Homily – Jesus Condones Weed (Title borrowed from another sermon)

Matthew 13:24-43

24He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; 25but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. 26So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well. 27And the slaves of the householder came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from?’ 28He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The slaves said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ 29But he replied, ‘No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. 30Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’”

After telling two other parables…. He has to explain the first one…

 

36Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples approached him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” 37He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; 38the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; the weeds are the children of the evil one, 39and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. 40Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age.41The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, 42and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen!

 

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart           be acceptable to you, O God           my rock and my liberator. Psalm 19:14

 

 

 

HOMILY –                                JESUS CONDONES WEED

 

Pericope –

  • Weeds sown with Seeds
  • Malicious vandalism of crop
  • Hopes of choking out crop

The actual weed Jesus spoke of was a ryegrass called “darnell.”

  • In its early stages it resembles wheat;
  • but instead of bearing fruit,it’s poisonous.
  • So not only is darnell useless, it’s toxic as

TRADITIONAL INTERPRETATION –

Metaphor

God – sower of Seeds –                             Good people

Devil –sower of Weeds –                            evil people

In the END

God sorts out the good   from the bad…                                                                takes Good into the kingdom                 and sends bad in the flames

BUT, I ASK THAT WE LOOK AT THIS PARABLE WITH A DIFFERENT LENS…

CHARACTERS IN THE STORY

SEEDS represent ?

WEEDS represent ?

 

Seeds –                                                                                                                                          those trying to do God’s will/Follow Christ

Weeds –                                                                                                                                         those struggling with  God’s will/Christ

Seeds –      Facts                                                                                                            Weeds –     Lies

Seeds – Truth                                                                                                                           Weeds –     Untruth

Seeds –      Accurate News Coverage                                                                     Weeds –     Fake News Stories

At one time or another – we have found ourselves surrounded by WEEDS…

GOSSIP?

Mildred, the small town gossip and self-appointed monitor of church morals, was always one to stick nose into other people’s business.

Most members of the congregation did not approve of her intrusions, but she was feared, so all maintained their silence.

She took that fatal step too far one day, when she accused Frank, a new member, of being an alcoholic after she saw his old pickup parked in front of the small town’s only bar all afternoon.

She emphatically told Frank (in front of several others) that EVERYONE SEEING THAT PICKUP THERE WOULD KNOW WHAT HE WAS DOING !

Frank, a man of few words, stared at her for a moment then just turned and walked away. He didn’t explain, defend, or deny. He said nothing.

Later that evening, Frank quietly parked his pickup in front of Mildred’s house, walked home ….and left it there all night.

LIES/RUMORS

These weeds are the hardest.

We want to stop the spread –

But rumors/lies cannot be stopped –

We must spread the truth just as quickly… then let it go

Often we have to live with the lies/rumors – until the day the truth comes to light….

 

FAKE NEWS

Although it has always existed…

Now it has a proper name

AND a perfect disguise.

Fake news is frustrating, infuriating

For many – we want to take it upon ourselves                                                 to jump on the lies/fake news and WEED them OUT –

Shout out contradictions and

Root out the truth…

In this parable – what is Jesus trying to convey?

Jesus seems to be saying that God’s Answer to Problem – is to do nothing —

Let the lies,                                                                                                                           untruths,                                                                                                                                          fake news                                                                                                                                             rumors                                                                                                                          continue to circulate –

Go On about your life… live it according to God’s will –

Racing in to refute a lie only   keeps  the lie center stage…

Once the story is out there…                                                                                                       an immediate  correction  rarely repairs the damage

Stirring up the mud…

The lies begin to muddy the water – but then when we respond trying to refute the lies, we stir the water more and more mud gets into the mix…

Jesus says —  wait – don’t act now… let the mud settle and THEN the truth will appear…

Don’t’ spend all of our time trying to fight the lies, and nothing else gets done…

_______________

Jesus wants to get across to the disciples that attempting to pull out the weeds before harvest will only result in pulling out the wheat as well….

