image for the parable (lots of rain around here--I need 3 days of drying to even think of venturing in to weed it).

    I am thinking of using the poem Bilbo wrote about Aragorn in LOTR as a way of reminding people that weeds and good plants can look amazingly backwards. When Frodo et al first meet Aragorn Frodo comments that an agent of Sauron would look fairer but feel fouler whereas Aragorn feels fairere but looks fouler.

    My early thoughts are here

  3. Not sure if I am going with Genesis or Matthew...but I do remember when I lived in Arizona having a difficult time knowing what in my garden was a weed or a plant that the former owner had intended to be there. When I mentioned my dilemma to some people they said, "What ever you don't want in your garden is a week!" So, I guess we do that with humans too - delegate to weed status those we don't want in our communities....

  4. my power is back on!! yay!! however, there is much damage all around town--downed lines, trees pulled up at the roots, debris everywhere...and corn crops flattened by the 75 mph winds. crazy.

    i'm supposed to be on matthew, weeds and wheat, but I'm not entirely sure what to do with that. FIrst off, I'm SO TIRED of parables already. Actually, that's so much that I don't even know if I have a second. lol. I'm just not certain I can go anywhere even remotely interesting with that parable. sigh. But I will try....

  5. I have committed to Matthew and the Psalms. Title is "Knit Together." Early thought is from the Zen story (see number 6 here) of the man who refuses to sort out his experiences as good or bad. I have more work to do, obviously! I am hoping to find a knitter to do some knitting during the Children's Time.

  6. Teri, glad you are powered up again; that sounds like a lot of damage.

    Terri, I love that idea of who/what we relegate to weed status; if you don't mind, I may borrow that.

    I can't get out of my mind the image of the weed seed caster as being like a group of teenagers out TP'ing someone's house. Really, there's something a little goofy about the image of someone collecting weed seeds and then sneaking out at night to spread them about another person's field! I don't want to make light of evil in our midst, just that this other picture is the first one that popped into my head when I read this.

    I am a thoroughly suburban Southern CA girl. A number of years ago, as a church project, we grew wheat in a patch of dirt between two driveways. On the whole, as I watched those plants shoot up, I had absolutely no clue what was the good stuff and what wasn't; I guess I'd thought they'd look different or have little color-coded tags on them or something! I began to doubt whether our project was even going to work at all. To my surprise and delight, by harvest time it was clear and we had no problem picking what we wanted. Only then did I really begin to appreciate this parable.

  7. I've been reading about how the "weed" in this parable is a specific plant that looks just like wheat until it's almost harvest time, and only then can you tell the difference. Some people even call it "fake wheat" or something like that. Intriguing. I'm wondering now if part of the reason we aren't to do the weeding ourselves is that until harvest time, we all look an awful lot alike...

    There's also some suggestion, at least by a few commentators/authors/preachers, that the gospel is a story of weeds become wheat--a la "if anyone is in Christ there is a new creation"...hmm....I have no idea where to go with any of this, but at least it's not as horrifying a prospect as it was earlier today! And at least I have the internet to help me out!

  8. I'm going with the Psalm, reworking a sermon from several years ago. Teri, I think parables scare me--I seem to be avoiding them this year, anyway. I like the weed info you've found out, though.

    Thanks, as always, for the company.

  9. I talk too much, I'm sorry. But I was just thinking more about false wheat (more here) and the comment I wrote earlier, and then about the whole business of "by their fruits you shall know them" and how contradictory that all seems...b/c in the parable WE don't do anything about the weeds, only the angels do, with the obvious implication that our attempts to weed out the bad seed will only damage the good...and then there's the whole it-looks-just-like-wheat-until-the-last-minute thing...and how does THAT all work?

    what on earth have I gotten myself into? thank God it's only Tuesday....

  10. Going with Romans for the next month... the church seems excited about turning the lectionary into a series ("Catch the Spirit!"). But now I'm afraid I've gotten myself trapped because they don't know many hymns regarding the Spirit (but they know a lot about Jesus!) and as it's my first summer, I'm not too keen to introduce new music every Sunday.

    For those doing Weeds and Wheat, Henri Nouwen has an *excellent* interpretation of that, I think in his book "Intimacy," in which we have to live with the weeds & wheat inside each one of us.

  11. I'm doing the Genesis passage. God calls us in the ordinariness (is that even a word?) of our lives and gives us dreams and visions we are called out to live where we are--even if we don't have it figured out.

    Seasons of the Spirit had weaving Psalm 139 & the genesis story--if it wasn't so long, I would have loved to do that.

  12. continuing with Romans 89...looking at the question of the already (God's grace and kingdom), but the not yet (groaning of creation, fear and anxiety) through the lens of Paul's use of adoption. We are God's, it's from that identity that we live in this liminal space and have hope in a broken world.


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