The subject matter of the Gospel this Sunday (Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43) is about discernment. Jesus talks in parabolic language about the the weeds and the wheat growing together. I am not a particularly knowledgeable gardener and sometimes I find it difficult to differentiate between weeds and flowers. What makes a weed a weed anyway? I’m continuing to come up with definitions. My current favourite is a plant that is not invited to grow among those that have been chosen! In order to live the apostolic life we must be aware of the weeds, especially if they prevent other flowers from flourishing. However, we also need to be prepared to work with the weeds, even if we would prefer to imagine that they might die off and never return.
Weed free gardens do not exist – look at the vicarage garden at the beginning of the video! We are called to live in weedy places as well as manicured places. Even though it is our calling to replace some of the weeds with plants that are beautiful, fruitful, abundant, we are also asked to live in a state of containment. Many gardeners know that gardening is the vain attempt to control the wildness of nature. So, I see the weeds in Jesus’ parable as real – something akin to social evils, the things in life which cause injustice and disharmony in society. If our faith is lively, connected and transformative, it will help us to discern where these weeds are growing. It is the duty and purpose of any follower of Christ to have a horticultural insight into the fabric of the soil, the growth within the garden and discern between the weeds and the good fruit. This analogy refers not only to our corporate life as Christians but also as individual seekers of God’s love. This is why we are called to be prophetic (listen to Mary Gurr’s homily).
Enjoy your gardening for the rest of this weekend. I also hope that you have been able to get close to the soil during this lockdown period? I am beginning to realise that when we get close to nature, when we touch it, feel it, smell it – then we better understand who we are within God’s natural order. We are part of something greater. It is quite humbling. Even the weeds are part of something greater but I will leave their purpose to God’s care and attention.
I am keen to hear from anyone who wants to learn more about what a healthy spirituality might look like. Perhaps you have been affected by the lockdown and through social distancing. How has your faith helped (or perhaps hindered) your approach to the pandemic? Have you felt that you have drawn closer to God in faith? What have you read? What is your discipline in prayer? These are the questions that I am most interested in. If you would like to make time to talk these things through, I would be delighted to respond.
Please remember that you can stay in touch with St Michael’s in various ways because we operate on different digital platforms. You might like to ‘share’ or ‘like’ the output with family, friends or colleagues. We are trying to “keep the rumour of Christ alive” when we are unable to meet as we would like.
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† YouTube – Summertown Parish Church https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFx4HGfkIx1GCGp9Sc2oNAg
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God bless you, those you care for and those who care for you.
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