God wants us to Wait –

In the end, the lies and the       truth will be sorted out …

BUT

BUT

BUT

This means we have to allow the lies to continue to live and grow –

Until God moves in….               Letting God handle it…

Trusting God to bring the                truth into the light

And send the lies into flames

 

ILLUSTRATIONS,

There was a church in which the minister asked the people to imagine what would happen if they adopted a policy of weed-pulling,

if they drew a circle around their little town of Wingate, North Carolina, and made a vow that no evil would cross that line, that no weeds would grow within that border.

 

The minister said,  “You know, you and I could spend the rest of our lives protecting that boundary, standing shoulder to shoulder with pitchforks and clubs, making sure that we kept drugs and alcohol and pornography and gambling safely on the other side.

I think it would take all of our energy and most of our time. But what if we did it? What if we succeeded? What would we have?

We would have a town characterized by the absence of evil            which is not the same as a town characterized by the presence of good.

And maybe this is what Jesus was talking about all along, that it’s better to have a wheat field with weeds in it than a field with nothing in it at all. We also have to understand that what is a plant to one may be a weed to another…

I am sure I have one of the healthiest WEEDS growing in my back yard…who knows… I am not deciding…

The same goes for some people around us we may see as weeds, who AREN’T –

Transgender       Illegal Aliens       Muslims     Homeless

Mentally Challenged

A man wrote about someone he viewed as a WEED…

He said: One of the best Christians I’ve ever known was a Roman Catholic who cursed and smoked and had a heart as big as the Gulf of Mexico.

She was not the kind of person you would find serving punch in the church fellowship hall. But she started the shelter movement in Atlanta.

I remember when she stopped a knife fight at our night shelter by walking calmly between two combatants and saying, “You guys know better than      this.” And that was the end of that.

When one of our homeless friends died on the street,                                she claimed his body,  paid for the cremation, and waited for someone-  friend or family-to come.

No one ever came. She drove around for weeks with his ashes in the backseat of her car.

Finally, she asked the rector of a downtown Episcopal church                    if the ashes could be placed in the church’s memorial garden.

He said: “Our policies will allow only the remains of relatives to be placed here,”   “Perfect,” she said.   “Jesse was my brother.”

It’s often hard to tell who is wheat and who is weed.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I am wheat and sometimes I am weed,

Often, I can’t tell when I am being either…

 

Homily – Jesus Condones Weed

Matthew 13:24-43

24He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; 25but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. 26So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well. 27And the slaves of the householder came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from?’ 28He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The slaves said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ 29But he replied, ‘No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. 30Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’”

After telling two other parables…. He has to explain the first one…

 

36Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples approached him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” 37He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; 38the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; the weeds are the children of the evil one, 39and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. 40Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age.41The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, 42and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen!

 

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart           be acceptable to you, O God           my rock and my liberator. Psalm 19:14

 

 

 

HOMILY –                                JESUS CONDONES WEED

 

Pericope –

  • Weeds sown with Seeds
  • Malicious vandalism of crop
  • Hopes of choking out crop

 

The actual weed Jesus spoke of was a ryegrass called “darnell.”

  • In its early stages it resembles wheat;
  • but instead of bearing fruit,it’s poisonous.
  • So not only is darnell useless, it’s toxic as

TRADITIONAL INTERPRETATION –

Metaphor

God – sower of Seeds –                             Good people

Devil –sower of Weeds –                            evil people

In the END

God sorts out the good                         from the bad…                    takes Good into the kingdom                 and sends bad in the flames

BUT, I ASK THAT WE LOOK AT THIS PARABLE WITH A DIFFERENT LENS…

CHARACTERS IN THE STORY

SEEDS represent ?

 

WEEDS represent ?

