Weeds, Flowers and Transformation
(Posted July 15, 2020)
“We should not judge people by their peak of excellence; but by the distance they have traveled from the point where they started." - Henry Ward Beecher, 19th century
Everybody’s “garden” has a weed or two. Every family has that someone who grows the other way in the family garden. Sometimes, we may realize, that we may even be the weed in another person’s “garden.” Henry Ward Beecher, that great Congregational thinker of the 19th century, even alluded to each person’s journey from seed to flower in the quote above.
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This Sunday’s Gospel has Jesus telling a parable about an owner’s field and some ne’er-do-wells who, under the cover of night, plant weeds among the wheat. The question is whether to pluck or leave the crop alongside one another. And Jesus gives the disciples the answer to this query. But when I read this parable, I also realized that Jesus seemed to have a fondness for the “weeds” he encountered in his long journey to Calvary -- even to the extent that he seemed to gather the weeds to himself in his ministry. Tax collectors. Prostitutes. Rough-and-tumble fishermen. Madmen in cemeteries. The unsighted. People who no one in polite society would even talk to. All of these people, of course, started life in the weeds yet became quite different following Jesus. This was the bouquet of souls that Jesus offered up to his Father as the fruit of his efforts.
So it begs the question of us. What are we to do with our weeds? First of all, how can we tell what is a weed, and what is a flower? Is the assignment that a particular plant should be called a weed just because its appearance doesn’t conform with our standards? Or are some plants simply destructive and need to be uprooted? This weekend, we will explore what it means to live alongside the “weeds” in our lives, when to pull and when to help transform them into something greater than they are. --- Pastor Pat Kriss