[RivCompanions] The Wheat and the Tares
mothervirginiadb at gmail.com
Tue Jul 22 13:09:21 UTC 2014
Thank you for the thoughts on this parable, Pepper. It's wonderful to
include some reflections and study in our life together, even our on line
life. (I preached on the irresistible Romans passage and barely touched
the parable, since as a guest preacher I didn't think a 20+ minute sermon
was in order, but I rather regretted it, as they go so wonderfully together
It's worth our reflection that Jesus' parables [ > *para bole, *''thrown
alongside," more or less] can be "thrown alongside" many circumstances, in
many ways. In the allegorical interpretation attached to the parable in
Matthew, which spoke well to the situation of his church, the "wheat" and
"tares" are primarily people--although we note that "causes of sin" are
also to be removed from the good harvest.
However, like last week's parable of the Sower, the wheat and the weeds,
like the various kinds of soil, are *all in the same field*--which yields
an abundant harvest despite the setbacks and frustrations. I believe it
was first Charles Williams in whom I encountered the suggestion that these
parables--this one in particular--also apply to each of our own lives: We
can't sort out the wheat from the tares, sin from righteousness, the
healthy from the unhealthy, with perfect accuracy; even our best work
generally involves some mixed motives; and we certainly can't accomplish
the weeding which would be necessary for a "pure" field. (For example,
even in applying this parable against judgmentalism in the church, as I
have sometimes done myself, it's so easy to be, well, judgmental.) But God
can and will set us free, do for and in us what we can't do for ourselves.
(Good news indeed! Maybe "ears to hear" sometimes involves setting aside
our fears that it's going to be really bad news.)
In both these parables, the original point seems to be that *God will get
the harvest of the Kingdom of God *(or Heaven, in Matthew's preferred
reverent circumlocution), no matter what frustrations, disappointments and
apparent losses and futility come along. Yes!!
PS A very happy St. Mary Magdalene's Day to all! Sing an Easter hymn or
two in celebration. I just sang, predictably, "Through the Red Sea brought
at last" [187[
On Mon, Jul 21, 2014 at 5:01 PM, Pepper Marts <mpm29 at cornell.edu> wrote:
> 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.
> RivCompanions mailing list
> RivCompanions at justus.anglican.org
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