Seeds –                                                                                                                                          those trying to do God’s  will/Follow Christ

Weeds –                                                                                                                                              those struggling with God’s will/Christ

 

Seeds –      Facts

Weeds –     Lies

 

Seeds –      Truth

Weeds –     Untruth

 

Seeds –      Accurate News Coverage

Weeds –     Fake News Stories

 

At one time or another – we have found ourselves surrounded by WEEDS…

GOSSIP?

Mildred, the small town gossip and self-appointed monitor of church morals, was always one to stick nose into other people’s business.

Most members of the congregation did not approve of her intrusions, but she was feared, so all maintained their silence.

She took that fatal step too far one day, when she accused Frank, a new member, of being an alcoholic after she saw his old pickup parked in front of the small town’s only bar all afternoon.

She emphatically told Frank (in front of several others) that EVERYONE SEEING THAT PICKUP THERE WOULD KNOW WHAT HE WAS DOING !

Frank, a man of few words, stared at her for a moment then just turned and walked away. He didn’t explain, defend, or deny. He said nothing.

Later that evening, Frank quietly parked his pickup in front of Mildred’s house, walked home ….and left it there all night.

 

LIES/RUMORS

These weeds are the hardest.

We want to stop the spread –

But rumors/lies cannot be stopped –

We must spread the truth just as quickly… then let it go

Often we have to live with the lies/rumors – until the day the truth comes to light….

 

FAKE NEWS

Although it has always existed…

Now it has a proper name

AND a perfect disguise.

Fake news is frustrating, infuriating

 

For many – we want to take it upon ourselves                                                 to jump on the lies/fake news and WEED them OUT –

Shout out contradictions and

Root out the truth…

In this parable – what is Jesus trying to convey?

Jesus seems to be saying that God’s Answer to Problem – is to do nothing —

Let the lies,                                                                                                                           untruths,                                                                                                                                     fake news                                                                                                                            rumors  continue to circulate –

 

Go On about your life… live it according to God’s will –

 

Racing in to refute a lie only     keeps  the lie center stage…

Once the story is out there…    an immediate  correction   rarely repairs the damage

Stirring up the mud…

The lies begin to muddy the water – but then when we respond trying to refute the lies, we stir the water more and more mud gets into the mix…

Jesus says —  wait – don’t act now… let the mud settle and THEN the truth will appear…

Don’t’ spend all of our time trying to fight the lies, and nothing else gets done…

_______________

Jesus wants to get across to the disciples that attempting to pull out the weeds before harvest will only result in pulling out the wheat as well….

God wants us to Wait –

In the end, the lies and the       truth will be sorted out …

BUT

BUT

BUT

This means we have to allow the lies to continue to live and grow –

Until God moves in….               Letting God handle it…

Trusting God to bring the                truth into the light

And send the lies into flames

ILLUSTRATIONS,

There was a church in which the minister asked the people to imagine what would happen if they adopted a policy of weed-pulling,

if they drew a circle around their little town of Wingate, North Carolina, and made a vow that no evil would cross that line,

that no weeds would grow within that border.

The minister said,

“You know, you and I could spend the rest of our lives protecting that boundary,

standing shoulder to shoulder with pitchforks and clubs, making sure that we kept drugs and alcohol and pornography and gambling safely on the other side.

I think it would take all of our energy and most of our time.

But what if we did it?

What if we succeeded?

What would we have?

We would have a town characterized by the absence of evil,

which is not the same as a town characterized by the presence of good.

And maybe this is what Jesus was talking about all along,

that it’s better to have a wheat field with weeds in it than a field with nothing in it at all.

We also have to understand that what is a plant to one may be a weed to another…

I am sure I have one of the healthiest WEEDS growing in my back yard…who knows… I am not deciding…

The same goes for some people around us we may see as weeds, who AREN’T –

Transgender      Illegal Aliens      Muslims      Homeless                      Mentally Challenged

A man wrote about someone he viewed as a WEED…

He said:

One of the best Christians I’ve ever known was a Roman Catholic who cursed and smoked and had a heart as big as the Gulf of Mexico.

