The Story for the
Seventh Sunday after Pentecost
July 19, 2020
prepared by the Rev’d Rhonda Waters
Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
Jesus put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well. And 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?’ He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The slaves said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he replied, ‘No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. Let 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.'”
Then Jesus 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.” He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; the weeds are the children of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen!”
Something to Do
Tend your garden – or don’t
If you have any green space, you probably have some weeds. If you don’t have any green space, go visit the weeds in your neighbourhood – the ones that find a hold in sidewalk cracks and along roadways.
Pull the weeds. Or just contemplate them. How do you know they’re weeds?
Look for Parables
This is the second of three weeks of Jesus’ parables – stories he used to reveal aspects of the kingdom of heaven by comparing it to things of his everyday world. Write or draw your own parables, inspired by the world around you. Find some examples, which I wrote for Reflections at a Distance here.
Now it’s your turn: The kingdom of heaven is like…
Something to Wonder
The kingdom of heaven can be compared to someone who…
We often misremember this parable as being primarily about the field when in fact it is the whole story: the person who plants the seeds in the field and all that unfolds in response. The kingdom of heaven requires a story – actors and verbs and all.
So consider the whole story. The kingdom of heaven is more complicated than we might imagine – good seeds and bad seeds together, at least for a time. How does that idea make you feel? Does it change the way you think about heaven? Does is open up new approaches for your prayer life? For the life of the church?
Weeds and Wheat
One way to read this parable is to see the field as your own life, your own heart. What then, are the good and bad seeds? What things bring life and what things diminish life? What things bear fruit and what things do not?
Or, in more child-friendly language: what things help you love God and other people and what things do not?
Something to Learn
Tell me a story…
Amy-Jill Levine is a New Testament scholar and professor and a Jew. Her work is fascinating and challenging and entertaining. Among her books is The Short Stories of Jesus, a discussion of how to read parables and what they might mean.
Listen to this long but enjoyable interview: The Parables of Jesus, with Amy-Jill Levine
Something to Pray
Holy God, we do not always understand your word or your ways.
Give us wisdom and imagination and courage as we learn and grow.
The story this week has made me wonder about…
(what questions are still on your heart?)
Receive my questions and help me hear your answers.
The story this week has filled me with…
(how are you feeling?)
Accept my praise, heal my hurt, ease my worry.
The story this week has reminded me of…
(are there situations or people you are thinking of?)
Be with all who are in need of you.
In Jesus’ name, we pray.