By Kerry Greenhill © 2017
Based on Matthew 13:24-30
God of planting and harvest, sun and rain,
when we look over the fields of our lives,
our family or church,
our community, local or global,
we see such a tangled mess
of what we intended and what threatens it,
what will bring life and what looks like death.
And we cry out in dismay,
“How could this happen?
Aren’t you a good God,
in control of a world you love?
And haven’t we done our best
to live with good intentions?
Why, then, has it all gone to ruin?
How have weeds grown up among our wheat,
entangled with the roots,
absorbing needed nutrients,
crowding the grains we wanted to grow?
Surely someone evil has plotted against us,
sneaking around at night,
planting bindweed and thistles,
producing ruin where we were sure of glory.
Surely the sorrow in our story
is the side effect of living side-by-side with sinners.
How can we separate ourselves
from the evil in our midst?
When will you cut down and burn up
the sources of our suffering?”
And you, God, infinitely patient,
weather-worn and soil-stained,
lift your wide hat and scratch your head
as you ponder how to help us see.
“The field of wheat
infiltrated by weeds
is not your town or nation,”
“The tangle and trouble begins with the seeds
rooted in your own hearts.
Good and evil are as closely wound
as love and hatred, joy and grief.
Only at the harvest time,
when growth and ripening and seed-bearing is done,
when the stalk of the wheat is no longer needed,
for its grains have been harvested
to sow next year’s fields,
only then can we separate
what was fruitful, what was choking.”
God of the long view and enduring love,
by your grace may we remember
that we are tasked with tilling and tending the soil
in our own hearts and lives,
bearing the best fruit we can
with the sunlight and space available to us.
Let our witness be the seeds we pass on
to future generations,
our ability to see the complexity of the whole
in ourselves as well as in others.
May our thrashing fear and blazing judgment
be tempered by your mercy,
lest in our urgent impulse
to judge, separate, and destroy,
we uproot ourselves as well.
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