She was not the kind of person you would find serving punch in the church fellowship hall.

But she started the shelter movement in Atlanta.

I remember when she stopped a knife fight at our night shelter by walking calmly between two combatants and saying,

“You guys know better than  this.”

And that was the end of that.

When one of our homeless friends died on the street,                                she claimed his body,   paid for the cremation, and waited for someone- friend or family-to come.

No one ever came.                   She drove around for weeks with his ashes in the backseat  of her car.

Finally, she asked the rector of a downtown Episcopal church                      if the ashes could be placed  in the church’s memorial                garden.

He said:

“Our policies will allow only the remains of relatives to be placed here,”

“Perfect,” she said.     “Jesse was my brother.”

It’s often hard to tell who is wheat and who is weed.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I am wheat                                     and sometimes I am weed,

Often, I can’t tell when I am being either…

Pray with me –

Homily “You’re Welcome”

Matthew 10:40-42            (NIV)

40 “Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.

41 Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward.

42 And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.”

HOMILY  —    YOU’RE WELCOME

 

Everyone into the pool—

Y’all Come Back Now

There’s Always Room for One More

Grab a chair and join us

Come sit by me

Come on in and make yourself at home

These words do wonders for the soul

Wanted

Included

Welcome

Important

Valued

Significant

Debbie and I often will tell someone… come by and see us if you are out and about – just drop in.. We would love to have you visit…

Then, when someone finally takes us up on it, we don’t answer the doorbell… forgetting our open invitation to our friend.

I am sure it didn’t make our friend feel welcome not having someone answer the door.

______________

Hospitality in ancient times involved much more than just having a guest visit and offering them a drink…

Jewish Hospitality

In Judaism, showing hospitality (hakhnasat orchim) to guests is considered a mitzvah. (commandment)

When one knows of strangers who are hungry or need a place to relax, it becomes a legal obligation.

Some rabbis consider hakhnasat orchim (literally the “bringing in of strangers”) to be a part of gemilut hasadim (giving of loving kindness).

The first time hospitality is displayed in the Torah

The Torah, or Jewish Written Law, consists of the five books of the Hebrew Bible – known more commonly to non-Jews as the “Old Testament” happens when Abraham invites the three wanderers from Mamre to relax while he brings them water and food (Gen. 18:1-5).

Also the TalmudThe Oral Law is a legal commentary on the Torah, explaining how its commandments are to be carried out.

Common sense suggests that some sort of oral tradition was always needed to accompany the Written Law, because the Torah alone, even with its 613 commandments, is an insufficient guide to Jewish life.

teaches that one’s house should always be welcoming and open to strangers.

In the Torah it affirms that Abraham always kept all four sides of his tent open, for guests to easily enter.

The opening of one’s doors is why at the Seder on Passover an invitation is delivered to the hungry and needy.

It is read in the Hagadah, “Whosoever is in need let him come and eat” (Ta’anit 20b).

During the Middle Ages the custom arose      of providing a guest house (bet     hakhnasat orehim) for the poor; this   would later be called hekdesh (“sanctuary”).

THE GUEST has obligations too

Be grateful for labors of hosts

Recite additional blessing

Leave some food on plate

Not impose on host – so not staying more than three days…

“On the day a guest arrives, a calf is slaughtered in his honor; the next day, a sheep, the third day, a fowl, and on the fourth day, he is served just beans” (23:3).

Historical practice

In ancient cultures hospitality involved    welcoming the stranger and offering him    food, shelter, and safety.[7]

Strangers to town would wait near the well or town center until offered a place to stay and food.

Both individuals AND Towns were obligated to offer hospitality to a stranger….

 

hospitality meant not ONLY welcoming   the individual stranger – but it was a      show of respect for and   welcome of  stranger’s family and         community from which he came.

Jesus told the disciples that he was        sending them into the world as envoys   of his ministry and of himself. Representatives of his ministry…

.

