Sermon Notes - July 23
Introduction: Many of us can recall the old saying ‘the Devil made me do it’, or to simply blame someone else for my failure. I am reminded of this old phrase and then again more to the point our desire to blame someone else, because we can so easily scape goat someone or something else and make that the reason why things have not gone properly in our lives. This then relieves us of our responsibility and allows us the freedom from having to accept any blame for our own shortcomings. Most especially we then no longer have to feel the necessity to change our behavior since it was not our blame, but the fault of someone else.
I). Jesus tells them this parable of the weeds just after he has taught the crowds of the sower and the seed, and in the midst of this parable between its telling and explanation to the disciples Jesus will discuss the parables of the mustard seed and yeast which we will discuss next Sunday. Now Jesus turns his attention to those in the community who might be seen as failing to comply with Jesus’ teaching. The weeds that are growing up amongst the good fruit.
II). The people may well have wanted a simple solution, such as those who do not agree with me should be driven out of our ‘holy’ community. After all I know what Jesus would do and so those who do not follow his teachings should be disdained and even driven out of the community. The problem is who gets to decide who is in and who is out? What specific commandments if broken should mean potential expulsion if they are in fact proven to have been broken? This can be especially perplexing given that many of the rules that we are taught to live by come from the very depth of one’s being.
III). Instead of setting up a ‘how to’ Jesus tells them to simply allow the people to remain in the community and his Father will judge them at the last day! To me this is a brilliant solution to a vexing problem. Certainly in the prayer book we have a rubric that has a means for a priest to excommunicate someone for a time, but this is done only in the most extreme circumstances and must immediately be reported to the bishop. For the vast majority we live in community trusting that although we may not agree with each other we are called to listen to each other and love one another as we love our own self. What better way to learn about God’s love and forgiveness than to have the opportunity to experience it in our own community? Jesus goes on to talk about the kingdom of heaven by comparing it to one seeking incredibly valuable treasure and selling all one has in order to obtain it. Personally this community is that treasure and we are called to trust that within our community lies hidden treasure.