[RivCompanions] The Wheat and the Tares

Pepper Marts mpm29 at cornell.edu
Mon Jul 21 22:01:10 UTC 2014


The New Testament parables are more than cute little stories with a
simple moral: rather are they meant to waken hearers to something new,
and different, and often dangerous.

A number of years ago one of my Spanish speaking friends told me this
*refran*: "Si quieres vivir en Jesús, entonces tienes que empezar a
vivir como Jesús vivió." Translated into English: " If you want to
live in Jesus, you must begin to live as Jesus lived." Consider those
words for a moment. Jesus definitely spent a good bit of his time with
those who were outcast, disliked, and definitely not considered the
in-crowd by the religious of the day.

Recall Sunday's reading from Matthew. Hear again the question the
slaves asked their master after discovering the  - the Wheat among the

	"...do you want us to go and gather them?"
	The master's answer was a clear "No!"

Which of the gardeners among us does not know the battle with weeds?
Yet Jesus tells the crowd of weeds that must be allowed to live and
grow among the wheat until the time of harvest. The weeds (*Lolium
temulentum* commonly known as darnel) are nearly indistinguishable
from wheat until both bear seed. Only as harvest approaches can they
be identified.

The parable seems to caution against a rush to judgment. Often we
cannot tell what is wheat and what is not. The strong message about
the plants that we did not sow begs the question of what to do when we
discover them in our space. As I see it, this story is first and
foremost about relationships among people -- not judging, not assuming
which of us are wheat and which tares.

Matthew appears to have been writing for a mixed Jewish and Christian
Gentile assembly, one in which neither group wanted to accept the
other. Each viewed the other as "the weeds," themselves as "the
wheat." Surely this describes us at times -- ignoring those outside
the inner circle, pretending that we have not some of the same flaws.
How difficult it is not to judge, not to exclude.

Yet over and over again Jesus in his teachings prohibited judgment.
How often was he in conflict with the Scribes and the Pharisees for
their personal judgment of people and their attempts to control the
minutiae of others' lives. Indeed, most of the folk I know who've been
alienated from the church have said almost identical words: "Church
people can be so judgmental!"

Standard "Good guy/Bad guy" interpretations of this parable limit the
possibilities - the opportunities - for reconciliation. The true
message, I believe, calls us to a maturing of faith and compassion. We
are invited to be strong in forbearance and patience, and always
willing to live as Jesus lived.

I hope that institutional demands will not prevent us from hearing
this message.


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