Patience

by Jul 25, 2020Sermons

Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

Parable of the Wheat and the Weeds

I found this box on a shelf. It’s a bit old, you can tell it’s been around for a while, it’s been bumped here and scratched there. It’s not easy to open. But it’s also clearly precious, with golden inlay. And it smells nice. It’s one of those boxes you find and when you open you aren’t quite sure where the contents came from. Or why they are important. But one day you open it and whatever is inside is just the right thing. Or maybe you always thought you knew what the point of the thing inside was, but suddenly you realise it could come in handy in a completely different way.

Parables are a bit like this box. They are old and precious. You get them out and sometimes you get nothing from them – or you think you’ve heard it all before. And then one day you hear it and the parable has something to say specifically to you. You have to be patient, and hope that one day it will speak to you.

In today’s parable Jesus tells of the sower who sows good seed, but in the night weeds are sown along side the wheat. The sower tells the farm hands to be patient and wait, until the wheat is fully grown – and then the reapers will take the weeds out first, before collecting up the wheat. Even in the telling of the parable the disciples have to wait, there is a gap in the middle of our gospel, between Jesus telling the story and the disciples getting the chance to ask about it’s meaning. In between Jesus tells the parable of the mustard seed and the parable of the yeast – both, like the seeds, need us to wait for them to take effect and grow.

In the parable the farm hands are yearning to sort out the field, they want to pull up the weeds and be done with it. But the sower is patient and kind. Perhaps he is willing to give the weeds a chance in case they are worth keeping – like the ugly duckling – perhaps he thinks they might encourage the bees or provide companion planting to tackle the aphids. Or perhaps he is just protecting the wheat as he says. Either way we know that as much as we, 
with the slaves of this passage, yearn for justice, God has a mildness in judgement which means he wants to give us each the chance to flourish, to choose the path of righteousness and grow. At it’s heart the patience of this parable brings with it a message of welcome and hospitality. One where whoever enters our community is welcomed and given the opportunity to belong.

We are here to help God to nurture and shape each other, not to judge one another. To do what makes for God’s kingdom – a kingdom for all people because God cares for all people. Because in Christ we are all adopted Children of God. And by his mercy the weeds that grow within us of pride and malice and greed will be burned away so that we will shine as the Children of God in the Kingdom of Heaven.

The Reverend Robin Sims-Williams

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