Fields of wheat.

(Beautiful sunflower -- which some would classify as a weed -- photographed in the garden of dear friends Darlene and Bob.)

(Beautiful sunflower photographed in the garden of dear friends Darlene and Bob.)

This Sunday we will hear again the parable of the wheat and weeds (Matthew 13:24-30; 36-43). It is one of the gospel messages that can be disconcerting, even disturbing. At the end of the age, none of us wants to find ourselves thrown into the fiery furnace. A knee-jerk reaction to this reading might be to roll up our sleeves and get to work ridding the fields of our lives and hearts of their weeds. Others of us who have tried this futile exercise may be weary and inclined to throw in the towel.

I can’t help but think of my yard and its endless yield of all manner of weeds. I will never get rid of them all but will continue to do what I can, while fostering the “desirable” flowers and plants I find there. It is important to remember that God is the gardener who cares for us and longs to build up that which is beautiful in us.

It is our job not to do the actual weeding but rather to turn to God and seek God’s will. God knows what is best and what is necessary to refine and transform us day by day into beings that can bring gifts of service, love and hope to a deeply troubled world.

Our AA friends have gotten it right with the 7th Step prayer, which reads:
My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad. Please remove from me every single defect of character, which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and to my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding. (Alcoholics Anonymous, p 76)

It is important and necessary for us to take inventory, to identify those things that separate us from experiencing the love of God and from sharing our abundance with others. But we must trust the Holy Spirit to do the work of burning away the weeds to make room for God’s goodness to enter in.

About Mother Beth Tjoflat

Episcopal priest, urban contemplative, playwright, lover of hounds, American of Chilean-Norwegian-Moravian descent. Interests include transformational ministry with the forgotten and marginalized; church planting and congregational development; 12-step spirituality; Hispanic ministry; radical hospitality, and spending time with dear friends.
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