So, for someone to welcome them, they  welcomed Jesus… and in welcoming Jesus, they welcomed God

Paul, later in his letters to the Romans emphasizes the importance of  Hospitality…

Hebrews 13:2   (NIV)

Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels  without knowing it.

 

Greek Word for

Hospitality –

PHIOXENIA – love of stranger

XENOPHOBIA – Fear of Stranger

 

In this modern world… how do we understand HOSPITALITY – WELCOME?

How do we define Hospitality? WELCOME

______________

The Dictionary defines Hospitality as

  • the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.
  • Warm and cordial acceptance
  • GLADLY received… not just accepted

What a simple gesture:

Welcome

Handshake

Hug

Smile

But Jesus seems to be telling us that a simple greeting is also a profoundly spiritual act.

“Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.”

In greeting one another, it is as if we are greeting Jesus, himself. Powerful.

Jesus calls for hospitality that has no boundary or limit; where a welcome is extended not in the expectation of social gain, but for its own reward.

Where no-one remains excluded and unwelcome.

 

Here Jesus was SENDING out the disciples –

WHY was the topic of Hospitality and Welcome mentioned to them?

WHY does the word WELCOME occur no less than six times

WHY is Jesus putting so much emphasis on a Jewish Law that was in the original TORAH

It was the disciples who would be RECEIVING hospitality and welcome..

Well, Jesus was putting a fine point on it..so to speak…

Possibly he wanted the disciples to fully understand their role as representing him…

If you are not welcomed –                                I am not welcomed..

and you do not stay…                                              but move on.

The disciples were being sent out…     but they didn’t have the entire responsibility of enlightening the world—

The world had a role to play                            in this ministry too…

  • For the ministry to spread –
  • For good news to travel
  • For lives to be changed..

FIRST a stranger had to be welcomed…

Otherwise – they were to MOVE ON

 

SO – what does this tell the modern  believer to do?

Like the original 12, we are called to share the good news –

This has taken the form of

Pamphlets

TV Evangelism

Door to Door Visits

Commercial Media

Even though these are effective methods for sharing information…

Do they fulfill the mission we have been given?

Having information and understanding that information are not the same…

Having the information and accepting and taking in the information are not the same…

Just as the ancient world had to WELCOME the disciples and their good news….

It is the same today…

What would happen if we stopped expecting people to come to church on their own initiative

, and instead took seriously our calling to bring the gospel to them?

What would happen if we truly believed that we bear the presence of Christ to every person we encounter,  in every home, workplace,                           or neighborhood we enter?

What would happen if we saw every conversation as an opportunity to speak words of grace,

every interaction as an opportunity to embody Christ’s love for the neighbor?

 

There is a story of an interaction with a bagger at her local grocery store.

She had been talking with this woman off  and on for a year, and upon learning that    she no longer worked on Sundays,   invited her to come to her church,          to their casual, outdoor, come-as-you-        are service.

Much to my friend’s surprise, the woman responded by giving her a hug!

The bagger welcomed the stranger –                                                                           the news and the intent –

But if the bagger had rebuffed the invitation… the disciple/woman buying groceries – should just move on – and continue casting seeds…

_________

Our ministry as a disciple church, is to show extravagant hospitality –

By –

  1. Overtly welcoming guests into the  service…

Saying we are glad they came

Providing for their needs

Restrooms   coffee  bulletins

Having complete information in the bulletins to make them                       feel included.

Handicap accessibility  Hearing enhancements       LARGE PRINT

And continuing that HOSPITALITY AFTER the service

  1. Taking our hospitality outside these walls – Taking it To the Streets – Lutheran Family service –ESLanguage – Refugees – VETerans –
  1. Taking our hospitality home and into our workplace – how we deal with others – Making our community a more welcoming community –

We are called to show boundless hospitality – a welcome extended for its own reward – a welcome that includes ALL –                                            not just same thinkers….

All are welcome, all are welcome
in this place.