[RivCompanions] The Wheat and the Tares

Christine Gilson chrisgilson at mac.com
Mon Jul 21 22:18:56 UTC 2014

Oh, Pepper - thank you so much for this call to conscience and forbearance.  I have already begun to inscribe your words on my heart.


On Jul 21, 2014, at 5:01 PM, Pepper Marts <mpm29 at cornell.edu> wrote:

> Beloved:
> 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
> Weeds.
> 	"...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.
> Love,
> Pep
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